I’m sitting in the evening light of a spring day in the soft grass of our backyard. Wireless internet is great, isn’t it? My sock feet are cozy in the sunshine and my gray sweater is wrapped warmly around me. I hear birds chattering back and forth… and that lovely kind that sound like a lightly gurgling brook. I also hear an airplane somewhere way off in the distance, but that is it; everything else is quiet. I love the peacefulness of the country. What a pleasant place to call home and to have grown up!
Tomorrow will mark a year since I moved back to Nebraska and once again, this time will be marked memorably. I ended my dating relationship yesterday (I hate the term “breakup,” it sounds so… broken). This gentleman and I had been dating five months and we’d known each other for six. In many ways I loved him, he was my good friend, and I enjoyed talking with him, spending time with him on the weekends, and occasionally sending letters back and forth with him (we live 85ish miles apart). For weeks though, I’ve wrestled with knowing if I was still truly interested in marrying him one day. If I wasn’t, then there was no point in dating and it would be both selfish and dishonest to let it continue. I’ve had this sense… I call it intuition, but I’m not sure what it is… that the relationship wouldn’t last, but I didn’t want that feeling to be right. I could see a future with this man and I liked it. I like the idea of being a wife, and someday a mommy. I like the idea of having a friend to live life with, to know he is always there when I need him, to love him and encourage him whenever he needs it. This is my dream: to love and be loved with one insanely special man at my side.
Eventually my intuition and mind won out. My heart would just have to follow. This wasn’t the man I should marry. He’s sweet, and I like him very much, but I didn’t want to marry him. The next hard step then was to tell him. I had to wait nearly a week for a chance to be alone with him when we had ample time for tears, questions, and any other unexpected discussion or emotion that might come out. I spoke to him yesterday afternoon, and kept my emotions in check adequately well while I was with him, but last week my eyes constantly filled with tears, and yesterday afternoon after our meeting and into the evening, it was difficult to stop crying. I felt like a little puddle. Finally about the time I dropped off to sleep it was as if God said “Okay, you’ve had your heart’s cry and now you’re done. I’m with you and you’ll be alright.” I quit as quickly as it can take to burst into tears and haven’t shed a tear since. Maybe this is making little sense to you, because maybe you cry a lot. Understand then, that I hardly ever cry, and I practically never cry in front of others.
This has torn my heart up, I hate to cause others pain! To see his big brown eyes, and recognize the surprise, disappointment, and sorrow behind them, made me ache. I’m sure I will always remember the picture of him I saw as he realized I was saying goodbye. The speed at which the ending happened jarred me. How could it be that one sentence, “I’ve realized, and decided, I… don’t… want… to marry you…” could throw a gigantic barrier between two people who moments before had been so close? I no longer felt like I belonged beside him. Oh, how I hate that feeling! And to know I had chosen it…
My prayer for him is that he will go on living a bigger, fuller life than he has before. I hope he will learn to love, dream, and think deeper; and that this deepness will excite him for life… his and others.’ I want him to realize the inspiring and life-giving beauty of relationships and the wonder of God’s creation. When I was with him, and we’d see a sunset, or hear birds sing, watch leaves flutter over the sidewalk at our feet, get splattered by raindrops, or smell perfumed spring air I so often experienced this beauty all alone. Granted, I think some feel and see this kind of beauty all more keenly than others, but I believe it’s something we can all experience and enjoy and that a person should at least want to experience its richness. To me this is all so much a part of what it means to have a life, but in it I was separate from him. He didn’t see it, and he couldn’t understand me when I was in this “other world.” I don’t hope for a terribly dreamy man… I want him to be based in reality, but I hope for one who will know where I am when I am dreaming. It wasn’t only this aspect of him that made me decide I hoped for a different man to marry, but this was one large part of my consideration.
When I go through painful times with young men who I have considered for marriage, I long all the more for the one to come into my life who I will marry. I miss him. I wait for him. I long for him. Between sobs and water filling my eyes so full I couldn’t read, I got through this poem last night with more of my heart in each word than I’ve ever had before.
“Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
whate’er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness if soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
I prayed for long ago.”
― Ruth Bell Graham
A singleness of goal. Yes, this is what I want. A man passionate for Jesus, hopeful of bringing others to him, and deeply thankful for the life he gave. I will wait for a warrior-poet man, and maybe this waiting means I will live a single life for most of my life, and maybe I’ll never marry, but I’m okay with that. I want to be married, but a Godly husband is my Isaac. Jesus knows I hope and pray for one, but I am willing to sacrifice that love for other plans he has for me. I trust him with my future. He knows what’s best for me, and I know he has good plans in store for me because he told me so. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
How wonderful is the One who loves me already, who has always loved me and always will? He knows me completely and still loves me fully. He loves me enough to teach me, guide me, and bring me closer to him. His very breath is the gift of life, he paints the skies with his fingertips more easily than a child with finger-paint on an easel board, and he chose me to call his own. Nothing is more beautiful than that.