I once went on 30 dates in 6 months time. You might be tired of hearing about that, but it forever changed me. And I guess it is what this blog is all about anyway. I had this crazy idea and I actually went through with it. One year ago at the end of this month, the whirlwind of the adventure was ending and I began dating a wonderful man. It took 30 dates to find my first real true boyfriend and I was in awe of how the process turned out. What an adventure!
However, did you know that I once went sky diving? That’s an adventure that this blog has not seen yet. There is something about turning 30 where a woman’s heart grows a bit restless, at least a single woman with no kids yet. We must begin to seek a bit more of adventure in our lives. My best friend turned 30 last October and knowing it was a dream of hers, I bought her a ticket to go sky diving. When she told me how excited she was, she also looked at me and said she really didn’t want to go by herself. I looked back at her and told her that I knew that, which was why I was going with her. We stared blankly back at one another while that registered. My adventure was supposed to be the “going on 30 dates thing” because I was NOT THE TYPE OF PERSON TO JUMP OUT OF A PLANE FOR GOODNESS SAKES! But as I prayed about her 30th birthday gift, I knew this would mean more to her than any clothing article off the rack.
So to make a really long and nerve wracking story short but still stinkin nerve wracking, I will tell a bit of the story. On a Sunday afternoon, we set off to a small town in South Carolina after our first appointment the day before had been cancelled from cloudy weather. I was actually hoping that cloudy weather would have stayed around a bit longer, maybe…let’s say….the entire month…and we could have just gotten a refund. From the minute I bought those tickets, a part of me was trying to figure out how to get out of going. So as we drove, my stomach was in knots and I was trying to calm myself down by constantly assessing the worst that could happen. The problem with that, is my answer was death, so that didn’t make me feel too much better.
We arrived and I reluctantly got out of the car and dragged myself into…well..umm..into…this small little shack and what seemed like a homemade airport. Seriously, the only thing that made me feel the slightest bit better (and making me keep my breakfast in my stomach) was the fact that my best friend had a co-worker that had come to the same place a few weekends before and she was still living and breathing to talk about it. The advice that she gave my best friend was to make sure that if she wanted a “wild ride” to ask for Aaron. I told her she could gladly have Aaron, I was looking for someone like Careful Charlie or something. As we began to sign the liability papers and initialed a paragraph that promised not to sue them if we died, the manager asked us if we were ready for this. My best friend gave an enthusiastic answer which I can’t even remember at this point because I just stared blankly at him and shook my head no. Some others who were waiting their turns tried to reassure me that everything was going to be okay. So after a few more people took their turn, we were told to begin putting on our harnesses. As I did, a man walked over to me and explained he was going to be the one that led my jump. At this point I was functioning on auto pilot and I am sure I smiled and said something nice until he introduced himself as Aaron. I snapped out of auto pilot and explained that I couldn’t go with him and that my best friend was way more of a thrill seeker than myself. He looked at me with a confused look and explained that the decision had already been made and I was stuck with him.
Oh. My. Goodness. Where was Charlie when you needed him?!
Aaron walked me over to a hunk of steel in the shape of a plane that immediately reminded me of some kind of Alaskan wilderness movie where thrill seekers fly their own planes and then crash and have to live off of a hatchet for the rest of their lives. Aaron was telling me some very important instructions of where to put my legs, how to position my neck and the correct way for my arms to be placed, but I couldn’t focus. I even remember telling myself as I looked at him with wide eyes, “Focus girl, you HAVE to hear what he is saying, focus…FOCUS.” I got nothing. He asked me if I understood and I just stared back at him. I knew he was waiting on an answer, but again, I had nothing. He smiled and told me that he would tell me again once we were close to jumping. He instructed me to step in the plane and as I scrunched my back and sat Indian style across from him, I knew there was no turning back now.
