Now...that may be no big deal if you're a thirty- something single person in some metropolis, who's got a streak going longer than mine. But...if you're from a traditional, nuclear family - grew up in conservative America, went to your typical small college - and you're approaching 30 with no prospects for mating...well, you're on the fringe.
Which is where I find myself. Compounded by the fact that I'm in Miami during Spring Break (for work, in case you haven't been reading around here lately).
Getting older, still not meeting anyone.
It started by something less than choice - a bad breakup at the end of college. A year later I was learning that there were more important things in life than my own personal satisfaction. Two years later I was too focused on work and youth ministry in my spare time to really care. Three years out, the move to NYC and the new job consumed my time. Four years, settled in a new youth ministry, this time urban, still working in corporate America, but really staring to truly hate it. Five years - finally found that new job, still loving church and youth group. Six years...
You learn a lot about yourself in six years. You learn a lot about other things, too.
I learned that the trite saying "you can't be happy with someone until your happy with yourself" has some truth to it. Personally, I don't think you can be content with God's plan until you're content with giving up your personal desires. Somewhere along the way I really, truly, honestly was able to realize that I finally was satisfied with His plan, whether or not it would involve someone else in my life or not.
But I still find myself here on these lonely nights, where, although everything seems perfect - a full day of work, a nice dinner by the bay, a laid back drive in an upgraded rental car, the quiet of the room by the beach - it all seems hollow, at the same time. Because, as nice as things are - it makes you want to share the experience with someone.
But there isn't anyone there.
Not a soul.
At Young Life camp this weekend we were serving as work crew with our senior high students, as we usually do. We had the task of serving the junior high campers their meals - which involves setting up, serving, bussing, and cleaning after each meal. Its a lot of work, but you have music blaring and you're with friends and although it is food service, its kind of fun. You enjoy the down time, outside in the woods and the hills, a lot more, for the fact that you're not serving food at the moment. But you enjoy the serving part too.
There was a cute girl leader from the group from Rhode Island who was helping their team serve as well (it takes a couple groups to complete the task, not just ours). We traded some banter and enjoyed cleaning in the same area of the dining hall, and what have you...but come down-time, and we were both consumed with attending to the kids in our respective groups. Sunday after the breakfast bussing and final clean up, you head to your cabins, grab your bags, and get ready to leave. We had a final group time with our high school kids in the gymnasium, which has large windows on the side.
For once, I wasn't leading the discussion ("what was your favorite fun moment and what was your biggest spiritual moment of the weekend") - instead I was sitting off to the side, staring out the window, when I saw her walk by in the distance towards her ride back to Rhode Island.
That was the last I saw her. A couple minutes later I was giving my favorite moments. Ten minutes later I was staring out the window of our bus, trying to mean my simple prayer of "Thy will be done" as earnestly as I had meant it ten minutes prior, sitting on that bench on the side of the gym - when I hadn't chased her down to say something.
I'll probably never see her again, like any of the other people you meet at your random YL Camp weekends...and as much as she struck me, the important part was trusting God to the point that, even if I failed to do something I should have done - asked for her email, or...something...
The point is, no failure on my part could ever stop His will from happening, in the end. This is a struggle I still have, especially when it comes to the deepest desires of the heart. It is a struggle to really feel in the heart what you know in the head.
The same way I once couldn't feel in the heart that I could be happy with only His plan, not reliant on companionship.
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"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."