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Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Post About Waiting

You can get so confused 
that you'll start in to race 
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace 
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
 The Waiting Place... 

...for people just waiting. 
Waiting for a train to go 
or a bus to come, or a plane to go 
or the mail to come, or the rain to go 
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow 
or waiting around for a Yes or a No 
or waiting for their hair to grow. 
Everyone is just waiting. 

Waiting for the fish to bite 
or waiting for wind to fly a kite 
or waiting around for Friday night 
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake 
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break 
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants 
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. 
Everyone is just waiting. 

~From Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

It is impossible to be in the conservative Christian community without having read at least one “purity book.” In my case, I’ve read several. More than several. Well, let’s be honest. I’ve read parts of more than several.

I’ve only read parts, because after one or two, it’s all the same information. Some people just tell it differently. But, the info’s the same.

But, I’m not here to post on the info you find within the pages of every book on purity. I’m here to post about what you don’t find within those pages.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a twenty-year-old young woman who has never been in a relationship of a romantic nature. Which means I have never been on a date (unless you count the daddy-daughter kind), have never been kissed, and have never told someone I loved them before (in a romantic sort of way).

At this stage of my life, I’m in a waiting period. Waiting for a lot of things, but mostly waiting for the right young man to come and lay claim to my heart. Until that day comes, my heart is on reserve, being kept for “the One.”

So, what’s the problem? I mean, I’m following all the advice the books on purity give. I’m doing it all the right way, the way God wants me to. So, where does the trouble lie? Why am I writing this post?

Because there are so many things the writers of these books leave out. So many things they forgot to mention. And, I want anyone who is in this same place to know they are not alone.

So, things the books forget to mention:

They forget to mention what it feels like to wake up alone day after day. How it feels to fall asleep without another person beside you.

They forget to mention how much it hurts to see everyone around you pairing up and getting engaged or married. How in turn the hurt makes you feel like a horrible person because you want to be happy for the people in your life who have found what you so badly want.

They forget to mention how it feels to want something so badly, to long for it with every part of your being but at the same time be overwhelmed with the reality that you may never see the desire fulfilled.

They don’t mention the sleepless nights filled with tears, the empty afternoons when you don’t feel much of anything, the longing that stirs every time you read or watch any sort of romantic storyline (which is pretty often in our society).

They never offer advice on what to do when your friends are teasing you about someone and all you want to do is scream because you’re tired of people reminding you that, yes, you are still single. They never tell you how to tell your friends to stop because what you think of the person isn’t relevant. It’s what they think of you, and it’s obviously nothing, so it doesn’t matter if you like that person.

They never tell you how to deal with it when people tell you that you’re still single because “God knows the exact right time for it to happen and don’t you want to be the best person you can be when you meet them?” Which always sounds like “You’re not good enough yet and God knows it, so have fun waiting some more.” How do you deal with the insecurity, the desire to be “good enough”?

I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want it to hurt, I don’t want to cry or feel empty, and I certainly don’t want to feel like I’m not good enough. I struggle with insecurities enough as it is.

Yet, so often I feel like Rapunzel at the beginning of Tangled, going through the motions of my daily routine, all the while wondering When will my life begin?

But, here’s the thing: my life began on July 15th, twenty years ago, in a hospital in Syracuse, NY. For all you pro-lifers, I’ll even go so far as to say it began nine months before that, with two people so in love I grew out of the result of that love.

My life begins each morning when I wake up and decide I have to get out of bed, no matter how I’m feeling. It begins every moment, every breath I take. Every second is a choice to live.

Tomorrow is not promised to me. My next breath isn’t even promised. So, why am I wasting so much time waiting? Why am I putting a stamp on these years God has given me, one that says my life is in limbo instead of the paradise I can make it?

Contentment is hard. It is something I know I will not achieve every day. There will always be days when it hurts, when I want to cry or scream or even both. There will still be nights when I fall asleep alone, wishing I was falling asleep in someone’s arms.

But, I can still make an effort to strive toward contentment. I can march toward it, making that my goal, rather than a dream God may or may not fulfill.

Am I doing things with my time just to busy myself and make this period of my life go by faster? Or, am I doing things for the sake of doing them? Am I enjoying the opportunities God has given me? Or, am I rushing through them, missing the life I have now in hopes of a life to come?

I am not getting any younger. I don’t want to look back someday and regret not enjoying these years. Especially if I never end up married. How foolish will I feel then?

God has given me so many good things- the freedom to focus on writing and publishing; the opportunity to babysit some of the greatest kids ever; the chance to lead a book club of wonderful young girls; the opportunity to pass on my love of writing through my blog, and my students, and the young women in my life who have sought me out for advice and feedback; a sewing room full of projects just waiting for me to start or finish them; an entire library full of books, somewhere near 200, at least, and people I can share those books with; the freedom to stay up late talking to my best friend if I need or want to.

I’m not saying I won’t have these things or better things should I be in a relationship someday. I’m not saying I would have to give all of this up or make a trade, all of this for “true love.” I don’t know what my life will look like should God grant me that desire.

But, right now, my life is pretty amazing. And, I don’t want to let all of this pass me by simply because all of these things are not the one thing I really want. Because, honestly, I want all of these things too. And, I want to enjoy them while I have them, rather than rush through them to something new.

I want to make contentment my goal, my focus, the thing I am working toward. I want to strive to be the best writer/ teacher/ babysitter/ seamstress/ librarian/ blogger/ daughter/ best friend/ sister/ young woman I can possibly be. I want to live my life to the fullest, not mourning the things I do not have, but rejoicing in the things that I do. And then, should God see fit to send a young man my way, he will be a pleasant surprise instead of a necessity.

To end, another quote from Dr. Seuss:

That's not for you! 

Somehow you'll escape 
all that waiting and staying. 
You'll find the bright places 
where Boom Bands are playing. 

With banner flip-flapping, 
once more you'll ride high! 
Ready for anything under the sky. 
Ready because you're that kind of a guy! 

How about you? Are you in a place of waiting or discontentment? What’s the hardest part of this period for you?



    <3 <3 <3 *all the hugs* :]

  2. Thank you. <:-) It's really nice for someone to just share about how it feels. Even when we do have so much, our feelings drag us places our minds say they shouldn't. I feel SO much happier with my life right now than I used to and I think it's because I am so busy doing so many fun things. But I can still relate. Thanks, Jenni an' I've been praying for you. ;-)

  3. And that poem is fantastic. ;-)