FHFYFUFU

I have a little phrase I’ve been repeating to myself as a reminder of my appetite. And no, I don’t mean peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, although I’m down if you have some to share. I mean appetite as in what I’m hungry for, what I want my life to be about and in turn, what I’m feeding it and how I’m feeding it. What am I doing each day? What am I not doing each day? More on all that here.

For her, for You, for us, for us.

The her is my future ________ (insert “girlfriend” or “wife” here).

The You is God.

The first us is for the relationship I’ll have with previously mentioned girlfriend or wife.

The second us is for the relationship I have with God.

It might sound simple, I know what you’re thinking. Love can walk through…wait, what? OK, it might be simple but it’s been a good reminder to keep my eyes pointed towards God– my savior, my helper, my provider. I don’t always get it right, but that won’t stop me from trying.

-Out of the Wilderness

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Being single at 38 years old

NOTE: This was originally written last spring but I recently decided to go ahead and share it. Life in and out of the dating world can be a roller coaster emotionally. Count the following as a moment of bare honesty on my roller coastery journey.


I’m not exactly sure where this post will go, but I wanted to write down thoughts I’ve been having as a single guy at my old age. Old! That’s how I feel some days. Usually that sensation comes over me the night of, or the morning after, playing basketball or volleyball. I move a little slower, I groan a little more, I tighten my bathrobe a little more snugly arond me. I’m pretty happy with where my life is, with what I’m doing, and the friends I spend time with. Is this where I thought I’d be at 38? The truth is, I don’t ever remember thinking about where I’d be at 30 or 40. And even though I feel old sometimes, I feel really good other times.

I also think I’m past the question, “Why aren’t you married yet?” …because I haven’t been asked it in ages. The answer is always the same: haven’t found the right one yet. That’s partly true. I’ve dated on and off for the past few years and I’ve been in the company of greatness. But for whatever reason the relationships fizzled and died, or never even really started. There have been a handful of dates that would have never happened, if I knew how they’d go. I’m thinking of one at Buffalo Wild Wings, or another attending a Ben Rector concert.

Disasters!

But truthfully, those, and other less memorable one-hit wonders, as in “I wonder why we are here, now, together,” have helped me get to where I am. A little more mature. A little more focused. A little less hopeful. Yes, I said less hopeful. It’s hard to keep hope alive all day every day.

In fact, I’d say it’s impossible.

In fact, stay away from people who are positive all the time, they’re hiding something!

In fact, you don’t want to be there when they explode.

I’ve gone through periods of great hope, great excitement. I want to be there again but I’m in a season of doubt right now. Doubt about marriage, doubt about even wanting to date. Because dating might lead to marriage, and I’m not even sure I want that. We’re taught through many ways that finding a partner will make life worthwhile, that you can be on top of the world like Jack and Rose if you find the other half of you. I don’t really believe that’s true. Life is worthwhile even without marriage. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Do you want to know the thought on the forefront of my mind the past week or so? It’s this…

Who’s going to take care of me when I’m old?

My mind drifts to 50 years from now when one of my nieces is stuck with checking in on their cenile uncle. You know, the one who never got married and had all the goats? He keeps mumbling about wanting more tattoos but his whole body is covered.

OK, OK, sometimes I think I’ll get a few more tattoos, not all over my whole body, though! But that would be me: the crazy, single, never-married uncle who didn’t reach his potential as a husband or maybe even a dad.

People get married later in life. People get divorced later in life. People stay single their entire lives. So many different stories. I’m in the middle of mine, just wondering if a co-writer might come along who can help me, and let me help them, through the next few dozen chapters.