After what seemed like an eternity, he asked me to turn around, like that was some sort of easy feat to do, and began tightening my harness to him. My best friend was sitting on the side of the plane closest to the opening and so I knew she was going first. I had forgotten about her and the reason I was there to begin with and then she turned to me with a huge smile and off they jumped. Aaron began scooting us closer to the opening and reminded me of the instructions I didn’t seem to retain the first time. Hmmmm, so that’s what it feels like to be given instructions and then still not have any earthly clue of what to do. Maybe my students aren’t making it up when they tell me they didn’t hear me the first two times?! I had a little teacher moment and then we jumped. And by jumped, I mean he pushed me out of the plane with him tightly strapped to my back. As we jumped, I immediately felt him pull my head and neck back. Oops forgot that instruction.
The air was cold to my face and I was free falling. Literally free falling through the air. Aaron showed me how to move my hands like we were swimming through the air and I followed his lead. I wasn’t even scared anymore. I was actually experiencing the scariest part and I just felt….I guess, almost safe. I was flying through the air, heading towards the ground and I felt safe. It was a moment I knew I would never get back and so I took it all in. Soon after the free fall stage, Aaron pulled the parachute. As it came over top of us, I could hear him talk to me. “It wasn’t so bad, was it?” He was right, it wasn’t. It was fun actually! Now that the parachute was open safe and sound, this is when the skydiving instructor can make it a bit more thrilling as he pulls different things to control how much wind is let in to the parachute. Aaron told me ahead of time that my fear of him being “too wild” was not accurate and instead he just did what the person felt comfortable with. I told him he could go “medium wild.” I am glad I gave him the go ahead to step it up a notch, because it really was enjoyable. I told him thank you and that it wasn’t so bad having him as “my person” after all. He told me that he would let me in on a little secret and said that he had specifically chosen me because he knew I was nervous and he wanted to make sure that I had fun. I think we had a little moment. Then he immediately began instructing me for landing. I told him I would listen this time. He explained that the landing might be a bit rough, but that I was to just keep my legs positioned out in front of me and that he would do all the work and I would land on the ground sitting. I couldn’t help to feel a twinge of sadness as we prepared to land. The idea of buying my best friend these tickets, the apprehensiveness of if I made the right decision in doing so, the anticipation of jumping out of a plane 8,500 feet in the air was all coming to an end. Talk about a whirlwind of emotion for a day!
Then, we landed. So there I was sitting on the ground with a smile on my face and watery eyes from the wind and he put out his hand to help me up and I hugged him for keeping me alive. He laughed and said “Anytime.”
As I drove home, I related this experience to my dating life. The years that led up to dating for me was much like the anticipation of getting in that plane. But I did it. I was nervous, I didn’t know what to expect and I knew great risk was involved, but I did it anyway. And because I did it, I began to feel what it was like to slowly let a man into my heart. Okay, so I am not talking about Aaron anymore. I am referring to David, some of you may know him as Mr. Knows Just What To Say. Isn’t that what you really wanted to read about when you clicked on this post to read anyway? An update about my dating life. 🙂
That’s what I intended to write about it when I first started this post. It actually feels so good to write a blog post again, I have been saving it for when my schedule became a bit freer and finished GRAD school. I turned my last assignment in on March 1st and a huge weight is now off my shoulders. David and I see each other most weekends, however, I had to ask him for the last two weekends “off,” so I could finish this last assignment. So the last weekend we were together was Valentine’s Day and despite me getting sick and sleeping most of it away, it was a wonderful time just being in the company of my boyfriend. We are both simple people and do not mind spending our dates in the comforts of our homes. So that is what we did for Valentine’s Day, I made dinner and counted my blessings as I looked over at the flowers and other goodies he had bought for me. Sometimes still when David would grab my hand or look at me a certain ways, I would still get butterflies fluttering in my stomach. It happened that weekend. I was pretty proud of that since it had been about 17 months since our first date. I said a silent prayer that those butterflies would stay for a long time to come.
