It’s amazing how quickly the month of July seems to go. Does that happen for everyone or just teachers? I blinked and it’s now August. I spent about 6 weeks up north in Michigan and had a wonderful time visiting some friends and spending some quality time with my parents. I have been back in my own home for about a week and a half now. And I am pretty sure every single day I have cried. Except for yesterday, I don’t think I cried yesterday at all but then today ruined that. It’s not because I am back home by myself. I actually am glad to be home and I enjoy my solitude to an extent. But I guess when I am by myself, I don’t have to act like I am okay when I am sad. And I don’t have to hold back tears until my throat feels like it is about to cave in. I can just be me. And I can be sad. And I can cry.
Many days I would wake up late and force myself out of bed to start the day. I would tell myself it was not okay to nap when I just woke up two hours prior. Some days I would listen to myself, some days I wouldn’t. And today I am writing this blog post to keep myself from napping, so I can get to bed at a decent time to begin the new school year tomorrow. I will get back to a routine and hopefully crying will not be apart of my days anymore.
I want to be clear and explain that I am not depressed (although on Monday I did question that) and I am not miserable and I have no really good reason to cry other than I still feel sad. My mom has always taught me to let it out when I feel like crying. The feeling to cry must be there for a reason, even if we are unsure of what that reason may be. So she would tell me, “just cry if you need to.” Last week when I was talking to her on the phone, trying to hold back my tears after another date that wouldn’t lead to a second one, she told me she was going to let me get off the phone so I could go cry. When you first think about it, crying seems to be a sign of weakness. And many times, yes, I feel quite weak lately. But I believe that God didn’t create us with the ability to cry so that we could be reminded we are weak. Instead maybe He created us with tear ducts to offer us cleansing and to offer us a way of showing our emotions. I am so very thankful to be able to feel. And the comforting thing is, God’s word even tells us that He knows every time we cry. He is paying attention to us, even when it feels like no one else is.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
As I continue to re-live the past couple of weeks in my thoughts, I knew that writing about it would make me feel better and would keep me out of bed. So here I am. Again.
As you can probably guess, writing about my experiences is therapy for me and I love sharing my life with those that are interested in reading about it. Thank you to those who I have seen over the past couple of months that have told me how much you enjoy reading my blog posts and my dating adventures. Without even knowing it, you are helping me process and you are encouraging me.
This summer was my first summer in three years that I did not have to worry about doing any graduate school work. I was very excited. Although with that excitement, I felt a small fear begin to creep in. I wasn’t afraid of being bored, I actually welcomed that idea after a very busy school year. Instead, like most of my thoughts these days, I was afraid of experiencing a summer full of loneliness. And while I did have times where that happened, God gave me such a blessing with allowing me to communicate with a few different men mostly via text with an idea of a date when I returned back home. I certainly don’t need to communicate with a guy to find purpose in life nor to find happiness, but in a small way talking to genuinely nice men that seem to love Jesus, offers me some hope that I am indeed not the only single 31 year old still out there.
I decided to take a break from eharmony after my three month subscription this time around was up. I wasn’t really getting many matches anymore that initiated communication with me and so I figured it was time for a break. However, I still had a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to try Match.com for a little while. Why not just switch it up? I might as well try and see what happens. I was curious of the difference and welcomed the change of not having to go through so many questions before entering the email stage.
However the main difference between Match.com and eharmony is that anyone can email you on Match. That can be a nice feature, but then it requires you to sift through the emails based on particular preferences – mine in particular – age and faith. I would specifically look within their profile for some sort of reference to their love for Jesus or how God played a part in their lives. I found that in some profiles, but it was rare. However just recently I learned that I could type a key word in (such as Jesus) and it would bring up profiles with that particular word.
Towards the beginning of signing up for Match one particular guy caught my attention. His first email to me simply said, “Hello Fellow Introvert, how is your weekend going so far?” I had described my personality type in my profile, which is how he knew that. After reading his profile in return, I felt like I could sense his personality a bit and knew I wanted to get to know him more. We sent a few emails back and forth. One of my emails to him contained the following:
I am in agreement with you when you wrote this in your profile, “I’m very intentional about my dating habits, not a game-player. I’m looking for something long-term that has potential to lead to marriage.”
So with that said, I have something that I need to get out of the way at the beginning to see how you feel about it. It may be problematic depending on how you look at it.
I am currently in Michigan for the month of July. With that said, I have a ton of free time on my hands this month, which is why I joined Match but timing may not be the best. My profile obviously has where I currently live so therefore as I am getting matched with people now, I won’t be able to meet them in person until the end of this month when I am back home. I would expect however that they would continue to communicate with other women as nothing would be established between us until a few in person dates happened. No matter how much I communicate with men through email/texts and even phone conversations, I never know if I will “click” with them on a romantic level until the first or sometimes the second date.
