So I stayed in the “relationship,” always giving it just one more date, one more phone call, one more text message. Reading into things I shouldn’t have read into. Seeing things that were never there. Showing up at his house for an impromptu cheering up session when he’d had a bad day and then going home in tears because he had been a total cad to me.
It was actually quite selfish on my part. You see, it wasn’t about him at all, but what he might be able to do for me. I wanted him to give me the romance I dreamed of. I wanted him to fill my mold.
Not surprisingly, he disappointed me constantly. I’d complain to friends on a nearly daily basis. Most of them stopped indulging me after a while, but one friend always listened. And she hardly said anything, just nodded and offered the occasional “hmmm.”
One day she stopped me mid-sentence and asked “have you had enough yet?”
“Excuse me?” I asked indignantly.
“Have you had enough?” she repeated, smiling a bit.
“I’m still trying, so I guess not.”
“Ok,” she said, “then keep trying. Because if you end it now you’ll always have the ‘what ifs’ in the back of your mind. So I think you just need to wait until you’ve had enough.”
I started crying then. “I don’t know how long that’s going to take. It may take forever for all I know. I can’t do this forever.”
That was the beginning of the end of it. I looked at things differently after that. I started to see the difference between reality and fantasy. Between what is and what if…
I’ve always been a bit stubborn. A go-getter. Ultra organized. Neat freak. But the same things that make me good at my job make me terrible at just about everything else. Take shoe shopping, for example. I go to the store seeing the perfect shoe inside my head, and then I’m disappointed when none of three hundred shoes on display fit my exact idea of the perfect shoe.
Relationships are much worse, because it’s so easy to see what you want to see. To make assumptions even when you tell yourself you aren’t making assumptions. At least with a shoe its pretty easy to tell when it doesn’t fit.
I like to think that in each of my wanderings I learn a thing or two about doing life a little better. But I find that those old traps are easier to fall into once you’ve already taken the plunge a few times. The best I can do is figure it out quicker. To realize I’ve had enough more quickly than the last time.
So that’s where I am right now. Nearly six years later. I’m no longer wearing denim miniskirts or living in a tiny apartment. I’ve grown up a bit. Ah, but my heart is still my heart. I’m still drawn to impossibilities. I’m still hoping a man will fit my mold, that he will keep the promises he never uttered.
Except there is one very huge difference now…I know that my expectations are not unrealistic. Yes, it is wrong to try and fit someone into the mold, but there is not actually anything wrong with the mold itself.
That mold was created from the beginning of time, when God molded Adam and breathed life into him, and then created woman out of Adam’s rib. When God sent his only son to die on a cross for the children he loved more than our human minds can even fathom. When he stood by us throughout our evil, ugly history – and stands by us still – gently coaxing mankind back into his loving arms.
God pursues us with his love. We never have to decode his texts or wonder what he sees behind dark sunglasses. He doesn’t hide parts of himself. We’ll never have to ask God about the nature of his relationship with us. He tells us…written in black in white and in our hearts. God is John Cusack standing outside our window with a boom box. He is the stranger who sends us flowers to woo us into his arms, and who buys us a drink without expecting a thing in return.
We’ll never have enough with God, but we’ll always be satisfied. We will always keep reaching for him.
And I know that the human relationship my God wants for me mirrors that love.
About a month ago, when this latest debacle started, I was praying for guidance while waiting for my daughter to get out of school. I was parked behind a truck with a dirty mirror. In that mirror someone had written “You are worth more.” I now see the full extent of its meaning. Well played, God. Well played.
It took a while, but I’ve realized that I am worth more. God has shown me that in a million different ways. And so, while I may have fallen into the same tired trap, I’m climbing out much sooner than before.
Enough is enough.
I’ll wait for the one who will love me as Jesus loves me. The one who will be patient, who will wait for me, and who will tell me straight out “I just want to be with you.” Because even if it may not last, I’m smart enough to know that if you can’t even figure out whether you want me in your life now, it’s only going to get harder and harder as we go.