It’s been a looong time since posting, and I’m grateful for it.
I went through a two-month period of straight depression, in which if I saw anything relating to relationships or happy couples, my knee-jerk reaction would be to change the channel, turn off the computer, or go for a drive. All three of these things were probably the best decisions I would ever make.
During this season of… I guess we can call it “recovery”, I’ve just been focusing on living. Sometimes it took a lot of effort. It took serious effort to go to church or show up to Bible study groups and watch people be so happy, when all I wanted to do was scream. I can’t imagine ever going back to that place in my feelings, and I never want to.
There were some good lessons learned during that period, though. One of the first is that I will never be able to make a true connection with anyone unless I speak up about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a happy conversation or a disagreement that needs to be settled before it festers (which it ended up being more of the latter than the former), but even in that, my fear to have a conversation in which I knew I was offended by the other person was met with incredible grace and it ended up strengthening relationships with friends. Something I am incredibly grateful for.
If it’s one thing that I got annoyed with during that period of depression, it was the one question “What’s God doing in your life?”, to which I want to respond “None of your damn business.” I think it’s because the question is asked in a very condescending tone most of the time. Seriously, if you want to botch what could be a good spiritual conversation with me, ask me that question and see how fast I will bring it to a close. But more than that, I’ve realized that, 1) a part of me doesn’t want to answer that question because the season that I am in has not included extravagant experiences with God unlike the other person asking me that question, and since I am hard on myself for not experiencing all those crazy wonderful encounters with God, I project that frustration and they receive the biting end of it. And 2) I haven’t really had time to buckle down and read my bible or go to prayer meetings (not like I go to those things anyways) because I’ve been too busy enjoying God in my every day life. I see Him when I hang out with my friends when we’re having conversations that aren’t remotely spiritual over beers, or in my work place when I’m having to help an 80 year-old stoke victim over the phone with a technological issue and having to be extremely patient as he follows my directions. I see God in all of that. It’s impossible not to. I found it so funny that I was very reserved and reluctant to talk about God in a church setting, yet in my workplace I had no trouble bringing up my spiritual life.
Really, though, I’m just enjoying life. It’s been a relief to be able to just enjoy where I’m at and what I’m doing without feeling the need to be super spiritual. It’s nice to go to Jeet Kune Do training in the mornings to start my day off right and get rid of every negative emotion on the focus mitts I pound on. It’s nice to not post up theological stuff on Facebook often and get into debates with people. My life is a whole lot less cluttered and anxious-ridden because of it.
Seriously, though, enjoying life is the most God-glorifying thing you can do! Jesus was all about having community with people and enjoying his time with them, not going to temple to worship and making sure you knew your Scripture. While there’s nothing wrong with those things necessarily, if they’re taking the joy out of living life, then perhaps there’s a new perspective that needs to happen. Any spiritual practice or ministry that causes you to become a depressed hermit needs to be heavily scrutinized and more than likely chucked out the window.
Of course, me enjoying life also includes prayers for more hope in areas of my life that need it. So, it’s not like I’m completely abandoning anything spiritual. I do still desire to see God show up in big ways in those sensitive areas that need a lot of love.
Until then, if you know me, come have a beer with me, or let’s go on a road trip to somewhere awesome. I’m sure we’ll find something seriously spiritual in the midst of enjoying life.
@1 month ago
I know the popular saying is to never give up on the ones that you care about, but what if it’s their decision to want to be given up on?
@6 months ago
What if everything you propose to help gets shot down by them?
What if that person was your significant other?
I’m a total sap, I confess. And I am also a hopeless romantic. But I think even though that is a part of my personality, there’s only so much I can do and push for before giving it up if the other person just isn’t responsive to it.
The downside of dating a person with your same personality type is that they are just as stubborn as you are. Even with all my reasoning and wanting to work through things, they didn’t share the same enthusiasm or sentiments. I’m all for not giving up on love, but I won’t try to change a person’s mind or argue with them into giving in. That’s not the way love works.
"If you love her, let her go."
I’ve learned to hate that phrase these past couple weeks, but I can’t deny that it has held significant meaning after a conversation I had just an hour ago.
Sometimes, this is the way things have to settle. But there was a part of me that really wanted to see something work…
A friend of mine tried setting me up on a blind date recently. The keyword being tried, because it didn’t go over so well. He proceeded to tell me all the things that made her great and I countered it with things that I thought would make me repulsive.
"She’s really nice!"
"Tell her I’m weird."
"She’s into old movies!"
"Tell her I like weird movies."
"She’s really short!"
"Tell her I don’t like short girls." (Actually, that’s not really true.)
"She’s a really good photographer!"
"That’s… Actually pretty cool."
@10 months ago
I don’t know why I immediately got on the offense when he did it, but I think it has to do with the idea that with a blind date, I am not the one initiating the date itself and therefor I don’t feel like I am in control. I’ve always felt that if I wanted to go on a date with someone, I wanted to be the one to ask them, otherwise it wouldn’t seem genuine, and I would feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a man thing, I dunno. It must be, because when I told a group of girl friends about it, they all threw stuff at me, yelling, “What is wrong with you!?”
This did remind me of a past experience with another “blind date” that didn’t go so well. This dates all the way to my junior high days, and though it is not a direct cause to my response to this recent proposal, I could definitely see myself on a therapist’s couch recalling this memory to get down to the root cause of why I am still single in my 40’s.
When I was in 8th grade, I was invited to a Halloween costume party at a classmate’s house out in the city. This was a big deal for me, because it was my first party away from the parents, and my first party away from my small town atmosphere in general, among new people who were just getting to know me. Plus, the fact that there was limited parental supervision (and by that, I mean the parents were inside, the kids were outside) made it even more fun!
I was enjoying my punch and treats and chatting with friends when a group of girls approached me (I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here…). One of them spoke up, saying, “Hey Ryan, there’s a girl that we want you to meet! We think you’ll really like her!”
Intrigued and flattered, I asked, “Really?”
"Yeah! She’ll be here soon!" she said enthusiastically.
"What’s her name?" I asked, curious.
"Barb-ara." she answered.
Barbara? I thought, That’s an odd name. Sounds like an old lady.
But, I was still very intrigued. A little later into the party, the same group of girls approached me, giggling. “Are you ready to meet her?” one of them said. I smiled and followed them as they took me over to their backdoor. The rest of the crowd followed to see who this mystery girl was.
We approached the garage, and one of the girls said, “Wait here, I’ll go and get her!”
I was nervous, and excited. The tension was starting to build up in me. I had never been set up on a blind date like this before, and I was ready to meet this girl who everyone was convinced was the perfect match for me!
The girl who retreated into the garage poked her head out. “Are you ready to meet her?”
"Yeah!" I said, enthusiastically.
"Okay, close your eyes!"
I closed them tight, waiting.
"Okay, Ryan. Meet… Barb!"
I opened my eyes, and found myself staring at one of those life-size 3 foot Barbie dolls.
Everyone in the crowd laughed.
I shook my head, smiled, and walked off. Even though I wanted to cause a scene and cuss everyone out that had anything to do with the prank, I couldn’t let them know that it had an effect on me. I wanted to put my mask back on and cry so no one could see, but I just went back to enjoying the rest of the party. After a few heavy metal songs blaring through the speakers and me looking like a maniac on the dance floor, the feeling of total humiliation eventually left.
I am happy to say that the future has proved everyone wrong who thought that the only suitable partner for me would be a naked piece of 3 feet plastic. Though, I have to admit, at any toy store that I am at, I get a slight shudder and a bit of rage when I pass by the doll section.