Talking About It, Without Talking About It ...

One Saturday, not too long but still forever ago, I spent most of the afternoon and evening flirting shamelessly with the tall, dark & handsome Israeli man who had been hired to move furniture and boxes out of the house I am renting. He said his name was Abe, & he would take my hand or beckon with a finger for me to come closer. At one point, we were alone in my room as I showed him which furniture to take & what to leave behind. Again, that finger wiggled at me, urging me away from the safe distance I had put between us. I smiled, shook my head, & stayed right where I was.

I went to bed late that night, knowing the movers hadn't left yet; half of me wanting to hear a noise at my door, the other half dreading just that. Hey, I'm not a wicked girl, but I am human. And he made me feel more like a woman than I had in a long time.

It wasn't until I heard the truck drive away that I finally fell asleep. But even in my dreams, I tossed & turned & yelled at God. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me why it's fair that He would give me these feelings & desires & then insist that, if I'm going to be a good, obedient Christian I have to shove them aside on a regular basis & do whatever I can to completely ignore something so innately human. Am I supposed to be un-human? A stone statue? What was He thinking? Make me a rock, for heaven's sake. Anything but this.

A few years ago, I attended a talk for singles called "Holy Sex." The speaker, a long-time married man, suggested we take up hobbies as an alternative. Like knitting. He actually recommended knitting. Good grief. I could imagine him going home and his wife saying, "Not tonight, dear. I'd rather knit." And he, of course, would reply, "You know, that's a great idea! I actually feel more like knitting myself." People with their cupboards full should not hand out recipes to those who are starving.

And that's all I have to say about it at this time. . . .


Would You Know My Name?

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I was here. I suppose I stayed away because I didn't want to write about the sadness in my life & because I didn't feel I was ready to go back to singleness talk quite yet. But since the tears have been flowing at a swift pace lately, it appears that now I am.

The topic of my singleness continues to grow as a struggle in my heart. I hate being angry at God about it. And I'm really just so tired of the whole thing.

A few mornings ago I woke up with an aching heart. I'd barely come to full consciousness when the words "Why, God?" pulsated out of my dreams. But just as I started to glance heavenward, looking for an answer, something inside of me halted. I actually put up my hand and said, "No. I don't want to hear it."

Now, let me preface that by saying I don't know that God was about to say anything. My fear that He doesn't speak to me will have to wait for a later entry. But, truth be told, I don't think I shushed Him that morning. If I thought God was truly going to say something, I'd be all ears. I was hushing what I suspected would merely be one more pointless conversation ... with myself. The same arguments, the same tears, the same expression of grief. All of which would go, once again, unanswered.

They say, "Just wait." "Be patient." "God has a plan." But after two decades of hearing it and, for the most part, believing it, this hopeless romantic who always knew God had marriage and family in her future is beginning to doubt. And doubt leads to pain and pain leads anger and anger leads to a hardened heart. Which is the last thing I want. But I also don't want to hurt anymore. So I let the tears fall ... and close off my thoughts & emotions to everything else.

Fortunately, I see what I'm doing & maybe, with the knowledge that God really does love me, I can find my hope & joy again.

Even if He never says a word.


Rolling Back the Grey Rain-curtain

I re-watched the Lord of the Rings series over the weekend, and many of the lines took on special meaning in light of recent events, reminding me why I love these movies so much. . . .

From "The Return of the King":

Pippin: I didn't think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path ... One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass ... And then you see it.

Pippin: What? Gandalf? See what?

Gandalf: White shores ... and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: [smiling] Well, that isn't so bad.

Gandalf: [softly] No ... No it isn't.


Last Friday, my friend left this world for the next. All those questions I have about heaven have been answered for him. As happy as he was on earth, I can only imagine the pure joy he is experiencing now.

Not so for the poor wretches he left behind. Even though it's been almost two years since I've seen Jim, knowing it is no longer an option the next time I journey out to Colorado is beyond sad. Far worse is the grief that must be pulsing through his wife's heart. He and Brenda would have celebrated their fifth anniversary in October.

