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Posts Tagged ‘adult’

There once was a handsome young man named David.  What happened to me through knowing him probably had something to do with growing up – with turning 20 and getting my own car and being exposed more to the general world than this homeschooler was used to.  He walked into my life when I was 19 years old and I immediately went into such a daze that I didn’t even remember his name, but I remembered his smile.  We found ourselves shortly thereafter attending the same Bible study.  I was so thrilled to see him there, and that he gave my elbow a little pinch when he recognized me, that I felt sick the rest of the night…  C’est la vie.

Because I met David, I realized I wasn’t 16 anymore.  And not-16-year-old women shouldn’t be looking for the qualities of a 16-year-old boy in a man they’re thinking of dating, or marrying.  I began to remake my list, but I didn’t even know what being a grown-up meant.  What was it to be an adult?  How was it different being an adult, marriage-ready man from an adult, marriage-ready woman?

Responsibility, a sober view of the world, selflessness – these are some of the traits I came to realize were important.  Discerning them wasn’t as simple as checking off a list like: no, he doesn’t drink; yes, he has a job; yes, he says he’s a Christian.  A drink here or there doesn’t prevent realizing that we get one chance at this life and that everything we do has consequences.  (At the time, I was met with a lot of young men who didn’t take the consequences of alcohol very seriously.  But they were breaking into my mind the possibilities.)  In David’s case, irresponsible men can have jobs.  They use them to fund and further irresponsible lives.  And though true Christianity has to do with imitating Christ, who made Himself nothing, saying we belong to the Church is only a tiny part of participation in that kind of life.  People can lie.  People can be deceived.

Because I met David, I learned to be patient in developing relationships.  I wanted more, more, more of people whose company I enjoyed.  I wanted to rush, rush, rush to see where it was leading with this man.  But it had to be OK some weeks at Bible study to just see him and ask how he was, waiting for the deeper conversation here and there.  That way I was learning more about him than just my urgent questions.  When you’re friends with someone, you get all of them, not just the parts whose relevance you can foresee.

Because I met David, I had my first opportunity to really make the choice between going with my feelings and going with my principles.  I had been in a low place spiritually, but this choice began to wake me up.

Because I met David, I discovered how sick hope could make me.  I hoped the charming bright-eyed conversationalist would line up with my principles – if not right away, then later (*soon* later, but I didn’t know about assuming “soon” back then).

Because I met David, I began to face some facts about marriage, among others: that it would be two broken people working together, helping each other.  I was still inspired by the idea of matrimony, but I started to realize that I wouldn’t marry a perfect man, that I didn’t deserve one either, and that being good myself didn’t guarantee that the man I married would always have been good.

Because I met David, I realized that the call God makes on Christians is not, “go be friends with potential husbands and men with no risk to your own heart, but be sure to steer clear of anyone not interested or unworthy” – no, God says, “love your neighbor” and especially to love those in the Church.  So even though David chose not to pursue me seriously, and even though I was disappointed, and even though I was still attracted to him – I couldn’t just run away.  I had to keep being his friend, keep desiring good for him, while also surrendering my plans for him.

Because I met David, I still kind of believe that I have beautiful eyes and a great smile (particularly when inspired by a man’s attention).  I took a break for a while from being on the watch for a potential husband.  I realized that even playing it safe with relationships can hurt.  I stopped believing in fairy tales and started believing in love.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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How Old?

A friend asked me how old I was.  Age is such a strange thought to this fan of time (and time travel).  I don’t like talking about it: ashamed to be so old, timid for being so young.  Strangers sound surprised to find out how old I am – or that I’m older than the rest of my brothers and sisters.  Yet when someone asks, I can’t think of a good reason to avoid answering, so I brave their shock and say that I am twenty-four. 

Two dozen years old and my life is mostly the same as when I was sixteen.  though I am not the same.  When years don’t go as expected, measuring progress is hard.  Some friends matching my years have several children.  Many are married.  A few have stacks of degrees, houses, favorite places to travel.  There’s all this comparison. 

In my wiser moments, I see through the silliness.  My change has been in my forge, not in escaping it.  Transition has happened.  In the old days girls my age were growing up by saying good-bye to parents, brothers, sisters.  God has given me a different challenge: to say good-bye to friends, learning better than ever to build up the family in which I was raised – am still being raised.  I don’t regret my choices, believing I have walked by faith.

“Maybe by the time I’m your age, I’ll be grown up.”  So I used to think, a starry-eyed child imagining life with a locker and football games and a car of your own.  High school was not nearly as packaged and complete as I thought.  So college must be the time, those golden-days of figuring life out, knowing always the right step to take and words to say.  I skipped college, but from what I observed, just after high school is the time to nostalgically cling to a life more laid-out than any of the wild options parading now: ah! the good old days when I was on top of the world as a high school senior.  Well then, college must just be an excuse to stay young; surely after college age, by the age of 22 or so, everyone must be moving along their life-course, certain of their calling, seizing their days.  No, not true either.  I’m not blaming those I observed, being equally lost and struggling to have contentment and faith in the midst of abandoned expectations. 

I’m learning not to do life as Lisa being a twenty-four-year-old, but as Lisa, who is twenty-four.  There is no role for me to play, no definition that excludes me from being grown up when I do one thing, or initiates me into the club if I do another.  Life is not without its direction.  Maybe this was the message all along, that our plan of progression through aging is built on the wrong priorities.  I serve a rather radical and creative God, author of stories.  There is a clear purpose to Lisa as she is today.  Lisa laughs, loves, and serves.  I get to learn, and lean into challenges.  Friends mean so much to me, and I try to pour myself into them.  I believe God is able to speak and wants to speak, so I listen for Him, taking His dares though they hurt and are hard. 

Even if I had the life my “older” friends have, I don’t think I’d have everything figured out like I wish I would.  Some situations would leave me wishing I had more experience and education.  Time yields adventure to hearts open to grow, and I don’t ever want to be satisfied with who I am, this mortal creature.  So there is balance, between accepting that who I am today is reality, so I don’t have to “act my age;” and pressing on for the goal of being like my good Lord Jesus. 

“Remember your Creator in the days when you are young.”

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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