Thursday, July 31, 2008

Missed the Point?

So here it is, shuffle, shuffle, scrape, thud, tap-tap… the soap box, I’m pulling it out again. Most of you know this in person, but I’ll give her a try in black and white (or light blue). PS: it's a pretty long one. I know, I know-- short and sweet is always better... I'll have to keep working on that.

Okay, so yes I’m single. Yes I do often wish I had the companionship of a man, but I ask myself more and more at what cost?

My parents were married “later” (that is 28 and 34—which is really at most 10 years from now for me). Not that “late.” They have a beautiful, strong, balanced, loving and generous marriage and my sister and I have had comfortable, encouraging and happy lives because they were able to provide all of that for us. So in High School I believed “yeah I’ll probably not get married until I’m in my late 20’s too. I have to first get ordained and actually live my life (outside of being a student) and meet some real men.” Then I went to “Ring-by-Spring, Mrs. Degree” Point Loma. And the engagements came; the bridal showers came, the wishful thinking, the “dream weddings,” the drama, the bridezilla’s and the broken hearts came. Some marriages have been going strong and happy for a number of years; some ended up in broken engagements and within a few years a beautiful wedding with another person. Some ended up in ugly divorce--hush-hush between the rolling hum of the pipe organ at Church.

So call me a pessimist. Call me depressed. Call me melancholy. Call me a troublemaker. Call me what you want (because it’s unlikely it will ever beat “Charismatic Experiential Feminist” (Irony: for another blog)).

So if you’re a romantic. If you love, love for the sake of the butterflies and rainbows don’t bother reading on. But if you’ve actually thought twice or asked yourself “what’s so great about marriage?” Then tarry, get your feet wet. Muse with me.

Is “IT” really that great? (Thanks Jen for starting this… hope you don’t mind me stealing it). Okay, so maybe it is, I still have only been given part of the story so bear with me... So if it really is, at what cost? What are we really getting ourselves into when we say, “I do.” It’s not a “sex license.” Really, it’s not even in the fine print. Aren’t there always TWO sides to a coin?
If I get married then I’ll never be lonely again.
If I get married I’ll always have someone to talk to.
If I get married someone will understand.
If I get married then I won’t have to worry about being taken advantage of again.
If I get married we’ll have kids, and a puppy and a white picket fence, and be on the PTA, and go trick-or-treating, and have slumber parties and… and… and…

What does the other side of the coin look like?
If I get married I’ll never have privacy.
If I get married I’ll never get time to just think.
If I get married we’ll probably have kids, what if…
If I get married I might have to sign divorce papers, divide our stuff, our lives, our families, our future, our time, our hearts.

While I am single: Sometimes, maybe even a little bit all the time I feel lonely.
But, if a friend calls I can pick up a sweater and walk out the door. I don’t have to call for a sitter, ask permission or explain the situation to anyone. I can share my things with anyone. I can share my thoughts, desires and my dreams with someone young or someone old—I haven’t already given most of my time to one other person. I can sit in a coffee shop all night—watching people, meeting people, enjoying a perfectly prepared latte.
Decisions made can be influenced equally by myself, my best friend(s), my family and whoever else walks into the situation. It’s not a yours-and-mine equation. Yes sometimes an embrace, a glance will ignite something deep within that has never been touched before, and I don’t know if I’ll ever know how to satisfy those flames. But, at least I know they’re there; there’s something still mysterious about myself that I don’t even know, that no one but the one who created me knows.

I am not exceptionally intelligent, kind, beautiful, generous, loving, funny or humble.
If I were exceptionally intelligent I would make a lot of money.
If I were exceptionally kind I would be living in another country feeding hungry people.
If I were exceptionally beautiful I would have my face in magazines.
If I were exceptionally generous I might have more friends.
If I were exceptionally loving I would hurt no one.
If I were exceptionally funny I would be on TV.
If I were exceptionally humble… that one’s up to God.

We have been misled. Who pulled the wool over my eyes? Who has let me wear these fuchsia glasses thinking that the images beyond will seem more alluring? Who am I to say “that’ll never be me.”

We confound ourselves by saying “all the pretty girls… or all the funny guys… or all the tall guys…” Or whatever phrase you chose to throw in there to say that it's something less than a miracle that two people can actually meet, enjoy each other so much that they CHOSE to take on the risk of having everything torn apart (when you bring two things together the other side is that it will be TORN apart). It’s a choice. You chose to take the next step, regardless of what may come. You don’t get married because “I’m crazy about him” or “She’s just so perfect” or “I just love you so much”
You marry because you have found someone who leads you closer to Christ so that without this other you more dimly follow your first love. That if you were to part, your pursuit of the Lord changes (not necessarily leaves you but it is inevitably different). Your lives have met in such a way that the Christ in me is more brilliant when you're around and the Christ in you is more Christ-like when I'm around. If you marry the direction in life you take is that of Christ. NOT of a four bedroom, three bath, with three kids, a trust fund and a Labrador. If the Lord blesses you with Children you are to raise them to know and love God. If you are blessed with a house, you are to open those doors to someone who may not have as much. If you are blessed with a trust fund, use it to the glory of God. If you are blessed with a Labrador, the Lord will teach you humility.

I’m not perfect, I'm not even close. Ask my closest friends and my parents. Believe me they have plenty of stories. I’m not looking for the perfect man. I’m just interested in finding people—man, woman, child—who by the grace of God bring life to Christ in our midst. People who are made alive in Christ.

I am blessed to know many of these children of God. Thank you for allowing me to walk beside you. Maybe some day for some crazy unknown reason a man will come into my life and God wants to use us together. Not because either of us have anything exceptional to offer, but that together Christ is more beautiful. Until then, I’ll keep working on trying to follow today, tomorrow, next week, when I’m 50 and when I’m 87.

And by the grace of our Lord this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, Jess! Amen, sister!!