I was going to write another entry on my thoughts about manhood today, but it’s just not coming to me right now. Today has been a rainy day. Unlike the short, sudden downpours that we’ve been having all summer (the ones that I can only describe as God pissing on Lynchburg), today has been wet, dreary, and rainy all day long. Yet this somehow seems appropriate. Water is cleansing, and at the moment my mind and heart could certainly use a cleansing. I made dinner for flowergirl and her roommates last night, and I think it went fairly well. We all ate, and everyone enjoyed the meal, and then one roommate left for a concert and the other went to bed, leaving flowergirl and I alone. We cleaned up and talked for about two hours. I think it was a wonderful conversation about philosophy, politics, and life… I have no idea if she would agree with me. Much as I think the dinner went well, I am now more convinced than ever that she has absolutely no romantic interest in me. Still, God hasn’t told me to date her, or to romance her, or to pursue a relationship with her. He’s told me to love her well, and to expect nothing in return. This, I think, is thoroughly annoying.

I am left with the feeling that no woman will ever truly love me. I don’t honestly believe that this is true, and yet at the same time I do. As much as God has grown me this summer, as much as he’s taught me about joy and satisfaction in him, the idea that a woman would ever put my needs and desires before her own seems anathema to me. Yet, now more than ever, I know that the most significant thing that I am looking for in a romantic partner (among an array of desires) is a woman who will make me a high priority in her life. Actually, I’m looking for a woman who will make me the second priority in her life, right after her relationship with God. I think that this is personal growth, at least growth of a sort. In the past I’ve always pursued women who needed me or women who would let me love them, and I’ve always been hurt.

Earlier this week (…I might have written this down, not sure) a friend of mine, in an off-hand comment, told me that I should be picky. I honestly don’t know what he intended when he said that (though, given the context of the conversation is was clearly about my dating life), but the comment has stayed with me, and it’s meant a lot to me. Honestly, I’ve always felt like the bottom of the barrel romantically. A part of me wants to say that I’ve always been made to feel like the bottom of the barrel, and I’m not entirely sure that statement would be untrue, but it feels like a lack of responsibility. Regardless of how others treat me, I decide how I see myself. That being said, I have generally been treated like the bottom of the romantic barrel by the majority of the women in my life. However, the key here is that I’ve always felt like the bottom of the barrel.

Regardless of how people have treated me, I’ve looked at myself and seen someone that no woman would want. I’ve seen someone who’s place is to give love, but not receive it. I’m not completely sure that I’m past this. I still look at myself and can’t imagine a woman ever wanting to love me. I still see someone who is fundamentally undesirable in some indefinable way, and at the moment I’m still not sure how to change this. However, I think actively looking for someone who is willing to love me as much as I love her, instead of looking for someone who simply needs love but won’t give it. I also realized a couple of weeks ago (and I’m pretty sure I did mention this) that it actually wouldn’t matter to me if flower-girl wasn’t a virgin. This is the first time I’ve been attracted to a woman and not truly and deeply worried about this.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly hope she is, even if only for her sake. I also still hope that I wind up marrying a virgin. However, in the past I have been afraid that I’d wind up with a woman who wasn’t a virgin. I’ve been afraid of being judged, or of not measuring up, or of… whatever. Of something going horribly wrong and my new wife, whoever she may be, finding herself completely sexually dissatisfied with me. I have not had this issue with flowergirl. It really just hasn’t been an issue. At the moment I’m not entirely sure whether to attribute this to some personal growth in myself (conceivably possible) or to something about her (…also possible…) or to something particular about my feelings for her (also possible… perhaps the most likely, not sure though).

Ultimately, I think I still have some growing to do. Probably a lot of growing to do. Its entirely possible that I’ll spend my life alone, and I think that’s something that I’m still afraid of. However, I also think that this summer has brought a lot of spiritual and personal growth in me, and that is most definitely a good thing.

Sometimes People Surprise You

And sometimes they don’t. I’ve said this before: people are people. They have always been people and they will always be people. They can be hurtful, kind, selfish, compassionate, frustrating, and ultimately… human. I honestly don’t really even have a point here, it’s just something that comes up in my daily life. I have a friend who has a lot of problems: two year old kid who likes tantrums, boyfriend who doesn’t seem to like her much, crazy lady trying to sabotage her car, etc. The thing is, she’s a sweet girl… well, most of the time she’s a sweet girl. She’s just prone to making bad decisions.

This is true of all of us. We all have habits that range from eccentricity to serious problems, and often it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. For instance, I used to have seven people living in my head. Seriously, they’d talk to me, argue with me, try to get me to do stuff, etc. Each one very clearly represented a fundamental part of my personality, but instead of being subconscious, everything was very clear and very loud in the top of my brain. I used to be the weird guy who walked around Walmart violently arguing with himself and muttering that people were staring at him. Needless to say, this was not eccentricity… honestly I have to imagine that it was pretty terrifying for anyone who new me very well at the time.

The thing is, those are the people that it’s oh so easy to give up on, or to write off as the exceptions. I’ve had a lot of people do both with me over the years. People who decided that I wasn’t worth the time, or that I was ‘special’ and thus it was ok that I was nuts. One of these reactions is marginally better than the other, but neither is really a good reaction.  Neither is truly loving, and that what people need.

Giving up on people is obviously not particularly loving, it just gets rid of the problem people. However, writing them off as exceptions isn’t really much better. When someone you care about has a serious problem, you need to tell them. You don’t make a huge issue out of it, don’t walk away if they don’t do what you want, but you let them know. This is what interventions are for.

I have some friends that’ve had pretty easy lives, and then I have some friends who have clearly had very difficult lives. I love both, but I often have more respect for the people who’ve struggled, fought, and gone head to head with life in a losing battle. I understand that, and the kind of strength that it takes to keep going through that. I also understand how easy it is to quit and run away.

I’ve been considering changing the ‘about me’ section on my facebook page to simply say ‘I wrestled with God’ as a reference to Jacob’s night wrestling with God and the permanent limp that resulted. Wrestling with life and wrestling with God are both respectable, but they often both suck for the person doing the wrestling. Still, God has a plan. He knows what he’s doing.