Tag Archives: sample

Am I A Bad Friend?

2 Dec

This past weekend I offended a friend. 

Job and His False Comforters, Jean Fouquet c. 1460

We made a plan to pray together, and before we did, I discussed with her how difficult Thanksgiving had been for me.  Dinner was just right, just what I needed, but the lead up to the family gathering had me in a state of severe woe.  I’m ready for a different kind of family gathering already, you know? I want to have my own place, with my own china, with my own food selections, and my own choice of guests.

So my friend listened and commiserated.  Then told me that, like mine, her own Thanksgiving was quite difficult.  It capped a particularly difficult week for her.  Her car broke down on the highway at 10 o’clock at night and she’d felt scared and alone.  Though she was immensely grateful to God for the impressive rescue that He maneuvered out of the situation, she was tired.  She wanted to have a husband to call who would come to her rescue.  So later that week, during a 2 hour sojourn by bus and train, alone, to her Thanksgiving dinner, she was depressed and lonely.  My friend begged God that this be her last Thanksgiving as an unmarried woman.

Unlike her commiseration with me, I offered her insensitivity.  I responded with something along the lines of, “How could you not be completely satisfied with the Lord seeing the amazing way that He took care of you that night on the highway?”  When she defended herself, and her feelings, I realized what an idiot I was.  She is entitled to feel how she feels. “You are right and I am wrong,” I apologized.  But when we prayed, I did not pray that God would hasten the arrival of her husband. I prayed that He would bring her peace and a friend, or something like that.  Afterwards, I got the impression that my prayer was not appreciated very much.  There wasn’t exactly hearty agreement.  Which made me feel bad. Had my prayer been laced with judgment?  The next day I texted another apology.  And my friend did not respond.

The thing is, I feel bad because I couldn’t pray a more supportive prayer. But I couldn’t pray a more supportive prayer because I honestly do not support my friend’s point of view. I emphatically do not believe that marriage is the answer to what ails my friend. 

She thinks, as do a lot of singles, that marriage will make everything better.  If she were married she would not have to deal with a broken down car on the highway alone at night.  But who says so? Having a husband, even a godly husband, does not guarantee that you will get the exact kind of support that you need exactly when you need it. This kind of expectation is a paving stone on the road to divorce, even in Christendom.   Maybe your only-too-human husband would come to the scene and make things worse instead of better.  Maybe he would be so nervous and worried, about the car, about you, about the money, that you would regret even telling him that you had a problem.  Maybe he would be so tired or busy or saddled with childcare that he decides not to come out to meet you, but maybe to stay on the line with you if you want.

My friend thinks that if she were married she would not have to feel angst on Thanksgiving about being alone.  But what about the angst that she might feel because she has a family and is not alone?  Marriage is not a magic elixir that instantly takes the emotional edge off. Marriage might even add an additional emotional edge. In-laws anyone? What about having to host Thanksgiving for your family and his, doing the shopping, cleaning, cooking, and baking, while still going to work and being Mommy to the kids? What about Thanksgiving road trips with a car full of tired, cranky, or bored kids? What about the added financial strain associated with said Thanksgiving travel?

The point is that marriage is not the answer to every problem that the single woman faces.  The unpleasant emotions that surface in all of our lives, married or single, are a cue to listen to what is happening in our souls.  And then to bring our real issues or concerns to the Lord.  Sadness about breaking down on the highway at night, could be an indication that your soul is longing for intimate relationship with someone, not necessarily a husband. Maybe your soul is wondering if anyone really, truly, cares and needs to be connected to a friend or a relative who will remind you of their care and concern when you are in a bind.  Or perhaps feeling sadness signals worry about the cost of car repairs and a fear of inadequate resources.  Maybe the feeling of sadness is an indication of sheer fatigue and worry about being able to get done everything that had to be gotten done that night, and then also in the morning despite being doubly tired.  Each of these unspoken thoughts, though, because they remained unspoken, could not be addressed or refuted by the Lord.  Instead my friend’s true needs, to know that she is loved, that God will provide, and that God will give her strength and grace besides, were transformed into a fantasy wish for a husband who would make all things better. 