That night was a hard night to say goodbye, knowing I had to go three weeks without seeing this man. I was already coming down with something, so I wasn’t feeling that strong physically by this point and my emotions soon followed. We hugged goodbye and tears stung my eyes. I was trying not to let him see me cry and fought against it as much as I could. I am not sure why I didn’t want him to see it. I don’t know if I didn’t want him to know how badly I would miss him or if I wanted him to think I was strong and that three weeks was seriously not a big deal. I got into my car, he leaned over and kissed me and told me that he would miss me. We usually don’t talk on the phone when we are apart, as we both are not much of phone talkers, but I said to him, “Maybe we can actually talk on the phone, since we are going so long apart.” He said “deal” with a smile and I drove off. As soon as I did a few tears fell on my cheeks. And then I began thinking about our next weekend together three weeks from that day. It would be the first weekend in March. It would be the same month the previous year when my 30 dates had ended and David and I declared our exclusivity. I began thinking about our year together and smiled knowing I just had one of the best years of my life. The next time we saw each other we could celebrate that. I would be officially officially done with GRAD school at that point and nothing would be hanging over my head during my time of being with my boyfriend. I actually had been looking forward to that since we started dating. I couldn’t wait for that weekend.
I got home that night and like always looked at my phone, hoping to see a text from David. After most times together, he would usually text me at some point on my drive, telling me that he already missed me and that he had a great time with me. When I looked at my phone, I felt a bit of disappointment as there wasn’t his usual text waiting on me to read. I waited a few more minutes and then sent him my own text first.
“I’m home now and miss getting a text message from you on my way home – hoping it’s just cause you’re busy with stuff and not because you don’t miss me immediately when I leave anymore.”
At the very time I sent that text, a text from him came through that thanked me for spending Valentine’s Day with him and that he had a great time. He then responded to my text and said, “Yes I miss you, silly girl!” I texted back and told him that I was probably just sensitive with being sick and knowing it was going to be so long until I saw him again. I think he understood but I chided myself in feeling insecure, even for a minute.
The next week consisted of me getting sicker and missing him more. When we got to the weekend he told me that he missed me and that he wished we could be together. He told me again the next day and I began dreaming up our next weekend together. As I was working on GRAD school papers and trying to get better physically, I needed something to look forward to. Coincidentally that weekend was going to be his birthday weekend and so I suggested we go to Greenville to celebrate. We could walk around the pretty downtown and find a nice restaurant to celebrate his birthday at. He reminded me, even though I already knew, that he didn’t like “celebrating” his birthday very much. I didn’t care what we celebrated, his birthday, me being done with GRAD school or just us being together again after three weeks apart, as long as we were in each other’s company. He told me that it sounded fun and we spent the next week planning it out.
The next weekend I finished my paper, finally went to the doctor to cure a sinus infection and began looking forward even more to our next weekend together. David would text me every single day and then every single night to wish me goodnight. I was still hoping he was going to call me as I missed him so much. In the realization that he probably was not going to call, I also began thinking that it had been awhile since he said he missed me. Normally when we even just go a week apart, he will send a countdown or a sweet text along those lines. A few times, I initiated the “miss you texts” and then I stopped. I needed to hear it first from him. So as I went into the last week apart, I waited for him. I waited for a phone call or a “miss you” text or a “something.” Wednesday rolled around and that stupid feeling of insecurity was back again. When I got home from work and saw yet again another text message of trivial things, like what we were eating for dinner, instead of some kind of affirmation, I shared with him my insecurity.
As soon as I sent that text, I regretted it. I never ever wanted to be the “needy girlfriend.” How many times had David affirmed me since we began dating? Hundreds. I did not need an affirming text every single week….right? I could be the strong independent woman that I always have been. The woman that didn’t get affected by what guys did or did not say in their texts. But then again, David wasn’t just a guy, he was my boyfriend and after almost three weeks of going without seeing him, I was missing him with a new level and I wanted to hear it back.
After I shared that I had insecurities he asked me what they were about.
“About you. I don’t know exactly how to word it over text…”
That meant I wanted him to call me. Please call me David. But I didn’t say that, instead I continued “…and I don’t know why I’m feeling this way….maybe it’s because it’s been so long since we’ve been together, I just have in my head that after this long apart you are gonna realize it doesn’t matter if I’m in your life or not.”
