Love, etc.

14 Feb

My Senior year of High School I bought this black shirt that had a velcro strip across  the front. It came with a bag of velcro letters so I could spell anything I wanted to. The first time I wore it was on Valentine’s Day, where I proudly used it as a billboard to show off my sustain for the day,

“Cupid is Stupid.”

I was of course, single. The year before my first boyfriend whom I was on-and-off dating for two years, had finally severed things by cheating on me with my friend (who was his best friend’s girlfriend.) Later, my rebound summer fling had quickly ended after going on a missions trip and deciding I didn’t want to date until God told me who to I was supposed to marry.

“I am not the same person. I just need to date Jesus,” I said over AOL Instant Messenger. (Classy, I know.)

The next day he showed up at the diner where I worked, and waited in line while I wrote down orders for burgers, malts and stacks of onion rings, just to tell me he’d never been dumped for Jesus before. I felt a little sorry but mostly heroic, and slightly martyr-ish, like Joan of Arc must have felt.

Ten years have passed and it’s been a wild ride. All those timelines and deadlines (you know the ones: “If I am not_____by the time I am___, I will may as well DIE!”) I had I threw away, after that age had come and went.

I wished I still had my velcro shirt so I could tell the world how I really felt.

Because human emotions are complicated and deceiving. Also being a female, in this liberated, modern culture where you have the freedom to choose whoever strikes your fancy and you don’t have to worry about an arranged marriage with a greasy, bearded goat breeder when you hit puberty. Too many choices.

Then you are surrounded by all things sexual, or if you are lucky enough to be in a weird Christian subculture like I was, you are surrounded by all things about avoiding sex, all this effort to guard your heart and stay pure and wait on the Lord, while your hormones are raging on like they don’t know your heart has changed. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

Then there are all the expectations. Before I moved to Texas, I didn’t have many options. I came from a small town and 90% of the guys were way below my standard, because they loved country music and chewing tobacco and looked like they needed a shower. The other 10% were drug addicts or just pervy. A whole world opened up when I met my first “godly” man. Even though you weren’t allowed to date during the first year in the program I attended, I thought a lot about THE ONE.

What would he be like?

How would he sweep me off my feet?

When would I know?

And the biggest question: When the hell was he going to show up?

I heard these real Disney-esqe love stories from the staff there, only missing all the teen angst and kissing when they first met and anything really juicy or like real life. Yes. That is what I wanted.

Perfection. I fully believed God loved me too much to “let” me fall in love with someone I wasn’t going to marry.

So THE ONE came… and went…. and came…. and went… you know how the rest goes. It was starting to get embarrassing. I told myself I wouldn’t do it again, and I did. I would get so guilty, so full of shame. Just like I always was.

After years of one heart break after another, I finally smartened up and realized I couldn’t blame God.

I was the one doing the falling.

And then a funny thing happened. I found grace.

When I did, the guilt disappeared. Nothing in my past mattered. The shameful parts became simply stories (and some of them just funny.)

And another thing happened: I stopped believing in THE ONE.

Ok, maybe I didn’t stop believing that there was someone special for me, but I stopped believing in THE ONE as a fabricated fairy tale that was going to fix my life.

I stopped believing THE ONE would be perfect and everything would always look like a happily ever after.

I changed my expectations. It’s not that I lowered them, it’s just that I didn’t hold them tightly or idolize them.

I stopped believing THE ONE would complete me. Not because I finally listened to all those seasoned married couple who told me so, but because I finally realized,

I was already complete.

I knew things were different this time around when I didn’t care if I scared him away with my honesty…. yet he stuck around.

I told him up front exactly who I was and what I’d come through, down to the dirtiest detail, and for some reason, he decided me loved me anyways.

That, is my story, and it’s ongoing. It isn’t perfection, and often I have to laugh because it’s nothing at all what I pictured and everything I’ve ever wanted all at the same time.

Loving him is a lot of things, but it is never boring.

It’s a constant adventure, and it’s beautiful.

It’s too bad I still don’t have that old velcro shirt, because if I did and I wanted to tell the world what I thought about romance, love, etc, I would borrow a slogan from Steve Carell in the film Dan and Real Life,

“You better be prepared to be Surprised..”

 
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: