Aging leaves and apple cider have a way of stirring the hopeful-romantic in me. It’s something about cooler air, fewer daylight hours, and weekend football games that compel me to daydream more about kissing a girl in a beanie, scarf, and sweater. Maybe we’d be on a date trying to get to know one another or maybe we’d somehow found free time at the exact same hour and chose to spend it at the exact same place – together. Either way; my imagination is thrilled and enamored with the thought of touching her lips with mine.
Believe it or not, I try not to write about love (in the romantic sense) and marriage too often. This subject often stirs a great deal of impatience within me because tied closely with each daydream is a great, deep desire to have a wife of my own – to have a girl to hold. Like many things in life; the greater the desire, the greater the patience required.
Why am I writing about it now? For starters, I caught the garter at Ethan and Christine Holub’s wedding Saturday night. And secondly, sometimes I can’t stop thinking about something until I’ve written about it. Sometimes it’s bothersome like an alarm clock that doesn’t shut off until I push the right button. But yet at the same time, it’s a dream that I don’t want to end.
In many ways, I’m upset that I haven’t yet found a girl to begin a new life with. I mean I wouldn’t have to watch movies by myself anymore. And heck, I just might be able to keep my room clean longer than a day. But in many other ways, I’m glad I haven’t yet found her. I have more time to learn about and practice being the Godly man I wish to be. It’s like getting an extension on the due date for an essay; you have that much longer to get it right (or at least to get it done).
Of course, it’s much more detailed than that. I’m learning various levels of responsibility with my job, with my finances, and, most importantly, with my walk with God. I’ve learned the hard way that trying to push through life without prayer, fellowship, and studying the Scriptures is possible, but it numbs your soul. Your heart becomes calloused to the way you treat others or even think of others. You stop caring about the homeless who usually only ask for whatever you have to give. You start to ignore your friends’ problems and leave them to fend for themselves. And when God speaks to you, you start to ignore Him little by little.
No, I didn’t spend too long on this path. Most of my friends in Eugene are quite serious about their walks with God; even if I wanted to quit, they wouldn’t let me. But I did learn well enough that for the important things in life, like a relationship with Jesus, you have to make the time for it. It isn’t going to fall from the sky.
This fall is much different from last fall, or really any fall. This year I’ve become more of a believer not of God necessarily, but rather of the truths about Him. Yes, I realize this is a somewhat awkward statement, but hear me out. Believing in God is easy. Believing that God believes in me and wants to give me the desires of my heart isn’t.
Maybe it was something that happened in my early childhood or maybe I had my heart broken by that pretty girl in high school; whatever the initial cause may have been, I’ve had difficulty in believing that God wants good things for me. Scripture says it, yes, but it’s been difficult to believe. And then there was something said this morning in a conversation after church.
My friend Katie Conlon runs cross country for U of O as well as the steeplechase. She was telling another friend of mine, Candice Coffee, a story of when she was in high school. She and her family (or maybe just her dad – I can’t quite remember clearly) had come to Eugene to watch the Olympic Trials in ’08 and Katie participated in the “All-Comers Meet” which was held on one of the rest days for the trials athletes. One of her thoughts was, “I will never again have the opportunity to run on Hayward Field.” And now, as she said, she practices there every day. Candice replied with (something like), “That’s a perfect example of how God just wants to bless us with the desires of our heart.”
We love God because He first loved us. In the same way, we believe in God because He first believed in us. Why else would He even take the time to create humans with their own free will? If He had really known how much I’d screw up, He probably wouldn’t have created me. But He does know how many times I’ve screwed up – and how many more times I’ll screw up in the future. He simply chooses to give us the benefit of the doubt. God believes that we are capable of more than we will ever dream of.
One of my greatest desires for this life is to have a wife and if God truly wants to give me the desires of my heart, then it means I’ll find her at some point – maybe sometime soon (I did catch the garter) or maybe ten years from now. When it comes about doesn’t matter; what matters is that I believe God not only wants it for me, but believes I’m capable of handling it. He believes I’m capable of marrying – even when I disagree.
With as tough as being single through this past wedding has been, I think I can finally and honestly say that I’m content. Content with who I am now? No; content with where I am now; content with knowing that God is leading me along and isn’t going to leave me alone; and content with knowing that wherever I wind up in life, if I’m following God, I’ll be exactly the kind of man He wants me to be.
What am I to do in the meantime? I’ll keep praying, reading, and gathering with brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ll keep working my job. I’ll keep paying my bills. I’ll keep living every bit of this single life God has me living. I’ll keep dreaming of that chilly fall day when her lips touch mine. And maybe, just maybe, God will surprise me with a greater reality.