But I imagine she will always carry his amazing love for her. A few years ago, while visiting them in Littleton, the two told me how much they liked the movie "The Notebook." Jim became particularly emotional as he remembered a speech near the beginning of the movie that he especially related to: "I am no one special. Just a common man with common thoughts. I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived. I've loved another with all my heart and soul and for me, that has always been enough."

Add his love for Brenda with his love for God and passion for life, and I submit that this man was far from common.

He will be missed.


Can I Jump Ahead a Bit?

This may just be one of the most emotionally draining times of my life. As I await news on Jim's condition (see previous posts) in Colorado, I'm also receiving updates on my dear cousin, Amy, who is slowly losing her battle with a brain tumor in North Carolina. At the same time, I'm struggling with depression, starting the process of moving ... again, stressing over the book proposal I haven't finished, trying to catch up at work after falling behind because of several trips this summer, and dealing with on-going health issues and insomnia. Yeah, no wonder I can't sleep.

All the while, I realize the things that are breaking my heart have nothing to do with me. I don't know why God has chosen to, as yet, not heal Jim and Amy, but I'm starting to see how He is using the diverging whitewater rivers of Summer 2008 to do some work on me. How it will work out and what, exactly, He's doing remains to be seen.

I wish I could close my eyes and wake up when things are back to normal. All the while realizing things may never be normal again. Besides, that's the cowardly way out. I am called to serve, minister, help and encourage, not try to hide from the pain.

"God, show me how to get my mind off of me & focused on walking alongside those I love."



Today, I don’t have time to grieve my singleness, as I watch from a distance the deterioration of a dear friend’s husband. Now in a medically induced coma with multiple organ failure, Jim’s doctors no longer have much hope.

It’s not often you get to witness two soulmates meet and fall in love. But that’s exactly what happened when Brenda met Jim. We’d been friends for several years & I had watched her turn down one guy after another. She wasn’t a flirt, but with her long blonde hair, quirky sense of humor & passion for God, she did get quite a bit of attention from men. But Brenda believed God had something else in mind.

Then Jim showed up. We called him Happy Jim. Mostly because he was always smiling, but also because we had three Jims in our group at the time: Just Plain Jim, Tall Jim ... & Happy Jim. I don’t know what it was, but there was something about him that drew Brenda from the beginning. All her life, men had pursued her. Now, she saw what she wanted & she wasn’t afraid to let him know how she felt.

Of course, he fell pretty hard, too. A few dates in & they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. They adored spending time together — heading up into the mountains to see the moose or ski or just cuddle by the fire. Most of all, I remember a lot of laughing. They were head over heels and that October, I slipped into a gold bridesmaid dress & rejoiced as they said their “I dos.”

I didn’t get to see Brenda as much after the wedding. Their lives changed as did mine, but the time we did get to spend together was precious to me. Then I got laid off of my job & ended up moving to another state.

Last fall, I received the news that Jim had been diagnosed with cancer. It seemed too unbelievable & heartbreaking & just plain wrong.

And now my friends are there, 1,200 miles away, suffering, & I’m here — helpless, sobbing alone in my car & trying to pray ... anyway. I wish I could be there; I wish I could help; I wish I knew magic words to say that would convince God to heal my friend & make things right again.

But I can’t & I don’t.

So we wait. . . .


Life ... in Moments

Today's sucky moment ... & prayer request: Finding out one of my best friend's husband has been moved to ICU & put on a ventilator. Please pray for Jim & Brenda.

Today's Oh Crap! moment: The car pulling out right in front of me on the way to work.

Today's simple pleasure moment: Fizz from a fountain drink of Diet Coke tickling my nose when I took a sip.


A Word of ...

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick ...

But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."

~~Proverbs 13:12

Strangers on a Plane ... Almost

The airport waiting room overflowed with travelers by the time I arrived for my 4 p.m. flight Monday. So, I grabbed the first seat I saw, near the front & next to some guy.

