Bob Lind, Published April 07 2012
Lind: A man’s waiting game pays off with a family
Eric Jarabek admits he almost blew it that way.
He was a young single guy at work one day at a North Dakota State University lab when a new student doing research walked in.
Her name was Laura, she was wearing butterfly clips in her hair and she was “real cute,” Eric says.
Yes, he was interested. But he didn’t act on that interest until it almost was too late.
Eric was born in Huron, S.D., to Cal and Vicki Jarabek, but has lived in Fargo since he was 10.
He graduated from Fargo South High School in 1998, then attended NDSU, graduating in zoology in 2002.
Laura was born in Melrose, Minn., to Jerry and Sue Mergen, but grew up in Albany, Minn., graduating from high school there in 2000, then attended Concordia College, graduating in chemistry in 2004.
They met in the summer of 2001 in what may not be the most romantic locale in the world: the Materials Characterization Laboratory, part of NDSU’s chemistry department. Both were undergraduates.
Eric, a new Christian, says he’d been praying for a godly woman for a wife, “a woman who loved Jesus.” Almost from first sight he felt Laura, also a Christian, was it.
They worked together for two months.
“I wanted to get to know her better,” Eric says, but he never asked her for a date.
Oh, but they did do things together. They went to the same Bible study. He took her to his sister’s softball game – although it wasn’t really a date, they say. Because she had toured Europe as a violinist with Concordia’s orchestra, she had lunch with Eric to show him her European pictures.
But somehow Eric never worked up the nerve to ask her out. Until, finally, on her last day at the lab he got the nerve.
Laura gave her oral presentation that morning of final day.
Eric sat in on it.
She returned in the afternoon to hear other presentations. Then she said her goodbyes and was heading out the door for the last time when Eric spoke up.
“Wait a second,” he told her. “Would you want to go out with me some night?”
“I’d like that,” she said.
And the ball was rolling.
At first they became acquainted via emails. Then, finally, that fall they had their first real date; they ate at the Olive Garden, then Laura gave Eric a tour of the Concordia campus.
They dated for about two years, with lots of encouragement from Laura’s three roommates.
But Eric didn’t need their help. He popped the big question in May 2003.
You know Laura’s answer.
Eric and Laura were married a year later in St. Cloud, Minn., went to Banff, in Canada, for their honeymoon, and have lived in Fargo ever since.
Eric works at the NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering while Laura is a stay-at-home mom caring for their three special “gifts from God,” as they call them: Eli, 4; Austin, 3, and Joah, eight months.
They have a couple of Bible verses they build their home around: James 1:17 (“Every good gift bestowed and every perfect gift is from God”) and Joshua 24:15 (“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”)
The Jarabeks planned to worship this Easter at their church, Salem Evangelical Free (east campus), Moorhead, although they might be with other family members out of town.
In any event, they’ll be worshipping with great thanks for many things – including that Eric finally worked up the courage to ask Laura out.
“If I hadn’t done it her last day at work, we might not have gotten together,” he says.
But he did. And they did. For a lifetime.
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