“It is what I was born for – to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over...” – Mary Oliver
I argue that 'this world' is anything but soft, but, I love this quote. Observation, instruction, learning, it is part of who I am. Through this divorce I have looked hard at my life, listened to the words of people echoing around me and learned some tough lessons.
I know rejection on a deeper level and I thought I knew rejection well. I have learned that sometimes no matter how hard you pray, cry, try, it's not enough to change a bad situation or put things back the way you want them. I've learned that I have less grit than I expected and fold under pressure like origami paper… over and over again... much to my chagrin. I've learned that I have a greater support network than I imagined and that they are here for me when I can't figure out how to do life one day longer. I've learned that both lavender vodka and ice cream can do wonders for escaping pain for a moment but that really... “pain only hurts” (that's a quote from Scott Jurek's Eat and Run) and that if you feel the pain and push through it, you know how to do it better next time and you CAN do it better next time!
Next time is upon me.
The end has come. Fourteen years of “us” is over. I honestly expected “us” to last forever, but it didn't. I couldn't fix it. I've spent the last eight months reeling and unsure. And here I am.
There's a story about a great king with a deathly ill child. This king beseeched God with all that was in him to save the child. He didn't eat or bathe. He offered sacrifices and pleaded on behalf of the child's life but in the end, God did not answer his prayers...
The baby died.
The story is from the Bible, the king was David, and though I am no ruling authority I completely identify with King David. I begged and pleaded and sacrificed and the marriage died. It's dead. It's over. What was will never, ever be again.
The world I knew was destroyed, by my sins, by his sins, by God's will, fate, life... However it came to pass, the fact is... my world burned to the ground! Life as I knew it is dead... gone... burned up! There was weeping, there was gnashing of teeth and now there is a whole new world in front of me. The promise of God is that He makes all things new. Whether I expected it like this or not, He made my life new. I am a new person. I have a new perspective.
I'm not “his woman” anymore. I am my own woman. My boys are practically grown men, as are their sisters (who have mothers of their own but have allowed me space in their life). I've never had this much experience or knowledge in my life. I don't know too much but I know enough to bury the baby and start living the rest of my life with deliberate intention and wild abandon!
I am going to look, to listen and to lose myself inside this world and instruct myself over and over. For me that means I'm starting to date. I've cleared it with my dad, my kids and those I respect the most in this world… and Jesus and me got this figured out.
I've listened to comments which have ranged from “It's about time!” and “You deserve it!” to “You're not ready yet.” and “You just got divorced!” I respect each comment and concern more than I can say and have taken it all into consideration. Here's the thing... I agree with them all and have therefore decided to date my way, which, I admit, isn't conventional but neither am I so why would I do dating normal?
The way I figure it, LORD willing, I only have a limited time to date so I might as well glean as much knowledge as I can from the experience and regret nothing. For years now I have been telling my girls, and the girls I worked with at the Tech Center to be strong in their character. They are meant to compliment a man but not to be completed by one. I told them to be sure of who they were, to have at least 5 things they liked to do by themselves without anyone else, or at least without a boy. (I also told them to marry for love but date the rich guys but that was a little tongue-in-cheek, so yeah… :P) I told them to reserve their body for the one it belonged to, not to give it up freely or under pressure. I told them a good man will wait and understand and respect them for saving themselves for the one they belonged to.
Now, incredibly, I am here, like them, anticipating my lifetime companion… only for me it's round three and this time it's either third time is a charm or three strikes I'm out. I will do this mate thing exactly one more time EVER then, for good or for bad, I'm done! There's an old addict quote, “I got another relapse in me but I don't know if I have another recovery in me.” That's where I'm at. I have exactly one more hope for a lifetime companion. Yeah, it's fatalistic but … it's me, that's how I roll!
The point is, the severity of the issue at hand necessitates my utmost discretion so #1) why wait? And #2) Why hurry? Yep, chaos and irony! I've taken lessons from the muse and have embraced chaos and irony as part of who I am.
He has a woman, he has found his everlasting. I am happy for him but I'm not there yet. I'm just dating. I am analyzing the data. I am taking my time. I am not going to get serious any time soon. I have a “yes” policy to anyone who has the courage to respectfully approach me and doesn't give me the creeps. Considering the fact that I'm socially awkward and go exactly four places; home, work, church and the gym I've decided to set-up an online profile. I've heard enough positive experiences to believe it is a feasible option. I have some pretty specific rules of engagement and most guys won't get me or be interested in a bookish, Jesus-freaky, gym-rat so I figure I'll be able to gather a good sampling over the next 18 months of the men that I share common interests with. With the exception of the MAJOR characteristic I'm looking for, I have a control sample and all will be held to that standard… and maybe he'll come around, or maybe he's just a good guy that all others will be compared to. Either way I want to learn what the norms are, I want to see standard characteristics and standard deviations and I want to make an informed decision based on data, time and, most importantly, God's leading.
Every man is his own story and I love stories so I'm excited to date and get to know guys... something I have been restricted from for my ENTIRE adult life. That realization was mind-blowing to me... for my entire adult life I have avoided men… because I belonged to someone. It never bothered me but, now that I'm here, I see that there are so many good guys out there! Listening to men talk, looking into their eyes without shame or fear of repercussion is like new life. I get to hear a new story every time I talk to someone new. I admit that my body is anxious to get this dating thing over with and move on to the mating part but my heart, soul, mind and spirit understand there is more… so much more to know about a man. And I will know him first.
I eagerly await HIM. LORD willing, he will know I'm HER and will get it right with God and make me his. Until then I will enjoy the good, pure, fun, fitness-minded, godly company of good men and know that he's on his way to me… or is waiting for me to figure myself out. Until then, I wait patiently and I follow my chaotic path and save myself for him. So yeah… I'm dating, it's weird but I'm here and I'm going to do it right, without compromise for once in my life, make my Father in heaven proud and make the man I belong to for the rest of my life proud as well!