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Ode to 2008

The time has come to bid a fond adieu to 2008.

It was the best of times and the worst of times.

I’ve blogged about the big-bad things ad nauseum – leaving California and all my wonderful friends, adjusting to Ohio, and visiting California as much as possible.

I’m choosing to focus on other things that happened this year. I decided to do some marketing as a contractor. It was great to have my own schedule but dealing with different personalities was challenging. Basically I’m not enough of a diplomat to do it. I don’t like having to be so nice and accomodating all the time. It just isn’t in my nature. I’m not that nice. However, I did get to go to Georgia, a place I’ve never been. It also faciliated my trip to Savannah. I have been dying to get to Savannah for years, and I got to go with one of my favorite people, Debbie.

I’m working with my dad right now. He bought two businesses in August. We were working 16-hour days trying to get ahead and figure out what the heck we’re doing. We’re finally starting to get some traction. I am believing that 2009 will be a good year for us. We have some great ideas and good help. Phew.

My sanity, at two points in the year, came in the form of two friends that braved the wild frontier and visited me here in Ohio. Lisa came in May, her first trip to Ohio in her whole life. Shocker, can’t imagine never having been to the great state of Ohio. We had a whirlwind tour of all the highlights. Erika came in September. We went to Pittsburgh and to visit her grandma who lives in nearby Elyria. How great is it to have friends that you can just pick up where you left off. There is no pretense, entertaining or BS. It’s just honesty, sincerity and unconditional love.

The past 10 months in Ohio have also been a tough yet good time with family. I have gotten to babysit for my nephews a lot. They are both crazy, so much fun and test every nerve I have. Yet, when I don’t seem them at least every other day I go through withdrawls. I have also seen a different side of my parents. Rather than slipping into the role I’ve played my entire life I’m able to just be me, which is so much easier. Another sign all the therapy paid off.

There are also things that stay the same regardless of where I am – I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I still have no idea where I’m going to end up. I’m still single. These familiar friends are still with me. No idea when those will be resolved. I am learning to be more comfortable with the ambiguity.

I don’t regret my decision to move here to Ohio. I am beginning to make new friends here. I’ve nearly stopped comparing everything to California. I’m trying to move on and embrace this season of life right where God has me now – Ohio. I don’t want to miss the good because I’m wishing I was somewhere else.

I am looking forward to 2009 with anticipation and excitement. I believe its going to be a good year, perhaps not what we expect but full of new adventure and opportunities for growth. How is that? LOL. I’m downright pollyanna and optomistic. Not bad.

Jesus is ironic

Jesus and I have been having lots of conversations lately about finding quality boys in Ohio, and the difficult job that is. I think he just listens, shakes his head and laughs at me. I didn’t really hear anything definitive from him until this last Friday. I went to an event at church, all of the usual people were there.

So half way through the service I notice someone new. He was just my type – tall, dark hair, football-player build. I saw that he was there with a friend and the requisite single-girl scan revealed that he didn’t have a ring on, great. But I quickly chastised myself for noticing a boy in the midst of a praise and worship service, and I resumed my intended task of focusing on God. Of course, everytime time you try and avoid something its all you can think about. Soon my eye has wandered back to where he was sitting, maybe this is why Jesus tells us to chop off the offending parts of our body. But anyway, I notice that he’s totally into the service – he raises his hands, he closes his eyes, oooh this boy loves Jesus, sweet.

After the service I see that he knows several people I know. But I’m not going to be obvious. Yet there is something about a new boy that makes you revert to high school. I’m all aflush and intrigued. But I try to dismiss it, if I meet him, I meet him. No big deal. So I’m walking around talking to people and then his friend brings him over to introduce him to my dad, who then calls me over to meet him – yea! My inner 16 year-old was very excited.

It was a short-lived elation. He’s a Spanish teacher – who loves Mexico. That’s the worst news for me, my years in Mexico were the worst of my life. I don’t like to speak in Spanish. I know I have issues around the subject, that’s no secret to anyone who knows me.

So imagine my dismay when my dad informs him that we lived there and that’s all he wants to talk about with me. When I told him that I don’t remember much Spanish, he actually offers to help me revive my dormant language skills. I pass.

Yea, Jesus is ironic like that. A cute, single boy who only wants to speak to me in Spanish about Mexico.

Not funny Jesus, so not funny.

Single Conclusion

I’ve been posting all week about the purpose and benefits of being single. It started as a joke I don’t know if I ever actually intended to follow through on my declaration that I’d post everyday on some aspect of being single. But I did and now at the end of the week I realize I’ve been on a journey of embracing the truth and calling of my life as it is right now, not the version I created in my head.

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Single Importance

Is family too exalted in today’s society? Has having a family become next to godliness? Is this the mentality that makes singles feel isolated and unimportant in church today?

Rodney Clapp, author of Families at the Crossroads, Beyond traditional Modern Options believes so.