Please call me, please call me. That is what I was saying in my head. I probably should have just called him or asked him to call me but I wanted him to WANT to talk to me. I wanted him to WANT to affirm me back and take away my feelings of doubt and insecurity.
About five minutes later, he responded and reminded me that he was an independent-minded person, but that he greatly enjoyed having me in his life.
I am not quite sure how he meant that, but it was not the response I wanted. I knew he was an independent person, we both were in a way. So did me missing him mean that I wasn’t independent anymore? Did he reminding me that he was independent mean that he didn’t miss me?
I had fished around for answers enough that night, that I couldn’t bring myself to ask him any of those questions. Instead I told him goodnight and that I was excited to see him in a few days.
I laid in bed that night and did the only thing I knew I could do. I went before the Lord and asked for Him to bring me comfort. David didn’t bring me comfort. I wasn’t sure the reason why, but I knew my God could. My God always can. So I fell asleep feeling Jesus hug me a little bit tighter.
However, the next day was much of the same things. Our texting communication was even shorter. I shared with my parents my apprehensions, talked with a few friends and went to sleep after some more rounds of goodnight texting from David.
Girls..women..females, whatever term you want to use, read into things way too much. Scenarios play in our heads of what could happen over and over again and many times the scenarios don’t align with actual reality. But when they are in our heads, we think they do. They begin to become our reality. So sometimes we work ourselves up over made up thoughts. We get mad or sad over absolutely nothing. That’s what I was doing to myself. It had to be. It’s been three weeks since we’ve seen each other, we just need to see each other again and everything will be fine. I just need him to grab my hand or tell me I am beautiful when he sees me, or just give me a loving look. I just need something like that again and I will be fine. These stupid scenarios playing in my head will go away and we will celebrate whatever it is he wants to say we are celebrating.
I went to sleep with as much hope as I could muster up. The next morning my mom texted me and told me that God led her to a verse while she was praying for me. It was a promise that the Lord had for me and was delivered through His Word. I received that text when I got to work and I tried to hold on to that promise, but I was sad. I texted her back a thank you and explained I was still sad. My mom reminded me that all seasons were good – even our times of brokenness and sadness. And then for some reason, I thought of my sadness while sky diving, when I knew the experience was about to be over. I was feeling the same sadness now, knowing that our relationship was about to be over.
I prayed a lot throughout the day asking the Lord to bring me comfort and peace. If what I was feeling was correct in any way, I needed Jesus to hold me up. I knew if that happened, I would be okay.
However, there was still a half of me that was holding on to hope that these feelings had no basis to be there and that I was only being “a girl” and making things up in my head. This might not be reality at all. So I stopped on the way home to get him a birthday card and a bag to put his present in. I had the hardest time picking out a card because I knew we were in shaky territory. Romantic cards just didn’t seem to fit and I wasn’t in the mood to laugh.
Then, just to make even more of these uneasy feelings appear, David texted me later than he ever has on a Friday evening. When he did, he welcomed me into the weekend and asked about my day.
Where was the text that said, “I cannot wait to see you tomorrow!” or the text that went something like this, “You only have 20 more hours until your next kiss!” I longed to read a text like that.
No way was I going to tell him that, I let my insecurity show enough on Wednesday night. So I replied and told him about my day and asked how he was. He didn’t answer. And that’s when I think I knew. I was falling for a man that wasn’t falling with me.
There was no more guessing. There was no more, “it just has to be because you are a girl reading into it.” I knew.
I asked him again how he was and he responded with the fact that we should talk. So I called him. I had waited three weeks for him to call me, but I finally gave in and called him. I didn’t want to wait anymore.
When he answered and said hello, I could hear it in his voice. I immediately thought,“Nooo, please give me back the David that I know. Please give me back the David that pursued me, that affirmed me, that wanted to be with me. Please don’t sound like that.”