Rekindling an old flame, part 2

My dad likes to fish. And by “like,” I mean if he could be on the water every day, I think he’d do it. Something about the call of the grouper, the invitation of the red snapper, not to mention the quietness of the wild blue yonder, beckons him. Sometimes I hear that call, too, but I’m pretty much ready to hang up after a couple of hours. And by “couple of hours,” I mean 1 hour. But when I’m out there, sometimes 15 or 20 miles out, there’s nothing like it.DCIM100GOPROThe water is a deep, sparkly, dark blue. The boat rocks back and forth, all the while rising and falling on swells unlike what you seen near a shore. There’s an exciting, and sometimes eerie, mystery to what’s below the 23-ft Boston Whaler because while the water is clear, what’s 90 feet down remains unknown.

So we tie off the anchor. We drop the lines. There’s a variety of bait samples used in hopes of hooking the big one. I might be on the bow of the boat. My dad at the stern. My brother starboard. My brother-in-law port side.

Because of my dad’s expertise, we are usually on top of rocky ground, which if you have fished before, you know the most elusive fish and the ones you want are tucked in the holes and crevices of the jagged edges there.

And the bite? When these fish bite, you know it! There is rarely ever a nibble that prepares you for what’s to come. These fish pack a wallop! It could be a 20-pound grouper, or a 2-pound rock bass, but the moment they bite you could swear you’ve hooked a whale. That’s part of the adventure. And boy, is it a thrill!

“There are plenty of fish in the ocean.”

Dating is lot like fishing. Emotions rising and falling like ocean swells. The mystery of who you’ll meet, when you’ll meet them, the chase. The ones that are worthwhile are usually harder to find, and don’t just go after the first bait that comes along. So you drop your line and hope to God to get a bite. All kinds of fish, all kinds of people that could potentially turn into your happily ever after.

But you may have to wait a while or reel a few in only to throw them back because they’re not right for you. You might need to pull up the anchor and find a new ledge. Then you drop your line in again… and wait.

Well, when I started dating the girl I’m writing this and the previous post about (and for what it’s worth, other posts like this and this), I thought I’d hooked the big one! At times it was a struggle. At times I wondered if it was worth the fight. But when it was good, it was really good. She was unlike any other I’d dated before and while it wasn’t always easy, it was worth it in the end. But then there was the end. The end of the dating relationship, the end of a friendship. I wasn’t prepared for losing my friend.

Since then, I’ve missed her. I’ve wondered where she was and what she was doing. I thought about the places we went, the conversations we had, the dreams we had for the future. Songs came on the car radio and I either had to change the channel or dive into the deep and mysterious feelings of loss and doubt. Which isn’t always smart when, ya know, you’re supposed to be paying attention to the road!

Time went by and I never told anyone about any of this. I was supposed to get over her. I was supposed to be over her. Whatever rule that said after a certain amount of time, a person needs to move on didn’t work for me. But it stayed hidden because I didn’t want to admit I still missed her. That is, until I was riding in a van to Missouri with my brother, to whom I confided in with these feelings that kept me unsettled all this time.

Talk about a boring conversation for my nieces, right? 

Well, they were asleep through most of it, so they were spared the Hallmark-worthy retelling of my dating life.img_20170701_095918344.jpg

Our conversation moved on to other stuff and we didn’t talk about her again till the trip back to Florida. This leg of the trip included one of my sisters. She and my brother challenged me to write my feelings down, try contacting her, and pursue what was clearly heavy on my heart. For the most part, I was on board, with the intention of being cautious as I didn’t know a whole lot about her current dating situation.

We arrived in Florida for a week with the rest of the family. I knew there wouldn’t be time to give appropriate attention to what I wanted to say in the letter because, well, the house was full of 8 wild kids, 8 adults, and 4 dogs. I’ll write when I get home, I told myself. So when I got back to Nashville, I dove in head first. I started with writing part 1 of this rekindling story.

“It’s time to fish or cut bait.”

