Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Exclusively Confusing

Alright I am going to be honest-- this is one is for Kirsten.
Well no, this is one is inspired by Kirsten but for everyone who can relate to being single after undergrad when they thought for sure ring by spring was a guarantee for life. And for the sake of this post let's say single is defined by pre-engagement. With that, that leaves a lot of singles out there. I'll admit I'm new to the scene but that does not mean I don't know a thing or two. And since my reading audience varies from those who are sold out to Christ and waiting to even kiss at the alter to those who thrive on one-nighters, my list will reflect as much as I can, but I am only human.

For starters here are my thoughts on the lingo. 
  • We're talking: Means there is an interest of hoping things will lead into a relationship, but the parties are trying to play it cool then. At this stage there is way more texting then actually talking by the way.
  • We're going on dates: This is where the parties are testing the waters to see if the other person is worth the $10 movie ticket, but there has been no discussion of exclusiveness or relationship status. This stage is easily confused with the following label,
  • We're dating: This stage is defined by a general understanding that the pair is exclusive but there has not been talk about a relationship yet.
  • We're hanging out: This definition is multi-faceted but can be categorized by either casual hook ups, cat and mouse game, a denial stage where people think they can just have fun and not get their emotions tied into it, or it is an indication an insecure dater won't give up their "fall back person". 
  • We're just having fun: In this slippery slope there is the belief that there are no emotions attached to the relationship.  It could mean the girl is using the boy for free mini golf or the boy is using the girl for late nights. This stage normally ends in silent heartbreak where one of the parties will deny in public but will confess to a few close friends.
  • We hooked up once or twice: Depending on where you fall on the morality scale this could be meeting at a coffeehouse, making out without wandering hands, bad decisions made from shots of Tequila, or a moment of overwhelming insecurity where the facebook chat led to a midnight drive. No matter what the situation, the title means there was fun had but there is no intention of taking things further but the parties will keep each others numbers "just in case".
  • We're praying about it: For the religious type this stages either includes complete silence and some fasting about the future of your relationship or it is a time of obnoxious flirting, days full of testing conversations, and minor, minor prayer. The hopes is to reach a title of "Facebook Official".
  • We are seeing each other: Meaning each party has commited to the label "We are dating" but only does so when it is convenient during free time for both parties. This label does not account for being exclusive. 
  • We are Facebook Official: Oh, boy-- that is real serious right there. Facebook status's are the new Letterman Jackets combined with those cheap-o heart necklaces everyone bought from Kmart during their high school days.
  • I might bring him/her home to meet the parents: An attempt to show how serious the one party's feelings are for the other, but not serious enough where they have to visit Kay's anytime soon.... like ::anytime soon:::
  • It's complicated: Let's not even get into what means.. if this is what you would describe your relationship like just move on, we are too young for this amount of drama. 

Now here are some rules for the Lady readers: 
  • RULE NUMBER ONE always ask if you are exclusive. But even so know this: being exclusive does not mean you are in a relationship. However, if you are in a relationship, you really should be exclusive... let's hope that talk never needs to happen.
  • The second rule pends on both the level of seriousness and in combination that it does not override the previous rule. You don't want to be the first person to ask "Where is this going", I once had a boyfriend whose response to that question was "Out the door!"
  • In between the "We're talking" stage and the achievement of the label of "Facebook Official", for every two texts they send you, you should only send one.
  • You should not have to initiate the good morning texts, it should be expected that they approach you first, like when people use to talk face to face.
  • Keep your sappiness at a minimum until they can prove their trustworthiness. No joking with this one. We only have one heart and it is hard enough to keep it intact without men.
  • I have to admit I am somewhat of a believer of "Once a cheater, always a cheater" unless there is a christain conversion, otherwise keep this as a rule of thumb. 
  • If all your friends say he is crazy, then he IS crazy.
  • There must always, always be at least one time you "forget to call" or make plans that have to be cancelled, our lives must not scream desperate, no matter how long it has been. 
  • Unless you want to get married at and raise your children in a bar, do not try to find a date at a bar. Even with the best bar guy you most likely won't get past the less moral version of "We're hanging out"

For the Gentlemen, my thoughts on today's style of dating:
  • This is not the 10th grade where my boyfriend told me he had no money after we ordered our food and his parents had dropped us off so please know that we want to picked up at our front door. A text that says "Im out front" does not count and please at least offer to pay. Each to their own on whether the girl accepts it or not.. my thoughts are we are prettier than you and that's that-- so pay up. 
  • Try not finding us on facebook before you ask us our own last name, that's creepy.
  • Dear Christian men, please please do not wear your purity ring on ring your fingers of either hand, it confuses us single ladies and we don't have the smoothness to figure out if you're spoken for without point blank staring.
  • Let us know right off the bat how much you love/hate the conversation of marriage/babies-- kthanks. 
And that's it folks. That is today's dating in my mind. Of course my lifestyle of choice does not fit into many of these categories I can attest to wanting free mini golf and how well standing someone up works. As for now, I will let the creator of my soul continue to fill me with love and let the rest of the world figure out this exclusively confusing world of dating.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

As I swept up the pieces

What do you do when something breaks? I just knocked off a precious moment porcelain doll from my dresser. It was a blond, blue eyed girl with a diploma in her hand. She was smiling ear to ear and there was hope in her eyes. My Mother bought it for me and now its smashed to pieces.

My normal reaction to when things break is to cuss. I have to admit I probably cuss the most when I drop things. Not when I am actually mad or upset but more an automatic response to dropping something. Things as simple as a binder lead me to drop a few bombs. What a weird occurrence...

Tonight I didn't swear. I didn't even budge. That precious moment was the only trinket I had out proudly displayed and now its smashed... I felt so powerless. And as I swept up the pieces and thought I can't let the irony go on this one... the smashing of my graduation, the feeling of powerlessness....

I drove a client home tonight. He told me about working the streets and we discussed how much "easier" it seems to work the streets then to follow God and do good. Broke my heart. I know it is only the first of many times that it will break. I want to just do my job and go home. Make a difference while I can, but bring them back to the hood as I travel out to suburbia. But, I am not making a true difference that way. Jesus met the fishermen on the boats and at shore... He did make them eventually leave that occupation, but He met them where they were at, even when it seemed *unsafe*

So many things rush through my mind when I think inner-city. Urban Youth. Street Life. "Why me?", is the biggest thing. I know God is glorified through our weakness and all but wow... it's like take this example you want to tell someone about Jesus but they say they can't focus because they are hungry so you feed them. After they are fed they ask you about Jesus again and you give them a Bible to read. Turns out they can't read because they dropped out of school in fourth grade. Okay, so you wonder why they dropped out of school and they tell you about their negligent parents. Then you ask what their home life is like now and they tell you the shelter they are living at, bringing it back full circle that they can't focus now because there is only so much time left to get back to the shelter to secure their spot for the night.

...so where do you start? Do you feed them, house them, counsel them, tell them about Jesus? At what point are you making a difference. Is it all just Band-aids or true healing.

It's just so much and I don't want to drop the ball and let my dreams smash to the ground leaving me wanting to cuss out the God who brought me here. Don't get me wrong deep down I know there is hope and I know there is a way and I know God will never leave me and I know that God equips us and I know He is our refuge... but man oh man this Urban Ministry is no joke. And if I walk away, how many others did also? How can we ignore what is going on just a few zip codes away? If I am scared to just drop people off- imagine what living there is like...

As usual I refer to my hope secured, Joshua 1:6-9
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God- I need you on this one. I told you I'd follow where you led me and I don't want to back down from my word, so send me down some extra loving tonight, I would appreciate it.