And then he said, “I don’t think we should go to Greenville tomorrow.” My stomach dropped even though I knew what was coming. All I could say was, “okay.” And then he said, “I think I have to let you go.” And again, all I could say was, “okay.”
I am not quite sure what happened in the next few seconds. I think I started asking questions. I asked questions about when he started feeling this way and he gave me answers. I tried to think of as many questions as I could while I had him on the phone with me. I tried to put my emotions on hold for a second and become as logical as I could. For I knew that was what he was doing. He shared with me that after 18 months of dating, his feelings were not progressing.
How can you be mad at someone for that? He did not do anything wrong. He was not at fault at all. He felt that after a year and a half of dating, he should be in love and he wasn’t and he explained how he was so mad about that and that he wished he was. I think I asked some more questions at that time and then explained that the reason I had to ask him all these questions is because I knew that the moment I hung up the phone, I would start receiving lies that almost all humans receive after a break up. I would start thinking that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t pretty enough, that I didn’t do something right, that I did something wrong, or that one of my flaws made him not like me anymore. I knew those lies would come and so I wanted to do everything in my power to stop them. He began to speak about some of my attributes and how I would make a great wife someday. I tried hard to listen because I knew I wasn’t going to get this moment back. He began to speak about all the great times that we had and that he always loved being with me. And I believed him. I listened to him and then realized that I had reached the ground.
I told him that from the beginning that I prayed God would reveal to him when we were supposed to break up. For some reason, I knew I would never be strong enough to break up with him. So I knew God had to speak through David. I then began to cry, surprised at myself for holding it in this long, and told David that I was getting an answer to my prayer. It wasn’t an answer I wanted or hoped for. I had hoped God would never have to reveal to him to break up with me. I was hoping I could stay on the wild ride of falling under a parachute of love. But the day came where we had to prepare to land.
David said he had been feeling it for about a week and that my text on Wednesday confirmed that it was time for him to let me go. I knew I shouldn’t have sent that text to him. But then I thought, it didn’t matter. If I didn’t send that text, maybe we would have had a few more months together or maybe at least a date in Greenville. But in the end it would have happened. This day would have eventually come because as I am finding out now, it was God’s plan all along.
As long as we are living on Earth, we will never ever fully understand all of God’s plans for our lives and why things play out the way they do. He will reveal it to us pieces at a time and sometimes He won’t. So right now, as I type this, I don’t know why this was God’s plan, but my new hope is that one day I will find out.
We ended our phone conversation with David telling me that he will still pray for me when the Lord leads him and that he would like to remain in touch. I didn’t have much to say about that because I don’t know what I will want. I don’t know if we can be friends, if we can stay in touch, if I will want him to check in on me or if I don’t ever want to hear from him again. If I said anything, it would be out of emotion, so I couldn’t really agree to anything. I think he understood.
After we hung up, he sent me a text.
“Thank you again for being such a great hearted woman full of God’s wisdom, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love!! You, my dear, are such a treasure to everyone who knows you, and you will forever be beautiful in my eyes. Please pray for me, as I continue to pray for you!”
At that moment I had a choice to make. I could choose to believe that David wasn’t being truthful in what he said. If I was such a treasure, why didn’t his feelings ever progress for me? But that wasn’t fair. I have felt the same way that he was feeling in the past about certain guys in my life. Sometimes you just can’t give answers. It’s why people fall for certain people and not others. In the end, I already know the answer. God didn’t allow it to happen for him. So I chose to take his words in as truth and I texted him back.
“I will be praying for you most definitely. That couldn’t have been easy for you to decide to do. Please call if you ever need me or just need to talk.”
