So last weekend I was mindlessly doodling in a small ragged notebook with worn down prism colored pencils. This was my chosen escape from the world and I happened to noticed that my channel was changed to Hallmark. Otherwise known by my sister and I as the sappy-dappy channel. There was a story about some perfect Barbie-type meeting her Ken at the perfect venue. For the climax of the 2 hour-long special, there would be some insignificant issue often pointing out a petty flaw of either main characters. This scene is usually complimented with some strange soundtrack as the girl ignores the calls….of her perfect guy.
Somehow, oh somehow, they work their insignificant problem out after a time period of awkward silence. The stories usually ended with the girl making some last-minute decision and chasing after guy in some dramatic way. All the while I think, “Why don’t they just say what they need to?” Approaching this, how I had everything else with a child-like honesty and openness.
Afterward, there would be a corny line as they kiss in the sunlight with wedding clothes, that just magically appeared on their persons. And 9 times out of 10 there would be some line, referencing that they were always meant to be together.That is not what Love is. Perfect screen shots and closeups.
I thought about that.
Out of 7 billion people, what are the odds of you actually meeting that one person that was meant for you? Or is it like out of those 7 billion people, there is maybe a 50% chance of you finding, not one, but multiple compatible partners. Kind of think of it like a math problem with one definite answer but there are also various ways to get to that answer.
I had always thought of marriage, as a thing of chance….
As a child raised in a single home, I would like to think that I had gotten a unique view of what incompatibility looked like and the damage it has on a family. I can see now how the priorities were different for everyone in this “new” family, including me. I remember saying to my mother one time, I don’t understand God allowing you two (my parents) to get together if it was bound to fail….You can hear the child again trying to make sense, trying to create patterns, to a very wild thing called life. Trying to apply logic to things were there was no rule or order, on matters of the heart.
The older I grew, there was a steadily growing fear. A fear of not doing it right and messing it up just like my parents. Don’t miss understand me, they are beautiful in their own right. My father, from what I remember, was so loud and funny. He was 50-years-old and still watched Tom and Jerry and laughed just as I had as an 8-year old.He was so laid-back yet expressive and passionate. I would say that he also had a sense of adventure as well.
My mother had a quiet strength, opinionated yet that same passion resided in her. She was a silent romantic as well. She was more of a home-body, who had loved old Bonanza westerns, occasional action thrillers, and Jane Austen. They had certain things in common, I guess ideally they were compatible too. So why did they fall apart? You have to understand growing up in a family made mostly of single women (aunts) and only three uncles. I was confused.
It had been made abundantly clear that chance was not enough. Taking online test wasn’t enough either. I needed something that was sure. I needed something that was bound to work. Because if there were 7 billion in the world, I wanted to make sure I shot straight so that I could get the one that was meant for me. There was definite pressure.
Secondly , There’s fear that maybe I am not enough. Maybe I am physically doing something wrong. Maybe I am unattractive. Maybe I’m weird….
Because my friends were already engaged and there were talks of weddings. There were would be long talks of engagements and ongoing dates.
I remember having a conversation with a friend after service, about how it bothered me. It bothered me that everyone around me was paired off. About how people were getting married and how some people had started questioning why I hadn’t met the one yet. I told her that it was frustrating to remind yourself that you are by yourself.
I used to pray these funny little prayers as a high school student. I’d say things like:
“God let him be like this.”
“Let him be tall, funny, practically a genius, modest”…did I mention handsome? …. (yeah) think mail-order groom.
I remember getting tired of naming all of the specifics, and simply saying show me what love looks like. Ideally I was talking about what happens between a couple or two people but something changed that for me last year. I still find myself thinking about this every couple of months. My Grandpappy, was incredible to me. He was so genuine and sweet . Right before his passing, he had been dealing with cancer of some sort, and when we had visited him it was different for me. Because I instantly knew that I wasn’t looking at the old man with big hands that had paint stains on his paints, a true artist. Being the ultimate gentleman, escorting us out, giving us hugs, telling all of us how beautiful we were and how….proud he was of us.
