Though it has little to do with interpreting the Bible, I am excited to announce that I am now engaged to Kanon Raulerson. If you are interested, I am going to record a brief history of our relationship.
I met Kanon several years ago when she came up here to Raleigh to visit her sister, Kara, who was going to the seminary at the time. Kanon decided to come up to here for seminary too and moved up around August of 2007. Kara had just started hanging out with Tanner (my roommate), which meant we all hung several times during her first few weeks in North Carolina.
My first impression of Kanon was that she was incredibly pretty, but also incredibly quiet. Even though she came over to our house several times, I am not sure that she ever said more than 5 words. It wasn’t until October that I saw her personality start coming out.
Kanon and Kara were planning a trip to DC. It just so happened that I was going up there for a wedding so we all carpooled. The three of us stayed at a friend’s house and when I wasn’t on official wedding business we hung out in Washington, DC. Perhaps it was Kanon’s love for our nation’s capital or perhaps it was listening to her sing “Fancy,” but this was the first time I began to realize how much fun Kanon is.
When we got back to Raleigh I decided I needed to spend a little more time with her. I called her up on the last week of October (the 27th to be exact) to ask her to go bowling. I bowled a particularly good game (at least for me), and beat her by 100. I must have been bragging a little too much because as we were leaving she told me that she could never like someone who was a good bowler. Then, perhaps as a response to my wounded expression, she assured me that I was not a good bowler. To this day I still don’t know exactly how I should have interpreted that statement.
Over the next couple of months we hung out quite a lot. We would often go out with Kara and Tanner, but since they were officially dating by this point, we had plenty of opportunities for just the two of us to hang out. I took her to her favorite restaurant (Waffle House) and we took several trips to Barnes and Noble to study. All the while, the more time we spent together, the more I liked Kanon. By the beginning of 2008 I felt like I needed to tell her how I was feeling. After several attempts, in which I couldn’t find the courage to broach the subject, I decided to bring it up on our way to Barnes and Noble one Sunday after church.
As I began my speech, which I had rehearsed several times in my mind, I noticed Kanon’s expression turn to horror. To my dismay, she didn’t see this coming at all. She never really thought of any of the the things we were doing as dates (in hindsight, I can understand why a trip to Waffle House doesn’t strike someone as a date). She just assumed that since my friend, Tanner, was hanging out with her sister all the time that I might need a friend. And since her sister was always hanging out with Tanner, she needed a friend too. So, by March of 2008 our relationship was very well defined, we were just friends.
Whenever you get shot down you need a little time to lick your wounds. For the next couple of months we were a bit estranged. But as time marched on we started hanging out again. It turns out that being “just friends” is a pretty good way to get to know someone. Kanon and I ended up spending a lot of time together as just friends. We still had the same circle of friends, we both helped out with the youth group at our church, and we were both in the same small group. Our little circle of friends went to movies together, the fair together, and plenty of other things together.
But, to be honest, I could never really see myself as just friends with Kanon. The more time we spent together, the more time I wanted to spend with her. I found myself always looking for reasons to go talk to her. No matter who else I was talking to I always seemed to have one eye on her. It was becoming painfully obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to view Kanon as just a friend. When the summer of 2009 came I realized that I had one year left and it was now do or die.
I remember one particular night as a sort of turning point for me. We were at our friends’ house (the Bowers). While we were there she got an email from a guy in her class who was asking her out. She responded with some sort of polite refusal. But Greg Bowers, to whom I will be eternally grateful, saw this as a golden opportunity. Greg pointed out that she was asked out all the time but was never willing to date any of these would be suitors. Then he asked her the most normal question that anyone would think to ask. “Why don’t you date these guys, what are you waiting for?”
Kanon explained that she wasn’t interested in just dating some guy that she didn’t know. Dating, to her, was a completely awkward enterprise. What she wanted was to be such good friends with a guy that she didn’t have to go through some awkward get to know you stage. She wanted to be such good friends with a guy that one day she would just realize that she was in love with him.
I immediately thought, isn’t that what we already have? I also immediately came up with a strategy. I had one year to show her that we were in the most natural easy relationship possible. We loved hanging out together. We could talk to each other for hours about every topic under the sun. We watched the same TV shows, had the same friends, and had really similar aspirations for our lives. All I had to do was help her realize it.
From August to December Kanon and I hung out all the time. I did everything I could think of to spend time with her. I tried to go to every event that she was going to be at. I offered to ride with her every night after youth group to take one of the kids home. I even started bargaining to get gift certificates so I could take her out to eat without it seeming like a date. And all along I kept liking her more and more.
By December it must have been getting somewhat apparent that I spent as much time with Kanon as possible. She was constantly fielding questions about what was going on between us. So one night, after Kara and Tanner’s Christmas party, the two us were driving back to Wake Forest when she decided to bring it up. I decided it was time to come clean. I confessed to her that I definitely still liked her and had for just over 3 years.
Kanon got quiet. She said she was surprised, but I am not sure that I really believe it. Regardless, she needed some time to process everything. She was now faced with the reality that we couldn’t be just friends anymore. Fortunately for her, we were leaving for Christmas break so she had a little time to think through things.
With all my cards on the table, I spent January and February trying to pull out out the stops. Some of our best dates were during these two months. I began buying presents and writing long letters. Those two months were both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. Every date, every gesture, every interaction seemed like one last plea for her affection. Until, finally, on February 19, 2010, Kanon said that she was ready to begin dating.
The last year has been the best year of my life. We have moved from being just friends to being in love. I have moved from dreading her graduation and the day she would move away, to promising to spend the rest of my life with her. While the process has been challenging at times, it has also been good. Kanon has been my friend for over four years, over the last year she has become my best friend.
On our way home from DC on Sunday Kanon received a text message from Nicolle Bowers that summarizes exactly how I feel. She said, “It is the best thing in the world to marry your best friend.” Kanon is my best friend and I couldn’t be any more excited that I get to marry her.