And so, I went in my room and began to cry. I began to really cry and after I cried, I began to pray for him like I said I was going to do. I am going to be honest and tell you, it wasn’t easy. My human nature wanted David to regret the decision he made. I wanted him to lay in bed that night and toss and turn all night as he wondered if letting me go was a good decision. I wanted him to immediately miss me and text me later telling me he made a mistake. That was my human nature and I had to recognize that. I have had to put that aside and do what God calls me to do. And I told him I would pray for him, so I began to do just that. I prayed peace over him. I prayed that God would comfort him and tell him how much he was loved. I prayed that God would reveal to David that His plans are perfect and that as long as David sought after him each and every day, he would be taken care of. When I first started praying those things, I didn’t really want that for him. My human nature was too strong. But I prayed it anyway. And I prayed it over and over again until I started believing it. I went to bed believing it.
When I woke up at 4am today, the sadness of the events from the night before came rushing back. Even though, I knew I didn’t need to, I checked my phone for a text or email from David. There wasn’t one. I knew there wouldn’t be. And I began laying there and started crying.
I literally felt like I had fallen to the ground. And then I remembered sky diving. As we were approaching the ground, Aaron gave me instructions on how to land and I did so in a graceful way. Then in a sitting position, I looked up at him with a huge smile and he put his hand out to help me up.
So I will try my best to follow God’s instructions of dealing with brokenness and heartache and I hope that I am landing gracefully. And then when the time is right, I will look up at Him with the same big smile and He will offer me His hand. The verse that the Lord laid on my mom’s heart the morning before all of this transpired was Mark 9:27.
“But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.”
So maybe I will stay on the ground for a little while. I will still have a smile on my face as I reflect on this past year of my life. But I’ll have tears in my eyes from sadness and that is okay. Because when the Lord is ready, He will offer His hand to me. He will put His hand in mine and I will stand up. What a promise to claim!
So as it is now approaching 7am and I have just finished this very long post, I have begun to question whether or not I should actually share it because the wound is still so raw and the time is still so recent. But as I prayed and asked God for guidance, I felt the nudge to share this story with all of you. You have been with me since I started my 30 dates. So many of you have encouraged me along the way and I was blessed by each and every excited comment that you shared with me. So now, I wanted to share my brokenness with you too. I know that this post may come across many ways. One way is that I want you to feel sorry for me. Or that I have my act together. And neither is true.
I don’t share my feelings for you to feel sorry for me, although, I will admit, I feel a little sorry for myself at the moment. But I share my feelings to be totally transparent and real. And honestly, there always has been something therapeutic in sharing my story through this blog. It makes me feel like I am not alone going through this journey. And so maybe God is prompting me to share this with you because I need your encouragement now.
But I certainly don’t share my hope in the Lord because I want you to think that I have my act together. Often times, it is quite the opposite. Instead, I share it because it is truth. And that truth is offered to everyone. There are times I believe it more than others. But as I stated previously, if I don’t believe it, I just keep praying it until I do. So I will keep praying that I will receive peace in the coming days. And I will keep asking the Lord to reveal to me that His plan is good. That it is always good. And I will keep praying that those who read my story will somehow grow closer to God because of it.
I also wanted to specifically address David, just in case he ever ends up reading this one day. Thank you for giving me one of the best years of my life. Thank you for one of the best first dates that I have ever had and then allowing me to still go out on dates with other guys while you and I were getting to know one another. And thank you for having patience with me when I began figuring out what relationships were all about and for allowing me to write about our first 15 dates on a blog for hundreds to read about. Thank you for always inspiring me to be the very best version of myself that I could possibly be and for still serving me on the days when I wasn’t. Thank you for reminding me how beautiful I am, even on the days when I didn’t have on make-up and I certainly didn’t feel pretty. Thank you for constantly reminding me of my worth in the Lord. I will forever be grateful for the time that the Lord blessed me with you.
If you are actually still with me in the longest post I have ever written, thank you. I normally try to cut my posts down to a readable amount, but I am going on 6100 words. So thank you for being a bit of therapy for me as I process all of this and write it out.
So what are my next steps? Take it day by day. And today, I am going to put on a shirt of David’s that I stole from him to wear to bed and I am going to re-live the good memories we have had together and cry that it has come to an end. And also today… and tomorrow… and the next day after that…. I am going to choose to believe that the best is still yet to come. And on days that I don’t believe it, I will pray it anyway.