Truth and Honesty

So, I’ve mentioned before that I don’t post comments on this blog, but I welcome people to send them to me. On my last post I received the following comment from fatgirlsblog:

I think your on the right track by admitting your not attracted to the lady. If I may make a suggestion…be truthful and tell her. That will hurt her “a little” instead of a lot later.
Great honest post. :-)

First of all, I want to thank you for the comment, the advice, and the encouragement. I plan to be honest with her. Tactful, but honest. I am hoping that she feels the same way. That will make everything much easier. However, whether she does or not, I think she’ll be better off if I’m honest with her, so that’s what I plan to do.

I’ve mentioned before that I struggle with my view of women, largely because the majority of women in my life haven’t been truthful with me. So, much as it’s difficult to risk hurting someone, I believe strongly in honesty and openness at an level of a relationship, whether it’s only a friendship, a burgeoning romance, or a full-on romantic relationship. I think that’s it for me today, but I did want to make sure that I responded to that particular comment.

Little Things Lead to Big Things

This is a concept that is very true and works in multiple directions. For instance, I have a young friend that I’ve mentioned several times… I’m not sure I’ve ever given her a name… let’s call her Shelly… I’ve known Shelly since she was very young, and I’ve never really done anything all that special for her. I’ve given her a few birthday presents here and there, I’ve spent time with her, and I’ve comforted her a few times when things at school were upsetting, but I haven’t done anything really major. I’ve never saved her life. I never bought her a pony. I never did much of anything besides be myself. The thing is, over years of being myself, this little girl has decided that I’m a really great friend, and a close bond has formed. The same is true with her younger brother… Timmy…, for whom I’ve also never done much of anything special. Little things, over a long period of time, lead to big results.

This is true in the opposite direction as well. When I was young I was given constant negative reinforcement. I can’t say that my parents ‘never’ did anything majorly wrong (I almost made my mom move out at one point, and that is the one time that I can say that my dad just plain beat me), but they didn’t do many hugely wrong things. They weren’t drug addicts, they didn’t sell me to strange men in alleys, they didn’t smack me around on a daily basis. Nonetheless, little things, repeated over a long period of time, lead to a massively screwed up kid. When I turned twelve I was in my eighties, and I didn’t reach my teens until I hit 20. Thus my twenties were filled with all the emotional crap that teens have to deal with. It was all very annoying.

So, little things+time=big results. When a gorgeous woman whom I’ve never met and who has many pictures and few connections ‘friends’ me on Facebook I tend to take one look at the profile, decide it’s not a real person, and deny the friend request. … …Of course sometimes I take the time to look through the pictures of said gorgeous woman… I generally regret that afterwards. Today has been one of those days. Ever since the friend request I got this morning, I’ve been wanting to Google ‘the girl next door’. I don’t particularly want to do this, but the idea keeps popping back into my head. I push it out, and a few minutes later it pops right back in. Then I push it out again… and repeat. This frustration has persisted through grading, martial arts classes, and a friend’s party. I suppose I could have named this post ‘and the cat came back…’ If you know what I’m talking about then you know… if not… it’s a thing, don’t worry about it.

At this point I can’t say what will happen, and I hate that feeling. I can say that I’m going to take my frustration to God and ask for help. I can say that I’m going to do my best to keep my mind and heart focused thoroughly on him. I can also say that little things lead to big things. Little blessings lead to big blessings, and little problems lead to big problems. …And there it goes again :(. Anyway, we all have desires. It’s a normal part of life. We want things. Sometimes we actually, legitimately need things. We long for things. However, ultimately, it isn’t the desires that pop into our head that matter. It is what we do with those desires. Which desires will I choose to dwell on? Which desires will I choose to pursue? Which desires will I choose to focus my heart on? I know which desires I want to focus on, but all to often want and will are two different things.

So, for all of you who are struggling with some desire that frustrates the crap out of you: it happens to all of us. You are not alone. So get your head back in the game, beat the shit out of whatever is pulling you away from God, and focus on pursuing him with a complete heart and mind. I’m going to go do the same.

P.S. What the heck! I was winning! I go away for two days and I’m back to barely breaking even! Seriously people…

Giving Thanks

Something that I’ve been learning lately is the importance of actually giving thanks. I don’t mean the importance of being thankful, that’s something else entirely, and it absolutely is important. However, being thankful is an internal attitude, and for too many of us it never actually makes it to our lips. What I mean by ‘giving thanks’ is the importance of actually saying ‘thank you’, and not just as a polite missive, but actually sitting down with someone, or taking the time to write a note and tell someone why you are thankful for them.

This isn’t something that we often do, and it’s important both for ourselves, and for others.  Having a grateful attitude is a wonderful thing, and being a thankful person can go a long way towards making you a happier person. However, actually taking the time out of your day to stop and let someone know why your thankful for them, why they’re important to you, or what makes them awesome brings this attitude into reality.

