Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Break-Up Post

I recently got dumped. I know. You weren’t expecting that kind of honesty were you. The thing is, we all get dumped at some point or another, and there is no shame in it. Unless you do desperate things to try to win him back, like constantly show up uninvited where you know he'll be or pretend that you're pregnant like Kelly from "The Office" (which would be hard to explain when you're saving yourself for marriage). Then yes, there is shame. Lots of shame. But let me just tell you something you didn’t know: unrequited love sucks. Seriously, you’ve probably never heard that before. Ancient poets steered clear of that subject in the past and current songwriters find that it’s too sensitive a topic to discuss over the radio. So let me guide you from the land of ignorance into the land of enlightenment (which has the word "light" in it, so you know it’s good, whereas ignorance comes from the word "ignoramus." I know, I took Latin in university). It’s like this, see: here you are walking along the shores of love and happiness when one day the mean, break-up fairy steals away your hopes and dreams with words like, “It’s not you, it’s the person you’re trying so hard to be. I can't stand that person.” Or, “I’m not ready for a relationship. And when I am it sure as heck won’t be with you.” Or “I decided I don’t want to have kids... with you. I don’t want to have kids with you. Sorry, was that unclear?”

Now that I have tons and tons of relationship experience, let me tell you something else you didn't know: relationships are hard. You thought walking along the shores of love and happiness was all pure sailing (wow, what a terrible mixed metaphor, it's not even practical, who would try to sail on the shore? An idiot that's who, and we're all idiots in love). But no, there are barnacles along the way and pokey rocks and sand gets in your shoes and, if you sit down to take a rest, you get punished for your laziness and sand gets in your shorts too and we all know sand in your shorts makes you so angry and you're probably hungry because your only food source is fish and most of the fish along the shores of love are dead (something to do with they're all burnt out from bad relationships. But why are you eating the fish you might date? Are you a fish too, and a cannibal at that? Or are you interspecies dating and also eating the species you date? It doesn't matter, I'm a creative writer. That means I just get to say things, they don't have to make sense) and at any time a giant wave could come sweep you off your feet... I actually have no idea where I wanted to go with that one. Maybe the wave is death. Maybe it’s true love... Take it as you will, it all really comes down to one thing: life can be hard. And the only way to combat it is to be content with whatever comes your way. For instance, right now, I'm trying my darnedest to soak in how much freedom there is in being single. I only knew this hypothetically before, because I hadn't really been in a relationship. It took being in a relationship and then coming out of one to realize the truth. Not that being with someone can't be freeing too, if it's the right person at the right time in your life. People are constantly deploring their singleness, like to be single is the worst state of being on the planet. And it kind of makes sense. What else in life is greater than that desire to be loved by someone? And if you don't know God, then how would you know that you are already loved by Someone far greater than any man or woman on this earth could ever love you? I would rather be single for the rest of my life than stuck in a relationship I shouldn't be in, even if it's a good one. I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be with someone who didn't want me back.

I didn’t plan on ever going through a break-up. As strange as it sounds I was okay with the idea of waiting for my future husband until I was forty if I had to, and continuing to believe there was something terribly wrong with me (not my looks obviously, I mean my personality). I was okay being ignorant of the pain of a relationship gone wrong. It’s not like I was ignorant of unrequited love or loneliness (however if I could I would have saved myself from that too). People say that the bad things that happened to them are worth it because it made them who they are today. Did it? Or did you just become who you are despite your pretty lousy circumstances? They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We had to go through two world wars before doctors realized that what doesn’t kill you sometimes gives you Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That should be the new saying. One thing is for sure, bad things happen but God brings good out of every situation. God doesn’t need bad things to happen to fulfill His goodness. In fact, He’s so good that He doesn’t just bring good out of good situations, He brings good out of the worst of the worst. Just like the verse, “When you are weak, then He is strong,” doesn’t mean that your weakness makes God stronger. God is always strong, we’re just too stupid to recognize it when we're all pumped up on ourselves. As I've heard before, God is a gentleman, He stands at the door and knocks. Sometimes I wish He would ram the door in, but then for all I know I might just get offended that He wasn't gentlemanly. So He waits, and knocks, and often it's when we're at our lowest that we are willing to let Him in for tea. If he rammed the door in, He might have broken the teapot.

What else have I learned from this terrible, awful, horrible heart-break that I would never go through again even though it made me stronger? How loved I am by friends and family. The fact that anyone would cry for me just because they know what I went through, amazes me. Somehow we're always amazed that others would do things for us that we know we would do for others. What else have I learned? Forgiveness. Forgiving the person who hurt you most. And forgiving yourself for all the mistakes you made along the way. Forgiving them for not realizing sooner the things they realized in the end (because then you would have been saying, “Well why didn’t you realize that from the beginning?” which would take a lot more prophetic power than my coffee at work has). (If that didn't make sense to you, you didn't read my previous post so shame on you for reading this one). (If you did in fact read my previous post and it still doesn't make sense, then I completely understand and I'm sorry. Besides, this isn't a TV mini-series, you really don't miss much when you skip an episode). Forgiving the person for not giving you time to realize those things too. Forgiving them for making promises they had every intention of keeping. Forgiving them, and yourself, for believing things that weren't true. Forgiving them for changing. Forgiving yourself for making anyone's life harder at a Christian camp program for eight months where you were the leader and he was the student and it made everyone else feel super awkward and created unnecessary tension. Oh wait, no, that was just me. That doesn't apply to anyone else.

