18. ready or not
I remember when I graduated from high school. I thought I was all ready to find the girl of my dreams and we’d date and everything would be amazing. I would sweep her off her feet and she’d be so impressed with my sweetness and my intelligence and my originality and her belief in me would strengthen and inspire me to greatness and we would be unstopable. I thought I was so ready for that relationship. But then something changed, probably somewhere around the mid to late 20s. The older I got and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was no where near ready for a relationship.
Why not? Well there are the physical and fiscal things – I still live at home, I have a steady job but it doesn’t pay well (although if I wanted to and if I knew I was staying in Hawaii I could probably get promoted), I don’t have a savings account and my checking account balance is laughable. But the more important reasons why I’m not ready are emotional/spiritual. In those areas I don’t have issues, I have a subscription (yuk, yuk, yuk).
See but it’s kind of a catch 22 thing – I’ve become this wreck because I got tired of waiting and looking and waiting and looking. I used to be a full blown, nut case romantic. Here’s a sample of some of the crazy shit I used to write in my journal:
She turns her head away and smiles. The smile breaks out into laughter that escalates to the point where the laugh is actually laughing her. She pauses for a second, opens her eyes, looks at me and begins laughing again – this time with her hand trying to cover her mouth. The laughter goes into overdrive and her shoulders start to convulse up and down. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen – not the laughter but her, laughing.”
Strikingly beautiful, that’s the way to describe it – her presence. Not a beauty that wafts at you from across the room like a deep blue perfume, but one that slaps you in the face reminding you that you’re alive and in dire need of some aesthetic in your crude singular life.
Fate and luck and a foolhardy courage later, you are together. Both unbelieving, both grateful for this little shelter from the world; a little island of understanding and trust. She is steady and you are shelter. She is warmth and you are cool.”
She’s close. She’s so close I can almost reach out in front of me and run my fingers through her lovely short hair. I can almost feel the way she tilts her head, pressing into my palm. My small finger bends itself around the curve of her ear and I trace the line of her chin and she…
And she’s so close.”
And I while looking through my old journals I ran across this one. I don’t remember writing it but the specificity scares me:
Where do you end and where do I begin? What spaces are ours and which are our own? Drawers and shelves are sectioned off but what of our inner places? Like the decision to buy the Subaru and the choice of chicken over stew.”
Motivational speakers talk about the need to visualize the things you want. There was a time when I had no problem doing that. It took a while for me to find those entries because I didn’t think they were that old. Those were written over five years ago. It’s been longer than I thought since I stopped writing like that. If I let myself, could I do so again? I don’t know but I dobut it.
There was a time when I thought she was just around the corner. I haven’t felt that sense of anticipation in a long, long time. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life,” (Proverbs 13:12). Word up, I hear that. I think about that conversation between Red and Andy in the movie Shawshank Redemption where they’re talking about hope. Andy (Tim Robbins) sees hope as the thing that keeps him going – Red (Morgan Freeman) calls hope “a dangerous thing.” When I wrote those journal entries I was with Andy but now I’m with Red. Hope deferred has made my heart sick.
God is immaterial, other, spirit. He is here now as I type but at the same time I have no physical acces to him. I have a theory (and if I spent the time, I’m pretty sure I could find the scripture to back this up) and it goes like this. When Jesus talks about the church being the Body of Christ, what he means is that other Christians make up the part of Christ that is accessible to us. Because what is the church? It’s not the building, it’s the people inside. That’s the church and if those people make up the Body of Christ, then I can communicate with God by talking to them (not perfectly, because we are all fallen representations). By extension, I learn about love through being loved by them.
If this theory holds up, then perhaps the reason I don’t know how to love God (or how to experience God’s love) because the only love I know is a kind of polite, surface, social love. I mean I have some amazing friends but even with them, the love between us is of a social, brotherly sort not the two-become-one, eros kind of love. And so that’s the only kind of love I understand from God.
I don’t know. I didn’t get much sleep last night and my allergies have been acting up and the Allegra I took this morning is still giving me a bit of a buzz. Maybe thats why I can write this much. Maybe I’ll look at this tomorrow and it will read like an alien abduction. I don’t know. See how hard it is for me to write about love these days?
Am I ready? Is anyone ever ready?
I don’t know.