I was now looking at that same man, lying in bed with his large yellow hands lying open and his voice almost too low for me to hear , yet he was telling stories about his daughters and sons. He was talking and still giving hugs to us in his bed.His eyes were looking around to all of us, and he had done it again saying how proud he was of us and how much he loved us. I remember he talked a little bit about how he met our grandmother on a trolley. He said he just noticed her and she was so beautiful and she was acting just as nonchalant. I had gotten teary eyed, because though I hadn’t known her I felt as if I had. She was warm. Just like this moment. You could tell that he instantly wanted to be with her. He instantly wanted to be at her side for something amazing. I wrote down his experience. He wasn’t looking but he found her.
Everyone piled into their mode of transportation and we left and the next day he decided to leave us.
Sitting here thinking about this again, his life, impact and voice in this family. I suddenly realized what it was that had taken place…to this man, God had allowed for us to see him before he had left. Though he wasn’t standing up, he was talking and conversing with us. He laughed and cried with us. He was strong. God spared him pain from cancer, and allowed him to leave us peacefully with a smile over the wonders of the day in a deep sleep. There was such a display of what kind of relationship he and God hand. He spoke freely of this relationship and it had shown even in his departing.
I had seen two sides of love, two different interpretations. Yet in both relationships, he was full and content. He was joyful in experiencing both. There was such an evident peace about him . The same peace that you would gather if you had seen his artwork, often reflective of nature, where there were blossom trees branches surrendered willingly their branches to open blue skies. It was just like that.
It has been revealed to me that love is not an immediate thing. It comes on softly, it grows, and needs attention yes. But it also needs dedication. It needs a response. It needs a certain level of attentiveness. In complete honesty I have not been attentive. I have not given a response. I have not practiced or displayed the highest level of dedication. My relationship with God, to be honest was very detached as well as my relationship with others as well. I would have a real good thing going, I would enjoy the quiet mornings waking up and then there would be a distraction. The simply said task of quieting your mind, would become an epic battle for me. So then, how could I ask God for another relationship to work…..if I had not been attentive to God or all of my other relationships?
If I can’t pay attention to the Creator, how could I think I could do so with another living soul on that level of relationship?
I’ve heard that a relationship with God is like that of person. It takes time, it takes dedication, response, and being attentive.
It takes a response to actively participate in the language of love being communicated from your partner. You can not expect for there to be happy, fruitful relationship if you’re ignoring everything, consciously or unconsciously it still hurts.
It takes a dedication to stay with your partner, and to want to overcome the obstacles, no matter the size, or how unattractive the problem is. Because sometimes life throws very unlovely things, and when things are changing as much as they do, Loyalty is a must.
It takes being attentive. Paying attention to everything. Being an active note taker and participatory in the process of growing together. It takes a persistent study.
Now I see his artwork over my bed every morning, and I think about him and what I honestly felt was communicated to me. Before, yes, I was on a time track. I was trying to get certain goals done in a timely manner.
“I wanted to be married fast, and have the limited number of children and my house with the white picketed fence and the dog running in the yard….. just like a Hallmark card.”
I wanted it to be perfect and in my want for that I had gotten distracted. I distracted myself from an experience that only few can encounter, a truly beneficial relationship with the One.
There was insecurity and fear before this had been revealed to me. But now I relish in the quiet of my thoughts on the issue. I relish in the morning sessions, where there’s quiet and I stare out my window into the darkness. Not feeling a sense of desperation but just a peace. So yes, I still kinda avoid the sappy-dappy channel because I just feel they should have better plots in their stories, but being alone is no-longer seen as hinderance anymore. Because for that moment when I am found, I will be ready.
I hope the same for you.
I am sorry for getting distracted. I am sorry for looking at everything else instead of focusing on you. Have my heart. Steady my soul. Heal my head. Help my trust in the things you have for me. Give me peace to know that I am not missing anything. You promised us that we are never alone and we ask that you reveal yourself to us.