The other day I was talking to a friend who is longing for a romantic relationship. She’s also a very faithful Christian. She’s been praying about this for years, and, after a divorce that was extremely difficult, she has yet to find the man of her dreams. I told her that I had decided a long time ago to live my life the way I wanted to because it may not be in the cards for me to have a committed partnership. “But,” she said, “God promises to give us the desires of our heart.” “I know,” I replied, “but it doesn’t always look like what we think it will.”
I learned a long time ago that God provides us the things we need. That’s how I translate the desires of my heart. Just because my head thinks I need a certain job, a certain amount of money, a certain type of lifestyle doesn’t mean that’s what I need. My heart is a much more complicated piece of equipment than one would first think. When I think of my heart, I think of my soul. My soul seeks growth and fulfillment. It is here upon this earth to learn some life lessons and to serve others. Unfortunately, in getting everything I want, I don’t grow. That’s just way too easy of a way to live, and my soul doesn’t seek easy. It seeks depth and richness and meaningful living so that my life path can be fulfilled.
I get angry sometimes with God for putting desires in my heart that will probably never be fulfilled. Why don’t you just take away the desire if I can’t have it? is my cry. It just seems so cruel on the surface. What I’m usually hungering for is a particular delivery method for what I want. It’s not the ultimate gift. For instance, my friend says she just wants someone to unconditionally love her. What if the person that is supposed to unconditionally love her is herself? What if the unconditional love she is supposed to get is from girlfriends who stay with her through thick and thin? How often do we look to others to provide the very thing we won’t or can’t give ourselves. It’s so much easier to ask for it from someone else. It’s really within our capacity to love ourselves unconditionally. And, God does love us unconditionally. It seems like it would mean more to come from outside of us, but, if it comes from inside of us, it changes everything. When I am the love of my life, I can let everybody else be whoever and whatever they want to be. I have no more requirements or expectations to strain our relationship.
As for me, I always longed for someone to really know me. That was all I ever wanted from my long-term relationships. I just wanted to be fully known and accepted. I felt so isolated in my relationships, and I felt that nobody really cared enough to truly get to know me. It was a paralyzing loneliness. The irony was that I didn’t even know myself. I didn’t take the time to get to know me. I didn’t spend time in solitude exploring who I was. I never took the time to find out the activities that I really loved to do. I never let myself touch the wounds inside me and learn how to comfort and heal myself. I was the one who really needed to get to know me. And, once I did, it became less of an emergency to find someone else who would. The gift in that is that the work that I had to do to get to know myself provided the community who finally did get to know me. And, not only do I have one person that really knows me, I have several. My cup overflows. I got the desires of my heart. It just didn’t come in a manly package.
I’m struggling today with injuries from running. It’s killing me because I got so much out of running in the last 10 years. It provided a social network, goals and a strategy for me to stay healthy. In the last two years, I’ve started getting injured. I don’t think I have to stop running, but I think I may have to stop the longer distance running for awhile. I think 10 years of it has started to produce some overuse issues, and I need more variety and balance. It is a huge loss, and a part of me feels like I failed. The desire of my heart was to continue running long into my senior years. But, again… that’s a delivery vehicle for the desire of my soul. What I really want is to be healthy and active and having fun. I’ve worked out my entire life. It’s a big part of who I am. It’s an important ingredient to help me deal with stress and to keep my depression at bay. A part of me is screaming at God … why are you taking this away? I have to focus on what I want from running and find another way to get it. I know that I’ve let go of some of the other activities that I’ve enjoyed because of the running. I’d like to kayak more, practice yoga and get involved in the yoga community here. Honestly, it’s more difficult to run here. The roads are not built for it. Many of the parks and trails won’t allow my dog. Exercising her is so important to me. It’s becoming more of a struggle than a joy, and I think it’s time to move on. I hate moving on. It’s emotionally intense.
Today, I also feel lonely. It’s the holidays, and I just moved to a place where I’m not embedded in the community yet. It’s not permanent. Next year will look different. Right now, I just have to focus on being here for myself. I know what that entails, but, darn, it would be so nice if there were someone else to be here for me. Acceptance is a bear. I have to sit in the tension between feeling lonely and the fear that it will never change. I know tomorrow the feeling may be gone. That’s the way feelings are. They move through like the wind and leave nothing but a memory in their wake. I know that I am blessed, and I know I am ultimately connected to a very large community that cares for me. I just have to take care of myself and reach out. And, if I don’t care enough to take care of me, why would anyone else do it? I’m the most qualified, too. I know exactly what I need.
One of the gifts of being single is I can’t default to expecting someone else to take care of me and my needs. It gets tiring, but I feel so much more empowered when I am taking care of myself. I’m a better person because I am single. Marriage has it’s own path of growth which occurs because of the tension in relationship. You don’t have to have two failed tries like I did to know that marriage is challenging. It’s not an easy path either. I could have had the desires of my heart granted that way, but I didn’t. I got the chance to be single and to figure it out on my own. I didn’t learn how to love myself within the confines of being married. I learned how to love myself when there was no one else to do it. For this hard-headed gal, it worked like a charm. Now, I’m going to call one of my friends. Night, y’all.