God help me not to be like one of Job’s comforters.  And God help my friend to know You like Job came to know you.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Why Buy The Cow…?

30 Jul
Bachelors Walk

"Bachelor's Walk" Image by Antonio Rull via Flickr. Creative Commons License.

I’ve noted that a number of the men that I have met on eharmony are in their forties and single, never having married. These men, and others like them, have thoughtfully and deliberately chosen to remain single for a much longer period of time than is typical. Single, female, aged 35+ enquiring minds want to know why. Here are reasons that I’ve heard and observed:

Why Buy The Cow When The Cow Is Likely To Run Off To A Different Pasture Leaving You With No Milk, No Steak, And No Money Because You Now Have To Pay For The Estranged Cow’s Upkeep and Grazing Fees In The New Pasture?

If you’ve never heard of Marriage 2.0 perusal of an article or two on the subject would be worth the read. Men, apparently, are very, very worried about financial ruin in the form of lump sum settlements amounting to almost everything they have, and/or alimony payments that stretch into perpetuity. Why would any sane and reasonable man risk such a dire financial fate? The more a man earns and acquires as he advances professionally, and in age, the more he has to risk if he marries, and the more reluctant he is to do so. Thus, we have men who are single into their forties.

Why Buy the Cow When the Cow Milks Itself Without Any Help From You and Then Serves You the Milk?

When a woman will support herself, maintain the home (or agree to a man having the freedom of his own living space), share her body, and ensure that pregnancy and children do not become issues, what need is there of a marriage? Indeed, for many men who enjoy such full-service relationships, marriage will only result if and when the self-sustaining woman involved forces the issue on threat of leaving.  Sometimes the man will marry the woman because he values what she adds to his life. Other times, the man will balk at the woman’s ultimatum, the woman will then leave, and the next self-sustaining woman will be found to take her place. Thus, we have men who are single into their forties.

Why Buy the Cow When a Different, Better Cow Might Come to Market in the Coming Weeks or Months or Years?

The root of the root is that many men, most men even, want to be married.  Those who are not married in mid-life will tell you that they simply have not yet met the right woman.  They looked and did not find her in their twenties.  They looked and did not find her in their thirties.  They are looking and have not found her (yet) in their forties.  Thus, here they are, still single.

If you ask me, all of above reasons for why a man in his forties is not married are bogus.  The main issue is one of fear.  And the fear of losing money, or of losing freedom, or of making a mistake, are all clever covers for an underlying fear of making a commitment.   It’s been said that women fall in love and then decide to get married, while men decide to get married and then fall in love.  This sounds about right.  Where is the man who is ready to commit to marriage (which is different from simply wanting to be in a relationship), yet who is unable to locate a woman who would make a suitable wife?  I doubt such a man is out there.  Men who decide to marry, marry.

Men in their forties who have never been married probably will not be getting married, sadly.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How Do You Get Over Someone?

14 Apr
Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century pop...

Image via Wikipedia

GOOD
A tried and true and much used method of getting over a man, is to fall in love with another.  There are a few drawbacks to this strategy, however. First, there seems to be a chronic shortage of men around with whom one is likely to fall in love.  Also, even assuming a plentiful supply of easily lovable men, it’s not everyone who can fall in love on demand.  Most importantly, more times than not, if you are able to transfer your love right away from man #1 to man #2, the relationship with man #2 is probably nothing more than a rebound relationship and doomed to fail.  The rebound with man #2 might not even last long enough to get you over man #1.  The rebound might even backfire, and, instead of getting you over man #1, make man #1 look better than ever by comparison.

BETTER
A different, more promising, approach to getting over a lost love was suggested to me twice last month by two different friends.  One friend had just broken up with her guy and was living out her advice to me in real time.  The other friend has been waiting , alternately with and without much hope, for years and years to be noticed by the man she loves.  She has great familiarity with the “how to get over him” process.  Their advice:  pray about it.  Ask God to help you to get over him.  Ask for help in letting go of someone whom God has already said no about for you.  This is a very sound strategy.  The only trouble with this strategy is that, in actual practice, it turns out that praying such a prayer, and believing God to do it, is quite difficult.  Believing God to help us to yield to His will and to stop loving, when the Spirit that lives inside of us is Love Itself, is not only quite difficult, but, now that I think of it, quite possibly irrational.

