I’ve been thinking a lot about the romantic notion that there is “someone for everyone”. I’ve also been thinking about the notion I’ve had from my youth that I really don’t need to spend my time looking for Mr. Right. I should just go about my life and he (if he indeed exists) will somehow magically surface. Well, that is a very oversimplified way of stating the idea that if there is someone out there for me, I do not need to spend any energy looking for him, he will come to me. Instead, I should be spending my energy being the best me I can be, pursuing my own interests, being authentically me and Prince Charming will see me from afar or from one of those areas of interest I’m pursuing and come riding in on his mighty steed (or his whatever fuel efficient economy car) to woo me and carry me away to happily-ever-after land.
Now, 30 years later and I’m thinking that these ideas need revision. First, we don’t know for sure that there is “someone for everyone”. How would we prove this…if such an idea were provable? If two people were born on opposite ends of the earth and were “meant” for each other how would anyone, including the two in question know? How would we know if Person A were meant for Person B? What would happen if Person A died before they could meet? Would Person C then become the perfect match for Person B or is Person B flat out of luck? No, we cannot determine for sure that there is indeed someone for everyone. In fact, if we just look at the birth statistics in any given year or series of years we find that one or the other of the sexes born in a given year, outweighs the other. In romance, there is simply not a clean scientific one-to-one correspondence.
The idea that if I just go about doing my life, Mr. Prince will appear, is also a theory that needs revision. Why? Because, it made sense when I was young, beautiful, childless, and had my entire life ahead of me and the possibilities for how I could spend my time as well as who I could spend my time with were virtually unlimited. Such is not the case in post-40 single-mom-of-four-kids world. The possibilities for how I can spend my time are now relegated to working to keep a roof over our heads, parenting the said four children, eating, sleeping, grocery shopping, housecleaning, laundry, yard work, and paying bills. There isn’t much time left over, except for every other weekend and about five weeks the rest of the year that I can just do whatever I want. In addition, the possibilities concerning who I spend my time with, have significantly diminished since those carefree college days where the men-to-women ratio was 7 men to every 1 woman. Add that reality to the fact that I now know myself better and have been shaped by all the experiences in the last 46 years. I’m now far more scrutinizing and, yes, picky, about who I spend my time with, let alone, who I might consider becoming romantically involved with. To further complicate the situation, I have my children to consider. My children have already experienced the worst of the blended family scenario and it was so abusive and bad that we had to get out. It failed. We aren’t ready to repeat that experience any time ever. The nuances and intricacies of any relationship that would work for me and mine, are complicated indeed. The old romantic notions just don’t fit or work anymore.
Yes, these romantic notions need to be completely revised, or maybe rewritten altogether. Hmmm, possibly, even discarded outright. I think it is possible to make an intelligent, considered and deliberate decision regarding who I become romantically involved with. However, I also know that it is completely in the realm of possibility for me to overanalyze things and thus completely miss a good thing were it to come my way. I’m actually more concerned that this second option would happen. I fear I will find so many reasons not to invest, instead of seeing that the person in front of me fits me like hand and glove. It might feel right but I’ll pick it to death on the intellectual end and walk away.
It is along these lines that I’ve been also thinking more about God.
I have always been part of the Christian religion. However, I have not always been a Christian and most of the time I have been a Christian, I have not been very spiritual. In fact, I’ve struggled to be a “good Christian”. I’ve struggled so much, I finally decided to give it up. But that’s another story altogether. I am not a religious person. I do nothing out of “religion”, however, spiritually, I ascribe to the Christian principals as communicated in the Bible. I disagree most of the time with what the established Christian church (regardless of denomination) does, simply because I feel that the church today has fallen into the same trap the religious leaders in Jesus’ day fell into: they are all about building their own little power kingdoms and not at all about true communion with God. I’ll be the first to say that my problems and failures in my own spiritual journey cannot be blamed on the effectiveness or inadequacy of any human religious institution, however, I can say that more often than not, the “church” has done more to isolate me from God than to draw me near to Him. This should not be. So…after a great many years of involvement, over-involvement to the point of collapse almost, I spun wildly out of control spiritually, made some very foolish mistakes and landed myself on a very long sabbatical from “the ministry”. My head was messed up, my heart was broken and my spirituality was at an all time low. That was the state of affairs for me as I entered my second marriage, which failed, for a number of reasons, none of which, added to my spiritual health.
So, I took a break from all things religious.
For a long time. For about two years now, maybe almost three.
