Sneaky Romance

Author: Jenna Anderson | @mrsjenna_anderson

Romance can be sneaky. Just when you think you might not find it, it can pop up out of nowhere. Sometimes you just have to have your eyes open. I remember my husband Trey and I had just started dating and we got the chance to go see Brandon Flowers in concert with a group of friends in Portland. The weekend was to be jammed pack with shenanigans with friends, a chance to celebrate Trey’s birthday AND a healthy dose of meeting-my-parents-nerve-inducing-weightiness. Born and raised in Portland I was busy daydreaming about the dreamy places we could steal away to to find a few moments just us in the midst of our fresh infatuation. I plotted a trip to Elephant’s Deli to buy overly priced charcuterie fixins’. These would of course be eaten picnic style at the Rose Gardens with roses and mountains all around us.  We also might find ourselves at Vista Café in Uptown eating hoity toity pizza over candlelight. We could take a walk on the waterfront hand in hand admiring the cityscape of this city I love. Before we left I was busy weighing my options for optimal romance. I mean, I was newly in like and this was my turf. It was the perfect recipe and I. Had. Plans.


But then the weekend came. As much I sincerely love Portland, it just rains SO entirely much. Out went my options for rosey picnics and waterfront walks. The restaurants ordinarily ready with their candlelit ambiance were mysteriously being remodeled or closed. But Trey and I still had this day together. I laughed inside at all of my failed attempts at romantic plotting and thought to myself, what do I know Trey likes? The answer…pizza. With the drizzle falling between us we wandered into Escape from NY Pizza, a place my brother and I had frequented lots when we were younger. Now their pizza is giant, and greasy, and yet, remarkably good. As far as the ambiance, let’s go with charmingly ghetto. Picture the tiiiiiniest, narrow hallway flanked with pizza ovens to your left and a few haphazard tables crammed to your right.


We squeezed in, ordered our food, and found our way to the stools in the way back tucked under the awkward counter-tables nobody really wants to sit at. I remember feeling a little nervous and slightly defeated that this moment was definitely not what I was going for. I took a bite of pizza and then I saw it. Without thinking I had pointed Trey’s eyes to the base board atop the counter where everyone and their mother had carved their names, some obscenities, and nonsensical phrases into the wood. I had been surprised to find right in front of us Trey’s name carved in perfect, block letters and spelled correctly to boot. As both our eyes followed my pointing finger to his name my face turned beat red when I realized that what it actually said was, “Trey loves Jen.” We were stunned. Though this was jumping the gun on either of us saying it ourselves, I think we both kind of knew. It that moment, at that pretty crusty counter, a little romantic magic left us speechless. I remember sensing the Holy Spirit whisper a little, “I see you girl. I know you’re a hopeless romantic.” (Does God wink do you think? If so, this was definitely one of those moments.)


Who would have thought that in the middle of failed plans and greasy pizza, romance would find its way in. Since then Trey and I have had plenty of fancy dinners, picturesque walks on beaches and the like. But, honestly, I can still feel the thrill and wonder of finding romance in a pizza shop on a dreary day in Portland years ago. That’s the thing I love about romance and adventure. Sometimes it’s the unexpected, disappointed, seemingly failed attempts at romance that leave us finding real romantic magic. I am so glad that on that day my eyes were open to it. (And that I was sneaky enough to take a picture.) To this day Trey is convinced that I had planned the whole thing and somehow carved our names into that base board. But I know who was behind it all. The author of romance Himself.


No matter where you find yourself in this month full of love, keep your eyes open. Single, dating, married, or widowed I have a feeling romance and adventure might just sneak up on you if you’ll let it. Jesus might surprise you with a stunning sunrise on a sleepy morning, your new jam to dance to in the checkout line, or your favorite spring blossoms breaking through the snow. Let it all make your heart beat a little faster. Look for His wink and a little, “I see you girl.” He knows you. He knows what delights you. Above all, He is straight up crazy about you.



Whitney ParnellComment