You don’t have to write them a three page letter, or take them out to dinner (although that never hurts). Try starting simply by writing out a short note letting them know that you’re thankful for them and a few reasons why. Explain why they matter to you, why you love spending time with them, or what they’ve done to make your life better. I have to admit that I’m not very good at this yet, but I’m learning as I go.

Something that I’ve tried to make a practice of in my life is to not wait to say the important things. So often we don’t say the things that really matter because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of being rejected, afraid of being embarrassed, afraid of sounding stupid or sappy. We let our fears control us, and this costs us what could be important, meaningful moments with the people we care about. We don’t tell our friends that we love them, or that we’re thankful for them, or that they add value to our lives, and we should because by doing so we could return some of that value to them.

So, the next time you really want to say something nice to someone, but are afraid it might come off as ridiculous or that it might not be good enough, just say it.

Disappointments

Well, it’s four in the morning and I’m sitting here writing because I can’t sleep… again. At least I’m taking tomorrow off, so it’s not like there’s anything I really have to do. Still, I’d kind of like to be asleep right now. That being said, life is always full of little surprises ready to kick you in the face. I called not-Sarah this afternoon to finalize plans for Wednesday, only to have her tell me that she wasn’t really interested in anything more than casual conversations with me.

I don’t think I handled that well. I didn’t handle it badly, I was just kind of lost for words and babbled a little bit before saying goodbye. The conversation really caught be by surprise, honestly, and I’m realizing that I didn’t really know what I was looking for from her. I don’t know if I wanted more than casual friendship or not, but I kind of expected more. I thought that she was interested (which means that I clearly misread something I suppose), and I was more flustered at having that expectation banished than at the fact that nothing was going to happen between us.

Ultimately, it was a minor disappointment, but it was definitely a disappointment because I was expecting at least interest from her. I was expecting to be the one who decided if there was anything there, not the other way around, and that didn’t happen. Ultimately, it’s in God’s hands, and I’m going to trust him with it. He knows what he’s doing a lot better than I do. I’m also kind of surprised that it affected me as much as it did. As I said, I was on… well, at least I thought I was on the fence about wanting something, but when the actual decision was taken away, it hurt a little and threw me into a funk that lasted for a good three or four hours.

I think that I can, and probably should, be better about that. I keep saying that I need to be single, and maybe I still need that for a little while longer. It’s something that I’m doing my best to leave up to God right now. Honestly, there’s a big part of me that’s just tired of being rejected.

Hugs

There are lots of different kinds of hugs. There are guy hugs that include lots of yelling and backslapping, quick friend hugs that only last a second or two, side hugs that just say ‘hey, you’re special’, and so on and so on. Then there are those hugs, generally reserved for those who are truly intimate (i.e. siblings, parent and child, childhood friends, lovers, etc), where a person just hangs on to you and doesn’t want to let you go. The kind of hug that lets you know that this person doesn’t want you to leave. I got one of those tonight.

I know I’ve written about my friend… Shana. She’s a 14 year old girl who I’ve known since she was 2. She is my favorite kid in the world (except possibly my nephew… I kind of feel like I have to add that in). Sometimes I think she might have a crush on me, although I honestly doubt it. Every now and then she’ll give me a hug and just not want to let go, or we’ll high five and she’ll grab my hand and hold it a little longer than necessary. I know she’s at that age where she’s started thinking about boys, but doesn’t really want to admit it yet, and I know she loves me.

I’ve actually taken a few steps, just in case. Thrown in the word ‘kid’ every now and then when I’m talking to her, stuff like that. Honestly though, I don’t think the has a crush on me. I think that she loves me, and knows that I love her, and is maybe having a tiny bit of trouble figuring out what that looks like now that she’s becoming an adult. Heck, I fell in love with a 17 year old not too very long ago simply because I’d known her forever and couldn’t figure out the difference between love and romantic love. … …I’m still trying to figure out this whole love thing, I came pretty late to the game. Thankfully, the 17 year old set me straight, and that was definitely a good thing.

Still, those hugs are nice. The kind that let you know that someone truly, completely wants you around, and that’s what tonight was. There wasn’t any confusion in the hug she gave me tonight. No worries about anything, just love. So often in today’s culture we think of love as a dirty word. As a friend of mine recently said, we define love as ‘eros’ when we should be looking for ‘agape’, and that part of why (even anonymously) I kind of hesitate to write this. I worry that someone will read this and misunderstand. I worry that my own eros infused brain will point me in the wrong direction. I worry that my thoughts or my heart won’t be pure and fatherly.

I think these worries are good things. They keep me watchful over my own actions and emotions, and this is a good thing… as long as it doesn’t go to far. This is always the thing with limitations and protections. They are good, until they become legalistic. That’s the key with limitations. They can’t simply exist for their own sake. If the law is the law simply to be the law, then the law is utterly and completely pointless and should be done away with. The law exists to protect us, to guide us, and to make us better, not simply to hedge us in and control us.

P.S. Not-Sarah called me back. We’re going to get dinner and a movie on Wednesday.