And…surprisingly…now that the human voices of guilt, condemnation and disapproval have faded to silence, I think, I actually think I can hear God’s voice.
Okay, now, this is not the venue to discuss the validity or otherwise of the existence of God. That’s not my purpose here. Long ago, I mucked through all that for myself. I was not brought up in a religious home though I did get some church in my younger years. If anything, my parents were staunchly agnostic almost moving toward atheistic. They hated religion and were very intellectual. I’m sure I’m an embarrassment to them. I know what that world view holds. I know. I grew up in it and was immersed in it just as fundamentalist right wing religious zealots immerse their children in their world view. I didn’t rebel. I just watched and looked and considered. But this is not the venue to go into that particular journey either. Suffice it to say that it seemed more conceivable to me that this intricate and finely tuned universe we live in was carefully and thoughtfully designed rather than originating by random chance and thus, I took a step and opted in favor of a loving, creator God who desired relationship with me as opposed to the futile thinking that we are here by chance and we die and become food for worms (which we do but that’s only because we no longer have need of our physical houses). I made this decision at the ripe old age of 18. I haven’t been much of a “super Christian”, but I haven’t regretted the choice either. I believe there is a loving God, who desires intimate connection with humanity and not just humanity, but each one of us as individuals. He wants to orchestrate wonderful things for us that we cannot imagine, but He has by His own design limited himself in some ways. He will not force Himself on us.
So it is into this context that over the last two years and more specifically over the last six to eight months that spirituality and my dating life have converged. The questions I have about having never really been in love, wondering if there is indeed someone “out there” for me even at this “final hour”, how do I go about meeting him and what part God would play in all this ultimately boil down to trust. The issue, really, for me, is trust. If I believe there is a personal God out there who loves me and cares about me as an individual and not just as part of a collective whole why am I not willing to trust Him with my love life?
Would he care about my love life?
I think so. Great theological question. Also a lengthy topic for another blog, but yes, I think God cares about this element of our humanity. God says it is not good for us to be alone. He’s a God of community and commitment, so, yes, I think He’d care about my love life. And, I know I have issues of trust originating from way back when and continuing on to the present day. It is hard for me to totally trust that someone truly cares about me without having an agenda. So, of course, I shift that over to my dealings with God. Trusting God has been tough for me. Not trusting God has landed me in a heap o’ trouble that I think I could well have avoided, but I don’t know for sure since I haven’t ever really trusted God and observed the results.
So, the other day, somewhere out of nowhere, that still, small voice whispered to me as I was frantically going about my daily business. It was such a different thought that it stopped me cold, “So, after two failed marriages, an active dating life with no interesting possibilities for a relationship that looks like it might go the distance, a bunch of people wasting your time then going silent, don’t you think you might try trusting me with your love life?”
The question stopped me in my tracks.
Trust God with my love life? I almost laughed.
It would be much more dramatic if I could say that I thought that was absurd. I did not. I did not think anything of it. I just thought about the concept. Trust God with my love life?
Then I thought, “Wait. If God is who He says and who I say I believe He is then He most definitely cares about my love life. There are plenty of examples in the Bible where God orchestrated romance on behalf of the individuals involved and He had nothing or very little to work with and He had human beings screwing it up all along the way. Hmmm,” I continued in my thoughtful reverie, “If I believe what I say I believe about God then I must put Him to the trust test. I must trust Him with my love life or my spirituality is not worth the energy it takes to explain it.
So, my response to God?
Just this, “Okay, God, I’m going to trust you with my love life because if I can’t trust you with that then I can’t trust you with anything, but please don’t let that mean that my only options are those emasculated mamby pamby fundamentalist nuts whose Christianity keeps them from speaking English and whose chief desire is finding a woman to wait on them, because after all ‘by God, they are the man of the household’. God, just give me a man who is into you, not hung up on Christian image and who is 100% male and masculine and still respectful, kind, and not afraid to show he cares. And, oh, yeah, God, if it isn’t too much to ask, make him one of those guys who can do more than just show up. I’d like to be able to talk to him and, better yet, have him carry enough of the conversation that I get a chance to listen to him and that I can admire what he has to say for a lifetime, or the rest of our lifetime together. And then, God, I really simply just want that one companion that fits, like hand and glove in so many millions of different and impossible ways, and, please God, let me recognize him when you put him there in front of me….but I guess you already know all that about me. Okay, God, have fun with that, it won’t be easy.”
And that’s how God got involved with my love life.