Waiting…

In his poem If Rudyard Kipling expresses what makes a man. The poem as a while is incredibly powerful, and his opening lines are deeply evocative, especially the line ‘If you can wait and not be tired by waiting’. This is something that I’ve never been particularly good at. I’m an impatient man, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and this is something that has caused me many problems, especially since I tend to fall for women who aren’t really ready for a relationship. This year has been all about waiting. It started in the spring when God put returning to school on my heart, but told me to wait until the fall to apply… for the next fall. I would have been perfectly happy to put in an application last spring and be starting now, but that wasn’t the plan. Although, considering that it took me a full month to actually fill out the application in the first place (I started it September 1st and finished it September 30th… haven’t put it in yet), it isn’t really surprising that God told me to wait. He’s also had me in a time of enforced singleness, my own choice up through about June, and after that… well, you’ve all read about my cringe inducing romantic escapades. Today I found out that the young lady to whom I sent flowers (go read a few posts back) simply isn’t ready for a relationship. She didn’t tell me this herself (though I have a feeling she’s recognized my interest, though I haven’t formally acknowledged it and don’t plan to for a while), but a friend of hers told me. I had kind of figured it out for myself though. She’s seemed completely neutral to my approaches so far, blundering as they may be. She hasn’t discouraged me in any way, but she hasn’t encouraged me either. I take this to mean that she has some interest, but doesn’t actually want to be pursued at the moment. So, I’m back to waiting.

Of course, in my prayers, God has been confirming this for some time. Every time that I’ve prayed about this woman God has told me ‘just love her well’. Of course, I want him to tell me ‘yes, she’s the one for you’ or ‘she’s going to fall hard for you’ or ‘you’re already in her heart’, but what he tells me instead is ‘just love her well’. So, this is exactly what I plan to do. I am going to love her as well as I possibly can, and trust God with whatever the outcome might be. At the moment I am coming to terms with the idea that it is very possible that nothing will ever happen, and that this is alright. My job, my only job, is to be her friend and make her smile as much as I can. At the moment I’m actually pursuing other women, although this is (at least in part) to keep myself from pursuing her. I know myself, and I know that if I ‘wait’ for her then I won’t be waiting at all, I’ll be pushing. I don’t honestly expect anything to happen with any of the other women that I’m talking to, but if something does I’m certainly not opposed to it.

I’ve asked her roommate to help keep me accountable in this as well. Hopefully she’ll be able to keep me in line and to keep me from doing anything stupid. However, I suppose we’ll see what happens. Today I was asked to briefly describe my ideal woman by one of the other women I’m talking to. The following was my response:

My ideal woman? Honestly I’m not sure I believe in ideal people at this point. She would have to be spiritually and emotionally mature; confident and strong, but vulnerable and actively wanting to submit; desiring to love, support, and cherish me as thoroughly as I will her; willing to initiate things (I don’t mean ask me out or propose here, but once I’ve made the first step she would have to be willing and able to pursue me); intelligent and nerdy (capable of holding her own in conversation); kind; gentle; beautiful (this includes physical appearance, but I think that beautiful refers to the entire person, not just looks); caring for others and someone who will sharpen me spiritually; and probably has a fairly good income and benefits (my career path, unfortunately, is not the most lucrative) though this last would really just be a nice plus if it was the case.

Honestly, I think this is a solid description of the core of what I’m looking for. I’m just not convinced that she exists… We’ll see though. I know that God has a plan, and I trust that he’ll bring the right woman into my life at the right time. I just wish that time was right now.

Desiring Singleness

I know that I need to be single right now. I’ve mentioned this several times in previous posts. I need to be single, and I need to be content being single, and I need to want to be single. However, today I didn’t. I’m really not sure what it was, it wasn’t even a particular woman, but all day I just wanted something. I wanted someone to walk up and kiss me, to hold me, to tell me that she loved me, and to tell me that she admired me. I just wanted someone. I gave this to God, several times… or at least I tried to. That helped some, but the desire was still there, and this is my struggle right now.

I want to be content. I want to be happy. And there are days that I am completely content to be single. However, that wasn’t what I was made for. I know that, I can feel it my bones, in my heart, but I also know that it’s a desire that I need to let go. Not to give up on, I think I’ve made that clear. Even on those days where I’ve been completely content in my singleness, I’ve still known that it wasn’t going to last, but I need to let the desire go, to learn to be satisfied without it.

I struggled for a good part of the day with the feeling that no-one could love me as well. That is to say that there is something in me that is simply unlovable, undesirable, and that no-one will ever get past that. The feeling that I’ll always be the second choice, the ‘nice guy, but…’. I know that this comes from the way I was raised, and I can see the way that its been reinforced by the relationships I’ve sought out, and I honestly know that it’s not true… at least, I know that it’s probably not true. The feeling though… yeah.

Feelings are powerful. Much as we laud the reason (more than we really should, honestly), feelings are often more powerful in our lives. I know that there are people who love me, but I rarely feel that love. I know that I have good qualities that would make me a very desirable man, but I generally don’t feel desirable. The difference between knowing something and feeling something is pretty hard to overstate (not that it can’t be overstated… seriously, you can overstate anything).

David Hume once wrote that “Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” I teach an ethics class and my students have to interact with this quote, so its safe to say that over the years I’ve seen just about every interpretation (good and bad) that you can draw out of this statement. Honestly, I generally disagree with a lot of Hume’s reasoning. God is real, man is not inherently good, and his passions do not lead him to inherently good ends. However, this quote… it has legs. Even if we don’t like it, the fact is that we are generally driven by our passions. Our feelings run away with us… our reason rarely does.

We use reason to justify our desires, good and bad. We use reason to be effective in our desires, but we aren’t driven by our reason. It’s the same way with our feelings. We feel things, we have gut impressions, and we use our knowledge to help us understand them. However, no matter how much we ‘know’, those feelings are powerful and lasting. They aren’t easily changed, and even when they do change, we keep trending back towards the original feeling, and we have to maintain the change that we’ve made in our lives.

I think… well, I hope that I’m in the process of changing the feelings that I’ve listed above. I’ve been trying to change them for a long time. Trying and failing. I have no doubt that God can change them, but God generally takes his time to work in us. Free will and all that balagan. It takes time to change, and the more deep-seated the thing that has to change, the longer it takes and the more it hurts. I have a feeling this is going to be a long, frustrating summer. Still, I think it will be a good summer in the long-run. The dawn only follows the darkness, right? Well… that’s what I’m holding onto right at this moment, anyway. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a happier day.