Most churches treat their singles ministries as little more than sanctified substitutes for singles bars. (Clapp, 89)

I can attest to that fact. I stopped attending our single’s service when we started to sponsor single’s dances in conjunction with other local churches. Why should I go to the sanctuary to awkwardly mingle and try to dance to the Backstreet Boys? Don’t we avoid bars becaues we’re tired of that scene why bring it into the church?

A right understanding and practice of singleness is crucial to the health of the Christian family – especially in a postmodern world. (Clapp, 89)

We live in a world of choices, sometimes its almost paralizing and we have no idea what to choose.  In the grocery story the other day the roommate pointed of that there are 18 different kind of mustard. So do we settle for routine and ambivalence because we have no help or training in how to choose what is best for us in a given situation or for our life?

"All kinds of things we are free from – but we have little to say about what we are free for."

Clapp says that in this era of choice the witness of Christian singles is the cornerstone of expressing true Christian freedom. Ooh, I never looked at it like that. In Christ’s death, resurrection and ushering in of the Kingdom of heaven tells us that marital status doesn’t matter. Really?

This requires a kingdom understanding of singleness and sexuality disovered in community.

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Single Dating

Any discussion about singles must include dating. I’m going to avoid the typical conversation including such things as kissing dating goodbye, the purity line and other boundaries that are important to talk about but not today.

Instead let’s talk about dating as an activity. What we go through to obtain a date, enjoy a date and endure while dating. This reveals that by in large we are an optomistic people. In our 30s I say we lose the naivete that says every date could be the one but gosh darn it we keep throwing ourselves out there. We want to believe that we will find love. So we endure a lot – the good, the bad and the ridiculous.

Let’s face it, dating is absurd. You are spending quality time with a virtual stranger. This is time you could be spending with friends, cleaning, or organizing your sock drawer. Yet again and again we do it over and over. Not always for the right motives. Not always thinking its going to last forever.

Erika and I used to give alternative names to the guys I was going out with. We knew they weren’t going to last beyond a few dates so what’s the point of learning their real names. We had boat boy (cause he had a boat), elevator boy (we met in an elevator) and GH (for reasons that shall go untold). Sometimes the things that happen on dates are too ridiculous to be believed and you have to laugh, other dating occurrences are just painful and you have to keep them to yourself. Bottom line dating is mostly about the stories you get to tell your friends afterwards.

I once went on a date with someone I knew from work. He was 45 minutes late and his first comment was, “I hope you’re not hungry cause I stopped at the drive-thru on my way over.” He stopped to eat, what the heck, he asked me out. I’d hung out with this guy before and had no idea why he turned into a creep. We ended up at Dave and Busters, he got so engrossed in the video games he had no idea I was there. I actually left him while he was playing. I got tired of trying to talk to him. We were chilly to each other at work after that. He told his friends I was the one who changed.

All dates aren’t bad. I had a fabulous one in Phoenix, AZ. I met a guy at a trade show and we flew to AZ to hang out for the day. It was the best date I’ve ever had. We rode bikes, talked for hours, visited an old western town and ate Chinese food. I felt like I was finally getting to date like in the movies. All we needed was to set our day to music and it would have been a montage.

One avenue that has proved to be quite interesting and requiring its own set of rules is online dating. I am going to publicly confess that I have done it. I have experimented with e-harmony and match.com. Now I have to say e-harmony lured me in by the free personality profile. I am a sucker for self awareness. Few like to admit that they have partaken in this activity. For some reason there is still an faint smell of loserness associated with online dating. It doesn’t matter that most everyone does. It doesn’t matter than Neil Clark Warren is trying to base it on science and compatibility. It doesn’t even really matter that some people meet their future spouses there.

Online dating is a crap shoot. You may shun gambling in Vegas but every time you go online to find a date you are rolling the dice. Online you are often seeing one dimension of the person, the image they want to project. We’re talking higher deception that the typical honeymoon of dating usually allows for. I mean it’s normal to put your best foot and face forward in the beginning of a relationship, but online we can become the person we always wanted to be. This is our philosophical self instead of our real self.

I met someone from eharmony who told me that he was 24 (I was 26 at the time), a grad student at Cal State Northridge and lived with roommates. In reality he was 19, just started college and lived with his mommy.

UGH! As we get older it is harder and harder to meet people, so online dating is tempting. I have another friend that views it as a database of men. She fills out her criteria and presto chango someone who could be her soul mate pops up for the taking. So there you go.

Dating, it’s an animal. Sometimes I wonder if we should go back to arranged marriages, then we could at least blame our parents if it doesn’t work out. Why do we torture ourselves like this?

For the off chance it’s going to be amazing. You know those times. When you meet someone and time flies. They like the same things we like, want the same things we do, are capable of a great conversation, have a good sense of humor, and on top of that there is chemistry, which means they might like you back. LOL that’s the killer. That is the miracle of dating that makes us keep trying.