Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You're Looking at it Wrong

His name was Robert and he had a really cool last name that sounded as if he had just stepped off a boat from Ireland. He had an unusual middle name; given the name of a family friend, his middle name was the color Gray. He had sandy, brown hair, played the guitar and, similar to me, he liked the Beatles. He also liked me. I was his first "serious" girlfriend. He had just finished high school and I was a woman of 20, living in an apartment.  Just me and my pet bird, Ben. Everything I did at the time fascinated him. 
Yes, there I was in my red, leather boots, belting out my Olivia Newton-John songs at the Black Angus Lip Sync competition. And there he was, in the audience falling more and more captivated with each pretend note. Everything that I attempted was glorious to this young man. Not so much to his Mother. 
To this young man's Mother, I was her greatest nightmare. She had plans for him, and my world of red sequins was no where in those plans.
She was determined to put an end to her son's growing attachment to this City College girl. Somewhere between curfews and groundings, I began to lose grip of the relationship. His mother made more and more demands of his time, mostly in an attempt to keep him away from me. Our relationship turned secret in nature and began to bring out in me the first signs of what I now see as my tendency toward Obsessive Compulsive behavior. (I think by today's terms I would have been a stalker...) 
One morning, we were to meet at the beach, when he never showed. In 1985, we had to use pay phones to reach one another. Standing near the pier I used my quarter and called his home. His line rang and rang. At that time, rarely anyone I knew had an answering machine. Completely frustrated, I drove to his home, I didn't care if his Mother knew. After all, we were in love, and maybe a little more love would make it right. No one was home that overcast morning and it was at that time that I realized--it was out of my hands. I drove to the workplace of my own mother and cried in her arms. At some point there was an official break up, and soon after he was given a brand new Black Truck. I never rode in that truck.
This was my last relationship before I began to live my life as a Christian. It was a hard time for me. I was so alone and no matter how I tried to "fight" for this relationship, it continued to fall apart. Everything I touched seemed to decay. I was like the hand of cancer and I didn't know why. Looking back, it is all so trivial now, and equally meaningful. 
Now, I can see myself in Robert's mother. The desire she had to keep her son safe from a woman of the world. Her yearning for him to accomplish great things and not be distracted. I understand her desire to keep her son innocent, even to the point of purchasing that virtue.
I see the silliness in the wants of the young woman, whose desire for wholeness led her to desperation in her relationships. I see how obvious it all is now. I see that not getting what I thought I wanted led me to the place of finding what I needed, so that one day I might live in the light of what I really wanted all along. 
But, here is the strange part. I still struggle with the same issue. Deep in the core of me, I still want. I want and I think I need. And when I do not get "what I want" I feel confused by it all. I have multiple lifetimes, within my life and the life stories of others, that prove to me that when I don't receive what it is I think I need, it is quite often the hand of God protecting me. He doesn't always give me what I think I should have. His love for me is greater than that. He withholds out of His kindness and out of his sovereignty.
In as much as I believe that the sun is hot, and that the air conditioning will power us through the heat of the summer, I believe that God loves me and He will power me through this "trial". And, the truly ironic thing is--it is only a "trial" because I call it one. If I choose to look at the situation differently, it is no longer a trial, but a blessing. I am in the midst of a blessing and when I get to the other side, the reward will be much greater than getting "that boy". It doesn't feel that way today, but my feelings are about as honest as a teenage love affair. I cannot trust what I feel to lead me, I have to rely on the word of God and His plan for my future. 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.