I went on to explain that in the weeks to come I would love to get to know him better but I would also assume that both of us would be in communication with other people and that was okay with me. But I wanted to know how he felt about it. I am not sure I really need to tell every guy my philosophy of dating and explain that I may be texting other guys at the same time, but a part of me just felt better getting that out there in the open. Especially because one guy I talked to made it sound like I was being unfair and playing the field. Which was not my intention in the slightest.
You seem like an intentional, real person and I greatly respect that. With the whole dating thing, I am totally inline with literally everything that you wrote, wow. Ha ha, I EXPECT you and other women to be talking to a few other guys at the same time, it’s inherent in the dating process. You definitely stand out from the crowd (I’m not just saying that) but you’re right, it’s almost impossible to know until you meet a person in real life. Let’s keep talking and whatever happens happens. If it works great, if not, that’s part of the process. 😉 I would love to meet up with you if we do ever get the chance though. I’m open to Skype also.
We eventually switched to texting instead of emailing and then Skyped later that week.
Sometime, possibly during the Skype conversation, we began talking about meeting in person for the first time. I told him that I would be traveling back to SC at the end of July and I could stop in his city on my way back down. He lived about five hours northwest of where I lived, so the idea of stopping there during my travels seemed very logical and he liked the idea. Plus it would break up my long trip back south and I had some friends that I could stay with in the city where he lived.
Fellow Introvert and I spent the next couple of weeks texting and for the first week or so, I looked forward to reading his texts each time his name appeared on my phone. In one of his texts he said, “I thought about you about 3.7 times today…” I smiled at that text and felt important to him. I really appreciated that he shared with me that he spent a part of his day thinking of me, because I was certainly doing the same thing on my end. When I shared that with him he responded like this, “A few months ago, a girl coworker friend of mine made me blush and with my skin tone, that hardly every happens, but it just happened after reading your text, so congrats…lol…you’re like one of the coolest girls I’ve met in awhile and I’m pretty literal because I’ve never been much of a flatterer, more of a nerd (as you can see from my long nerdy explanation).”
But as the date on the calendar neared where we were actually going to meet, I found myself pulling away. We began texting less and less. Maybe it was because he felt my resistance or maybe he became more interested in someone else, I am not sure. But my reason for pulling away was because I all of a sudden got nervous one of us was going to let the other down. That is usually my problem when it comes to dating. Isn’t that the whole reason I began my 30 dates adventure in the first place? To force myself to go out on dates and to remove myself from my own head? Oh yes, I had to remind myself of that and actually went back and read some of my older blog posts.
While communicating with Fellow Introvert and a few other guys at the time, I constantly prayed that God would lead me in the right direction. I continually prayed He would open and close doors and to help me recognize if any pride existed when I made decisions. I wanted to continue dating in a way that honored the Lord and honored the guys that I went out with. So as I drove to my date with Fellow Introvert, I told myself to maintain my 30 dates philosophy. I wanted this date to be a time where we could just have fun being in each other’s presence and to not worry about anything else. I wanted to see this date as a blessing instead of a potential time where one of us might hurt the other.
Fellow Introvert planned the date, which was nice. His plan was for us to go on a hike and then get dinner downtown. After driving in a car for ten hours that day, at first I thought a hike would be nice because it would be more active. It sounded much better than sitting anywhere for another few hours. However, I was a bit tired from traveling all day, so I was hoping I could convince him that I could still be fun. I had to convince myself of that first.
I pulled up to the spot where he told me to meet him, got out of my car and hugged him. Our conversation was pretty easy from the start. On our hike he walked in front of me as the path was too narrow to walk side by side. As he led in front, I tried my best to keep up with him but felt a bit self conscious the entire time that I may be slowing him down. After about the first half, I could no longer carry the conversation because I was too busy talking to Jesus. I was literally asking Jesus to help me get through this hike because at this point in time I was now dripping in sweat. I felt the sweat start at the base of my throat and eventually land somewhere near my belly button. And my hair, the hair that I woke up 20 minutes earlier to curl that morning, was now soaking wet. I obviously am not an experienced hiker (and I think he was), and I didn’t bring the essentials – one – being a stinkin’ water bottle – and two – a hair tie to keep my long hair off of my neck. When we reached our destination after walking up two very steep flights of metal stairs (but we still had to walk back), I pulled my hair up and knotted it. Thankfully my self made hair knot stayed the rest of the way. My slicked back wet sweat hair probably dried and made my hair stick in that knot. So much for looking pretty on a first date. And so much for impressing a guy with my athletic abilities. Being a words of affirmation girl, I always feel so special when my date compliments me, but I was not surprised that those compliments were absent from this date. Oh well. You win some. You lose some. Right?
After we returned back to where we started it was around 9:15 and we missed the sunset. Do you want to guess whose fault that might have been? I sat down on a rock because I just needed to catch my breath. Mr. Mighty Hiker (I am changing his nickname now) to my left didn’t seem to even be breathing hard at all. I tried to tell my breathing to act normal too. After a few minutes he asked if I was ready to go, we had a few more rocks to climb back to the car. I wasn’t ready actually. I could have laid down and taken a nap for goodness sake, but when he told me the restaurant closed at 10pm, I had no choice. I smiled and said I was ready, while silently reminding my breathing to act cool and my hair to stay plastered in that knot.
