The Usual Thornbush
Once upon a few months ago (maybe nearly six by now), I met this guy. Except I didn’t actually meet him, because we live too far away from each other, but I was quite taken with him anyway. I won’t go into much more detail than that, because it will likely both bore you and make you uncomfortable, and plus the only words I can use to describe how I thought about him at the time come out in clichés like, “He understands me better than any other guy I’ve ever met.” (You can read this to yourself in a high-pitched, squeaky, mocking voice if you like. That’s how I do it.) Assertions like that are, in themselves, probably incomprehensible to some degree, maybe even meaningless, definitely cheesy.
Back when I started this blog I promised myself that I was not going to write anything about my experiences involving men-and-liking-them (which I do, in case there was ever any question about that), because I thought it might make people squirm and besides I’m not really sure how much I want people knowing my business in that area—at least not until I can get paid for it. (This kind of makes me wonder if I’m some sort of emotional prostitute—but then maybe all writers are. I might have to ask myself about that some more a little later.) Still, I’ve been learning a lot recently, with the correspondence with the guy I have dubbed “the Previous Commentator” being the main and initial catalyst, and I blog about what I’m thinking about, so I guess some of this had/has to get in here after all. (I don’t feel like first-naming him, although he seems to want me to, but if you are inordinately curious and have an absurd amount of time on your hands, you may be able to find him, and references to him, on this blog.)
In mid-October we finally had each other’s email addresses outside of the website on which we met each other, and I was dutifully and impatiently waiting for him to get through a Spate of Busy-ness in far-away-land so that we could pick up our correspondence in earnest. Only, during the last weekend of the Spate, he met somebody else. In his part of the country. In person. So when I finally got his long-awaited email, it told me that he had met someone else and was planning on pursuing her.
This is and was, of course, all very logical, given distance and the fact that we still barely knew each other and the fact that surely this woman (whom I couldn’t first-name even if I wanted to, because I don’t know it) is a wondrous person and there’s very little way for Previous Commentator to know how wondrous I am via a couple emails and even a blog.
But you don’t meet someone who understands you on such a deep level every day (at least, I don’t), and I had already realised that if this dude ended up turning me down (which I knew was a distinct possibility, given all of the above), it would be worse than all my other disappointments with men because with most of them I could eventually say to myself, “Yeah, well, they just didn’t really get it anyway.” But I couldn’t say that in this case. In the end I decided I didn’t feel rejected, exactly, but I did feel not-chosen, and it was just as bad. And I was devastated.
It would be an understatement to say that I don’t react to this type of disappointment well. Most of the time, I get mad at God first. I mean, He was the one who allowed this correspondence, for example, to go even as far as it did. I had been praying through it the whole time—as I always do—and I hadn’t expected anything, really, from the outset. So it just seemed really unfair for Him to let me meet somebody like this, and allow me to get my hopes up, only to have them dashed again. I’ve had them dashed enough times that in the last few years I have resisted allowing myself to have any hopes in this area at all, and I promised myself I wasn’t going to have any ever again unless there was really good reason. In this case, I felt I had good reasons—during this time there were some startlingly uncanny answers to specific prayer related to this. (And they weren’t semi-trivial things like, “Oh, that’s one of his favourite books, too?”—although there was also that.) What were all those answers for? It seemed like an awful lot of work at prayer-answering if nothing was going to come of it. Had God just looked over here one day and said, “Oh yeah—we haven’t wrung Jenn through the relational wringer in a while. That’s kind of fun; it’s probably time for another round”?
All my upbringing and correct doctrine and blah blah blah say that God isn’t like that, but that is sure what it felt like, and I was furious with Him for almost a weekend. I hadn’t wanted to feel like this ever again. How many more times would I have to? How come things never got any better? I told myself things like, “Well, obviously Previous Commentator was not the right person,” and “Well, maybe God allowed this to happen again so that you can find out you can deal with it differently than you have before,” and “God loves you and there’s a reason for everything, so there has to be a reason for this, too.”
None of those thoughts helped any, though. They just made me madder. It also didn’t help any that Roommate-Sarah was gone for the weekend, and Starbucks-Jerry had moved away, and I was sick with some sort of cough so I was stuck in the house by myself until I had to work that Saturday night. Although it did give me the freedom to yell at God at the top of my lungs without worrying about freaking anybody out. I couldn’t help thinking wryly about the post I had written here a few days before about how maybe God likes it better when we’re having a rough time so that we can grab Him by the lapels and scream “WHY?” into His face. “He must be having a blast right now,” I thought.
Then Sunday came, and things started to change.