“Some guy” — I quickly surmised because I was eavesdropping — was on his way to Chicago on business. There seemed to be some confusion regarding boarding, so I offered information based on the fact I’d had the same question earlier. Turns out, “some guy” has striking blue eyes and great hands. We chatted briefly about flying and how, on this airline, having to pick your own seat meant that by the time we boarded all the good seats would be taken. Your basic easy-going banter, but nice enough to lead me to look for him on the plane, just in case there was an empty seat next to him.

But I saw a decent aisle spot before I saw Blue Eyes and decided to grab it. And though we chatted briefly after landing, that was pretty much it.

That’s not the sad part of the whole thing, though. The sad part is that I no longer hope for more. Years of “meet and greets” that have led to nothing have trained me to feel differently about possibilities. Not too long ago, I would have hoped for more, even daydreamed about it. Now, it all seems like such silliness. What an unfortunate girl.

It is so hard to sense that hopeful, romantic side of me slipping away. I only pray I never give up on hope completely.



I must admit I've become quite comfortable with my 3rd, 5th, 7th-wheel status. Not saying I like it, just that I seem to have made peace with it ... to a certain extent. Since I spend so much of my time with couples and, currently, have few single friends to hang with, being the odd girl out isn't as rough as it used to be, or as it would be for someone who was part of a pair but isn't anymore.

If it sounds, however, that I've moved into the realm of complacency about the whole thing, then I'm not expressing myself well. I suppose I'm in denial about just how much I hate going to game night and being the extra player. Or having to paddle alone 'cause I don't have a canoe partner. Or strolling down to the beach amidst a gaggle of hand-holding pairs, listening to them sigh about how lovely & wonderful it all is while I try to laugh about rotic "romantic-without-the-man" experiences. But after 40 years of rotic nights, it's not funny. It just sucks.

Still, I act like it doesn't--& even convince myself it's all perfectly fine--'cause that seems to be what people want to hear. Besides, would I really want to go to game night & complain about being an extra? Isn't it far better to enjoy each experience as it is, even if a part of my heart is holding out for something more, someday? When I'm with family & friends, I can choose to live & laugh in the moment even though I know--deep, deep down--that I'll be crying in my pillow later that night.

I know this post is all up & down & over the place, but that seems to be how life is for this single, over-40 chick. Guess you could say that's just how I roll. . . .


Scalpel ...

So, if to write is to bleed and to spill your guts all over the page, I'm going to have to do a CSI on the topic that hurts the most: my still-single state at the starting-to-fall-apart age of 44.

I know that sounds entirely negative, which, of course, presents a problem. It indicates I am not satisfied. That I've failed God's command to be content, regardless of my circumstances (Philippians 4:11). As a good, Christian girl, I am expected to do exactly that.

So, how does someone who has longed for marriage and a family all her life--and now finds herself facing menopause still husband- and child-less--find contentment in her singleness?

Well, if I'm going to be honest, that's really not the question I want to ask. Because I think it's okay to be sad that I'm still single. I believe I need to grieve what I have lost to time. And I think to do otherwise would be nothing more than a feeble attempt to mask the pain.

It's time to grieve. How did Solomon put it?

"There is a time for every event under heaven-- ... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance."
~Ecclesiastes 3:1b, 4

First, we give ourselves time to be sad.

Then we dance.


This might hurt a bit ...

Some sportswriter named Red Smith (1905-1982) once said: "Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter, open up a vein and bleed it out drop by drop."

And he wrote about sports.

I'm just saying. . . .

On Writing

"You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God's adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by."

~~Letter from Mark Twain to Orion Clemens, 23 March 1878


Yes, I exist ...

Recently, while marveling over the wonderful world of writing with my pen-inspired soulmates at the Write-to-Publish Conference in Wheaton, IL, we were presented with the following question:

If an editor Googles your name and nothing shows up, do you exist?

Fortunately--or unfortunately, depending on your perspective--the first thing that pops up when you Google my name is an article I wrote five years ago (five years!) called "Virgin Pride." And though I think it's a good piece and I am, yes, proud of it, I have done other things since then. So, if you do search out my name, keep scrolling down. You'll find some interesting stuff ... including the fact that particular article has been translated into French. I just think that's cool.

Anyway, this is it: my first blog. Should be interesting to see what happens. . . .