So what do you do when your heart is broken? You give your heart to God and know that He will heal it. You entrust it to God and know that He will never break it. And in the end anything that brings you closer to Him is worth it. It doesn’t mean it had to happen to get you there, that there was no other way for you to be closer to God (although it could mean that, I don't know); it doesn’t mean you would do it over again; it just means that the entire purpose of your life is to bring you closer to God. How you get there is called life. And life is sometimes hard. God knows - seriously, it’s called “The Incarnation” people. And that's my twenty-three cents on relationships.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Unprophetic Coffee

The Donut Shop. That is the name of the coffee we have at work. That or Arabica. “Arabica” brings to mind coffee from the exotic land of Arabia, such as Saudi. The Donut Shop brings to mind a frightening wannabe version of Tim Horton’s. When people see Arabica brewed they think, “Oh good! Coffee!” When they see The Donut Shop they think, “Oh look, coffee. Well I’m going to die some day.” The thing is, they are both terrible coffee (coffees?). And coffee tastes terrible to begin with. So it’s not like you’re expecting liquid chocolate. The problem is, whether it’s a Donut Shop day or an Arabica day doesn’t actually signify anything. You’d think if it was an Arabica day, it would be a good day, and if it was a Donut Shop day it would be a bad day. But they are just different levels of bad. And besides I have proof that it does not predict the kind of day you have.

I moved to a place in Gordon Head, right next to Mt. Doug Park. The bus stop is close and I made sure I was there early. EARLY. Do you know what that means to me? Well, in this case, only a couple of minutes, but that’s besides the point (I know for a fact that the expression is “beside the point” but I have been saying “besides the point” for so long that I just plumb refuse to change, for the sake of consistency alone) (I also like the expression “plumb.” I like expressions that I can also eat, I call them “edible expressions," like "don't have a cow" or “good gravy.” Just kidding! I'm a vegetarian). You might be surprised by this but I am not known for my earliness (see post “Tardiness”). I am not even known for my on-timeness. Well I waited and waited for the bus but it obviously wasn’t coming. I had already been late to work twice. The first time I was late was because I decided to ride my bike to the Royal Oak Exchange from my old place. Well, I’d done it before, so you’d think it wouldn’t be a problem. But this time I decided to take the highway. Which was also the long way. I’m leaving out the part where I never meant to bike all the way to the Royal Oak Exchange, or to even bike on the highway - I was trying to find where the closest bus stop was. Apparently I passed it unawares and just... kept going. If I didn’t die of heat-stroke (it was the hottest day of the summer so far) and pure exhaustion, I nearly died on the highway. I do not recommend it. Some people do it, but they are obviously depressed. Because when those semi’s go by your entire life flashes before your eyes... and you realize what a horrible movie your life would make. The storyline is just totally out of whack, you pretty much live a cycle of repeated mistakes and unassuming joys, and if you don’t get pancaked by a semi, you nearly die of boredom, flashing your life before your eyes AGAIN only this time at least it includes a close shave with a semi (exciting). So, just like I was telling you, that day I didn’t even have coffee, so it didn’t predict anything about how bad the day was.

The second time I was late was because... I can’t remember. Oh wait, now I remember. Because I was early for the bus. Yep. Once again, I was early (and once again that actually only means a couple of minutes) and the bus must have a cruel sense of humor and have come even EARLIER than a couple minutes. Probably three. That day I did have coffee and it was Arabica, which should have proved that it was a good day. It wasn’t. So coming back to my story about being early for the bus yesterday, I waited for that bus until it was almost too late. Finally I sprinted home, tried to wake up my new roommate (Krista) and pathetically plead for a ride to work. I couldn’t do it, I tried and when she didn’t wake up, I felt a great sense of relief and panic at the same time, which was interesting. I grabbed my helmet and hopped on my bike in my sandals and work clothes and pedalled as fast as my little out-of-biking-shape legs could take me. I didn’t think it was possible. I had fifteen minutes to get to the Royal Oak Exchange to catch the number 75. And somehow I made it. Granted I had to leave my bike at the exchange because there were already two bikes on the bike rack, but God must have known, because I happened to have my bike lock still on my bike from the move (I hadn’t bothered to lock it up at my new place). That’s totally God... right? Not stupidity? Well that day, despite being chaotic, turned out to be a miracle day, because I miraculously made it on time. And if I was late just one more time I would have had it recorded as an absence at work. And that day I had The Donut Shop coffee, and it was disgusting, per usual. What is the point of all this? Not much. What can you learn from it? Heck if I know. I still haven’t learnt how to be on time.

I promise the next post won't be quite so useless. Actually I can't really promise that.