somewhere in the dark
were the sirens and the thunder
and around me as i swam
the drifters who'd gone under
josh ritter - change of time
… From sixteen to 21 I managed to accumulate some fascinating, heart-breaking, and hilarious dating stories. This little part of the story is the one that is hard to know how to share. I've always wondered how musicians and authors and poets go about sharing past events that had to do with other people. I get the "writing about other people thing" (maybe in your journal or in lyrics to a song you sing in your bedroom) but it's the sharing those writings and stories that I always wondered about. Let's be honest: if Adele had been singing songs about rivers and pretty trees she wouldn't be a 6-time grammy award winner. She's talented as a musician, which includes her gut wrenching lyrics and raw honesty. That's why we all love music! We connect because we somehow match the words to our real lives. But what does the guy who hurt her think? Is that awkward? What is their story? Did she hurt him too? Was there some monumental miscommunication? Was the break up strung out over months? Or very abrupt? Did he lead her on the whole time? Did he fall for someone else? Did he go away to school and the distance ruined them? Did he hear her song on the radio one day, with his wife in the car, and think "Hey, this is probably about me."?
Regardless, I don't know exactly how I should or should not write about the people in those five years. I certainly won't say much because I respect all of them far too much to blab about their personal lives on my personal blog. What I do say will hardly scratch the surface (purposefully) and will not give you an accurate view of that window in my life. But those years and people are part of the story. They changed me, each of them. And I'm not even just talking about guys I was interested in or dated when I say that. I'm literally talking about the people. People I care about, people who made decisions that forever altered my life, people who truly loved me, people who misunderstood me, people who were hurt by me, people who have given me the best stories of my life, people who forgave me and people I forgave. People! We know how it goes.
Strictly "romantically," however, I came across it all: the fascinating adventurer, the highschool sweetheart, the brother's of my girl friends, the Bible college student, the complete player and liar, the uncommitted drifter, the terrified runner, the car-accident-date militant, the well-intentioned but came off way too strong, and the very misunderstood. This makes it sound like I was going on dates twice a week for a lustrum. Not at all. Really ;)
But over six years a lot happened, and all of it was building up to something more. From my Jason Reeves "There's too many questions and too many reasons not to try" stage, to my Taylor Swift "It's too late for you and your white horse to come around" stage, to my Coldplay "It's such a shame for us to part. Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard" stage to my Carrie Underwood Cowboy Casanova "Don't even look in his eyes, he'll tell you nothing but lies" stage.There was a Keith Urban "I guess to build yourself up so high, you had to take her and break her down" time, a Matt Costa "I don't expect you to admit that you were wrong" time, a Dave Barnes "what began with such a promise, ended with such a twist" time and a Taylor Swift "He can't see the smile I'm faking cause I'm not feeling anything at all" time. Then we had the Rudyard Kipling "You lose, and start again at your beginnings, and never breath a word about your loss" season, the Bette Midler "It's the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance, the dream afraid of waking that never takes a chance" period and the Beyonce "Remember those walls I built? Well baby they're tumbling down" era.
This "relationships" life of mine has really been quite odd, shockingly silly, very good and definitely sad. If I'm being perfectly honest, by fall 2010 I was burnt out. I was really, really done. The part of the girl that so desires safety, protection and closeness was feeling very safe locked up, behind stonewalls, protected in a little enclosed space. Of course the part of a girl that longs for companionship, strength and…well…being loved… was feeling depleted and quite unsure if all the latter was worth leaving my recreation of the former. How do people do this? I haven't even gone through much compared to so many others. How come no one warns you that you are capable of hurting so badly? How will I ever find a man who isn't lying to me, who I'm attracted to, who has similar convictions as me, is single and actually is interested in me BACK?! I think this is just going to be too hard… I'd almost rather not do it at all. Being reminded I was still "so young" never really helped. Even 20 year olds can be very scared, intimidated and bruised. On a side note, please don't mistake my story-telling right here to somehow give you the impression that I'm complaining or that I didn't have a wonderful, fruitful and delightful late teenage and early adult season. It was wonderful. Not only was work, church, travel, exploring, learning and discovering a true joy, so were my friendships and relationships, even the ones that turned sour or don't exist anymore. I cherish each and every one of them and consider all these things, even - no, especially! - the hard things, to be very very good. A difficult sort of good. The good like a painstaking, quit-tempting, tedious making of a puff pastry instead of my childhood, which was handed a dessert and ate it without thinking once about where it came from. I learned how to live in those five years. Because truthfully other songs and lyrics ran through my head too. Not just my main girl T-Swizzle ;)
"I searched for love but when the night came and it closed in I was alone. You give and take away, You give and take away. I surrender all. Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart, and all is darkened in the vale of tears. You cry yourself to sleep because the hurt is real and the pain cuts deep. My heart will choose to say, 'Blessed be Your name.' With heartache your closest friend you've had to face the music on your own, but there is a sweeter song that calls you home. I shall better know His love, His heart, who comes to soothe my sorrow and fears. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I will bring praise. Blessed be Your name. I will bring praise. I will rejoice, I will declare 'God is my Victory and He is here.' You found me where I was hiding, it was the sweetest Voice that called my name saying 'You're not alone for I am here.' I’ll never, no never, no never forsake. Be still, my soul: your Jesus can repay from His own fullness all He took away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
This brings us to October 2010, where you would have met a new apartment-renter living alone for the first time, full of work, travel and ministry ambition, ready to take a break from even "talking" to guys until 2014… (to be continued)