Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Song of Soloman

Odd Encounter of the Week: Love Post

In deference to today's holiday, I attempted to change my blog font and background to some combination of pink and red. Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" quite like the colors pink and red. Turns out I remain too ignorant to accomplish such a technological feat. Alack and alas, all I have is black and white.

If you peruse back through my "RP" posts, you might notice that I have abstained from writing about romance/relationships/love/whatever you want to call it. This probably does not surprise those of you who have known me over the years. I have been called a lot of things when discussing this topic, the most recent being "stick in the mud." I kind of like this one. The image fascinates me. Most other labels tossed my way are too embarrassing for print.

The reason for this is partly due to my historic cynicism. I once made a 15-minute biblical argument against marriage - to a woman in whom I was romantically interested, no less!. Hey, we were all young and naive. Some smoked weed. Some wore alternative clothing. I said marriage was bad. I have since been rebuked and had a change of heart. I have also outgrown the need to say crazy things in order to get attention.

So this may be the oddest encounter for "Redeeming Prufrock" to date. In fact, it may be shocking to some. However, out of respect for Valentine's day, I present a few thoughts on my love life.

I can't imagine you are still reading. But in the event you are, here we go.

You can count the number of dates I went on in college on one hand - even if you've had an amputeed digit or two. It is a known fact that women do not like men who use flatulence in similes (see yesterday's post). Herein lies the primary reason for my sticky nicknames. The reasons for this abstainance would take books and interviews and more self-examination than I can handle to explain. Suffice it to say the reasons would take one of three adjectives:

d)combination of 2 or 3 of the above

Note: the events taking these adjective do not lie in proportion. For example, cowardice probably explains 50% of the situations while unknown reasons may only be the case for 20% of them.

This makes me quite unusual as a guy and even moreso as a young Christian guy where a lot of us seem to think that dating is a spiritual discipline less important than prayer and scripture reading but slightly more important than fasting. The college fellowship I attended was, in some circles, known as a Christian dating service.

Now this is not to say that I do not, or have not, desired a relationship. This is a mistake my friends often make. Given a choice, I would choose love over bachelorhood any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I like companionship, making out, and being normal. Purportedly, all three of these things come with love.

What I desperately desire to avoid is cheapening these things, along with all the other beauty that comes with this crazy little thing called love. Diving in too early, diving in when it does not feel right, diving in just for the sake of diving in would do just that. For the most part, nothing has felt right and that which did proved not to be so. Thus, I'm still chillin' on the pool deck.

The blunt reality of this bachelor life is that it is, gulp, a gift from God. I can't believe I just said that. I think I may have just swallowed a little bile. Excuse me a moment.

Ok, I'm back. As hard as it is to stomach, the Lord has willed that I be as I am at this moment. That's hard, and on most days, this makes me bitter and combative. Yet, the Father does not withhold good from his children, so my irritation must fall away.

Being single has provided me a lot of opportunities that the alternative would not have. The reality is that my life is a 24-hour pie chart, not a line graph where the final point may be plotted as far east as I please. Relationships take time and energy. Not being in a relationship frees time and energy, a lot of time and energy for me given the obsessive nature I have when new things enter my life (hello, fantasy basketball). For instance, were I in a relationship, you, my dear reader, and I would not be able to spend as much quality time together. But do not think on this thing, for it is far too terrible.

My singleness is a gift the Lord has given me, a gift, like money, which he expects me to return to him for the good of those around me and for his glory. I try to live expecting the future grace of a wife but knowing that, if the Lord plans othewise, there is still future grace in that it was for my earthly and eternal good. I am utterly thankful for the grace God has given me to begin to understand this truth, destroying the futility, despair, and hopelessness that can often accompany long-term bachelorhood.

So there you have, my blog friends, the odd, perhaps oddest, encounter of the week.


Esther said...

I Corinthians 7:32-35. I have been learning myself this past year to be contended, even happy with being single. That doesn't mean it's easy, but I'm seeing more and more that I can have a full life as a single person. I am excited to see what God has in store for me while I am single. Sidenote: "Boy Meets Girl" by Joshua Harris is really good. I didn't really like his first book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," but I really enjoyed this one.

Jenn Pappa said...

Hey Ben,

It is SO refreshing for me to read this post. Since I got married, I've had several friends who feel separated from me and require me to jump through hoops to understand and constantly remember that they are single and therefore deserve pity.

I find this completely absurd and unbelievably frustrating. People literally roll their eyes if I bring up in a conversation that Chris and I are struggling with this or that... because "at least I have someone." It makes me want to vomit right now... I myself am chokin on some bile.

Being single is an incredible thing... first of all, you have so much freedom and excitement and chances to do things that married people just can't. Sad but true. And while it throws some difficult times your way, marraige definitely does too, especially if you marry the wrong person.

Anyways, that was my rant. I'm glad you are single- in a completely platonic way. haha.

Jenn Pappa

Megan said...

Whenever I read your blog I think, "hmmm... why didn't we end up being best friends instead of two people who occasionally run in the same social circle." we could have talked for hours.

i remember when you claimed to be against marriage. i thought you were insane when i first met you (not to mention a wimp who couldn't out eat a woman). who is this woman that you made the 15 minute biblical argument against marriage to???? (you can email me the answer to that ben- if you don't want to post it for all to see. i won't rest until I have an answer. i have your cell phone number, don't test me on this. you know how i can be when i'm curious about something)