BEST
As good as it might be to fall in love with another man, that can only happen when it happens.  As right as it might be to pray to get over loving the one our heart loves, I haven’t, personally, been able to wholeheartedly pray that prayer yet.  When it comes to my feelings for WB, my head prays to be over him, but my heart loves on.  And this is how it is:

 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].

1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (AMP)

I am inclined to believe that, though there is room in my heart for me to love others, there will never be a time when my heart does not love WB.  I have loved him, I do love him, I will love him. Resistance is futile and I surrender.   That is my strategy.  The only problem with this strategy is that it requires learning how to experience and to express an irrepressible love in ways that are healthy.  Like, instead of thoughts of him leading to obsession over him, thinking of him might lead to praying for him (and not “Me and Him”!).  For me, love has to stop being an internalized, self-focused, perplexing and frustrating place.  Love has to be free to be loving, even and especially towards the one whose love I am denied.   This is God’s way of loving us, no?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Audacity of Hope

5 Nov

hope2

 African-American Barack Obama has won the Presidential election and will become the 44th President of the United States of America.  It is an historic moment.

 

On the news an email from an Italian national was read, “This means that anything is possible in America.  Welcome back American Dream!”

 

After his victory was announced, in my breast embers of hope that I believed long banked, glowed and became a burning flame.  And I want to cry.  Not because I am happy.  But because I did not ask to hope.  I did not call hope forth or seek it.  Hope, for me, really is the cruelest emotion of all.  It is the hardest to endure.  Such a great hope as this victory signifies terrifies me.

 

On Election Eve my dear friend DJ called me from Chicago.  We have not spoken in months.  Since she moved as a newlywed from New York, she and her husband have purchased a large, beautiful home and their family has grown to include four children.  Six or seven years ago we were prayer partners and would pray fervently for her family and for me.  That I would marry and become a mother.  Even when we stopped praying together, knowing how greatly I desire these things, DJ was a steady source of encouragement to me over the years. 

 

When we talked two days ago, she updated me on news about her and her family.  She told me of all the weddings that were taking place around her.  I updated her on what was going on for me, and told her of all our NY friends who have had babies.  At one point DJ mentioned something about a wedding and me and I did not engage her on the issue.  I distinctly recall stifling the part of me that tried to assert the thought, “Don’t patronize me with talk of my wedding.  We both know it’s not happening.  I’ll never have children like you and your husband.”  I made some pleasant, acceptable Christian responses to all she said, and ended the call.

 

That I don’t want to talk about getting married with DJ, my friend, who only wants to continue to believe God for my future, is a very bad sign.  After that call I faced the truth of my waning hope; my diminished faith in God to ever bring my desire for marriage to fruition. 

 

I used to hope.  There were years of hope, with nothing but disappointment following.  Hope deferred has made my heart sick unto death it seems.

 

Many will say that being single and over thirty is good.  It’s Oh.Kay.  They will say that they are content and that they enjoy their lives.  I say, being single and over thirty is like being in the school yard and never being picked to play on anybody’s team.  It’s knowing the game is challenging fun and wanting to play; gathering with all the other kids on the field where the captains will choose their teams.  It’s recess after recess after recess of being passed over while watching other kids get chosen. It’s watching the others run, and catch, and get tagged out, while sitting on the sidelines knowing you would play just as well as they if only you were given a chance.  After a while the ones who are never picked stop gathering with the other kids.  We pretend that we don’t really want to play anyway.

 

Because I am still single, and for dozens of other reasons, I have urged hope to die.  But with this election victory, instead of dying, hope has unilaterally determined that it will live and grow.  It urges me to live and grow.  It dares me to believe that anything is possible.  Even marriage.