It's time for Spiritual Sundays. This week, I am sharing a post about love...God's love and the love that we as humans seek from each other. The author of the eDevotion is my sweetheart, Pastor Mike. This one is called "Blind Date."
"Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers." 2 Corinthians 11:24-26
I was sipping some kind of harsh Kenyan brew at a coffee shop in Toledo. The woman across the table from me was surprisingly lovely, and our conversation was pleasant enough. Then at some point she excused herself to go to the ladies room. She took her purse.
I got down a whole cup of that blistering hot coffee and started another before she got back, apologizing like a monk in sackcloth for taking so long.
No more than a minute went by and her cell phone rang. She said, "I’m sorry, I better get this." Hey, I understood. It was her friend – her car had broken down and she was stranded at work and her boyfriend couldn’t pick her up and could she please, please come and get her and take her home?
My date apologized again and then the evening was over.
I sat there fascinated. Never in my life have I watched a grown adult perform such an intricate act of unmitigated horse manure. Never have I seen anyone work so hard just to get away from little old me!
Now, before you feel sorry for me being dumped and all, let me say in all honesty I wasn’t that interested either. Quite frankly I would rather have the story than her any day.
Still, dating can be a real kick in the chitlins. That’s why they write country songs like, "She Ripped My Heart Out and Stomped That Sucker Flat," and "Billy Broke My Heart at Walgreens and I Cried All the Way to Sears."
I could be wrong, but my theory is that God created romance partly to make a point – the more real living you do the more vulnerable you become. And the more vulnerable you are the more real living you do. If you want to be warm and safe climb into a coffin. You can get them now with silk sheets and everything. But if you want love you’re going to take your turn on the whipping post. And if you’re going to live the love of Christ, call your tailor right now and have yourself measured for a cross.
I might be veering a bit away from the spiritual here, but I thought it would be a great time to talk about how I met Mike. We have been dating 5 months as of today.
I had been alone for 10 years and 5 months as of the day I first met Mike. I jumped into the dating pool almost immediately after my marriage of 12 1/2 years split. Believe me, I felt at times like I was going through all of those things that they talked about in the above Bible verse. I estimate that I had at least one date (and some long term) with about 30 different men in that time. Some were nice sweet guys, but a pretty fair number were quite the opposite. I dated men who turned out to be liars, cheaters; one was a swindler and later went to prison for raping someone. I had been grabbed at, inappropriately kissed and groped. I remember how flat-out dirty I felt after one date who, upon my leaving, full on grabbed my breast. Yes, dating is a sometimes bumpy road. I also met men that I fell for, but apparently, they didn't return my same feelings.
Every single one of those men that I had dated since my divorce were men that I met on the internet. I had tried meeting men in other ways, but no one ever asked me out. Still, I never ever gave up, but in the last couple years had started slowing down on the dating. I figured that if I wanted a good, quality man, I had better start being a good, quality woman.
One day, I was browsing profiles on a site called OkCupid. I can't remember if he spotted me first, or if I was the first to notice his profile, but when I read Mike's profile, I liked what I read. He had a great sense of humor. Then I read that he was a pastor. What? I had an idea of what sort of men I liked, and a preacher was NOT one of those types. Still, I had a feeling that I should write to him. If nothing else, I might have a really nice friend.
We began writing. It's funny, but he lived only 6 miles from my hometown! It was easy to verify that he was exactly who he said he was. Soon we started talking on the phone, and it wasn't long at all before he asked if we could meet. I was happy to say yes, and was eager for our first date. In the past, I might not have been so excited. After a series of dates where you meet someone new and they don't meet your expectations, or you get your hopes up only to have them dashed...well, dating can be something you actually sort of dread after a while. But not in this case. I was ready to be open and vulnerable, and I was really excited about meeting Mike.
(This picture was created by an artist named Doug Hyde)
Our first date was wonderful! After a great meal at a Chinese restaurant, our conversation was flowing so well that we went to a local state park and spent more time talking.
From that point on, we have been seeing each other an average of twice per week, and sometimes even three times a week, even though my home is now about an hour away.
And this week? This wonderful, handsome, sweet man told me he loved me.
That sure makes the trials and trepidations and heartaches of the last 10 years worth it, because if not for that, maybe I wouldn't be as appreciative of a truly good man.
And I thank God for him every single day. I love you too, Mike!