He took me to an awesome restaurant that had delicious tacos. It was actually one of the best tacos I have ever had. During dinner he told me that he had brought me chocolate and to make sure I didn’t let him forget to give it to me. The reason for this was because in his profile on Match.com he explained that he loved dark chocolate and named the brands he loved. In one of my emails I mentioned that I had never tried those kinds before and he told me I was not aloud to try them until we met and he could bring me some.
I thought that was adorable that he remembered and I told him I was excited to try it because I loved almost all kinds of chocolate. “Well almost all kinds, not the ones with almonds in them,” I explained to him. It was then that he informed me that one of the chocolate bars he bought me had almonds. I was doing a great job on this date folks. A great job indeed.
We finished dinner and I accidentally said something that sounded like I assumed he would pay. I caught myself and told him that I didn’t mean to sound like that and he said it was no big deal and paid for our meal. When will I find the whole “paying for the meal” not to be awkward on first dates?
Side Note: Here is some advice to any single guy that reads this. If you plan on paying for the meal, a simple, “This dinner is on me tonight, so get whatever you would like” when you first sit down would be really really nice for the girl to hear. Again, I am not saying that I expect a guy to pay every single time for a meal. It would just be nice to know ahead of time, so that when the bill gets set down on the table, I don’t start to all of a sudden feel anxious about it.
When we got to my car, I gave him another hug and thanked him for the date. He said, “I will see you….well I guess whenever you are back in town again.” I smiled and knew what that meant. I just hoped that he had a little bit of fun with me.
Even though the date was not one of my finest, it was not because of the man that I was with. Mr. Mighty Hiker is a great guy and very nice. We seem to have similar personalities and he “got me” on many things. Either that or he was just trying to be nice to make me feel better about myself. Regardless, I was honored that he spent his evening with me and treated me to one of the best dinners I have had in awhile. He acknowledged that I had driven a few hours out of my way to meet him and he let me know that he appreciated that. Prior to our date, he blessed me with several weeks of great texting conversation at the beginning of July and has given me hope that there are still guys out there that love the Lord. So I honestly have no regrets. Okay…maybe one.. that I didn’t have a hair tie. Oh wait two… that I told him I didn’t like almonds.
The next day as I drove the rest of the way back home I began listening to some of my songs on my phone. Some songs I forget that I have and so when the song “Give me Jesus” by Fernando Ortega (you can hear it here) came on, the waterworks did as well. I listened to that song on repeat for almost the last 30 minutes of my drive. The lyrics say, “Give me Jesus…You can have all this World…but Give me Jesus. It goes on to say, “And when I am alone…Give me Jesus.”
I love it when God uses a specific song to speak to me because that was happening at this very moment. Please know that I have great family members, the best parents a girl could ask for and very caring best friends. But often times, I do feel alone.
I went to a major league baseball game a few weeks ago and it hit me again. At one point I got up to go buy a hot dog and sat down at a picnic table by myself to eat it. I looked around and saw excited little kids walking next to their parents. I saw groups of friends laughing and couples holding hands with matching baseball t-shirts. I had thousands of people around me and a wave of loneliness engulfed me. Tears started falling down my cheeks right in the middle of that stadium and so I buried my head in my hot dog hoping no one would notice.
So…when I am alone…Give me Jesus. That’s all that matters. That is truly all that matters. I have the Spirit of God living inside me and He loves me more than I can even comprehend. That doesn’t compare even a little bit to what the world has to offer. You can have all of this world. You can have fame and attention. You can have elaborate houses filled with kids. You can have the Facebook posts titled “love your spouse challenge.” But for me…well for me…Give Me Jesus.
I am not saying all of the stuff I just named above is bad and that I don’t want that. I think it is great that people are recognizing how great marriage is with their couple pictures posted seven days in a row. I may have to take a break from Facebook for a few months because of it ;), but I hope it actually restores some love in marriages that may have been lacking. And I also know it doesn’t mean their marriages are perfect. I know marriage is hard just like being single is hard. Life is hard in general. So of course it is the desire of my heart to one day be able to post a picture about loving my spouse. But I can’t keep dwelling on that. I don’t want to go on every single date hoping that the next one is my spouse and then being disappointed when the chemistry doesn’t exist.
So today – this day when I am single,
and yes, the day when I am also sad,
I want to whisper “Give me Jesus,”
and I want to mean it – with my whole heart.
And then tomorrow – tomorrow when I am probably sad again,
I want to mean it then too.
And then in the future – in the future that is unknown,
the future that may allow me to have a spouse,
I want to mean it then too.
I want to say “Give me Jesus” for the rest of my life, no matter what my circumstances are.
And I want to mean it.
So you can have all of this world.
But Give me Jesus.