I’ve totally dragged this out and by now you’re borderline postal wishing I’d get to the part where I reveal that I wrote the letter, she got it, and…

A. We chatted, she’s married with 9 kids, but has fond memories of days of yore.

or…

B. I showed up to her house with five thousand roses, she welcomed me with open arms and we’re now married with 15 kids.

Well, put away your Scantron® because this isn’t a test! I can say for certain neither A. or B. is the right answer, anyway. There’s always a secret third option– in this case, not writing the letter, which is the decision I settled on. Yep. The romantic gesture intended to express my feelings for a woman I haven’t spoken to in a long time is not happening. I considered writing the letter. I really did although I didn’t have a clue where to start. But after time, prayer, and a considerable amount of peace I have about it, I’m cutting bait.

I will always be thankful for the Missouri trip even though it’s hard for me to exactly define what changed for me. All I can say is that when I got it out, when I actually talked about it out loud with human beings, therapy was happening. And even though I didn’t write to her directly, I did write.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

Now I feel relief, a weight lifted off my shoulders, closure or a chapter ending, whatever you want to call it. My steps are lighter and my heart feels untethered. I haven’t felt this free in years and I gotta say, I’m thrilled at what the future holds as far as relationships go. It’s scary to admit that in any relationship I’ve been in since she and I broke up, she was always in the back of my mind. I’m grieved to think of wonderful women (except this one) I missed out on because I wasn’t fully present. But I think that’s a thing of the past now.

I feel a release I can’t explain well.

It’s peace about the decision to let go. Finally letting go for good. Forgetting the past and moving forward to the future God has for me. And I’ll say this, too… I believe in a God that is bigger than me. His ways are higher than mine and his thoughts higher, too. He’s the great conductor and if, in the masterpiece He’s creating, He chooses to have her and I cross paths and He knows we’re better together than we are apart, then so be it. Amen.

So that’s how it’s going to be for me now, in this moment, and tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Happy for what God’s brought me through, and with the rise and fall of the ocean swells, my line is in the water. The anchor is tied. The sun is shining.

And it’s a beautiful view.

-Out of the Wilderness

10 more signs a Christian guy is into you

via-quickmeme.com_A while back I published my first lighthearted and completely unreliable post for how to tell a Christian guy is into you (click here for that list). Well, it’s time for another. Just as lighthearted. Just as unreliable. Enjoy!

10. You comment that his man-bun reminds you of Samson from the Bible. He responds by flexing for you.

9. He invites you on a coffee date… to the coffeeshop in the east quadrant of your mega church.

8. He uses this lame-o line: I’d be pretty bad at mission work, ’cause you’re the only “miss” I’d have my “i on”.

7. He says he’d totally “leave and cleave” for you.

6. He doesn’t want you to be a MISSionary. He wants you to be a MRSionary.

*Take a break and check out one of the worst dates I’ve ever been on. It was embarrassingly funny! Click this link.*

5. He brings two sets of ear plugs when the two of you attend the contemporary worship service.

4. He loves that you’re learning Greek but he still wants to French with you.

3. He wants to stomp grapes with you just so he can wash your feet.

2. He tells you he has a sensitive side, which includes being seeker-sensitive.

1. He says you put the ‘angel‘ in evangelical.

 

Brief encounters

I’ve discovered that there are quite a few people you’ll come in contact with that you might only see once…ever. In fact, scenarios like that are so common even Craigslist has a part of their website dedicated to these casual encounters, as they call it. While I’d recommend scanning those for entertainment purposes only, there’s obviously a need they’re filling, or trying to fill.

Time has distanced me from the college years where I might’ve seen hundreds of people a day and a lot of times see those same hundreds and a hundred more all the time. And now, depending on your job, your weekly activities, you might see just a sliver of that amount on any given day.

I’ve never really been brave or outgoing when it comes to dating, even to this day, so I’ve realized these brief encounters with a woman I find interesting are, or could be, something to act on. Because it might be the only time I ever see this person.

There was that girl when I worked as a photographer’s assistant at a wedding.

 

Then there was Brooke from a local tattoo shop.

Once I talked with a girl at Kroger.

One and done, that’s what those were. Because I wasn’t really thinking past the moment. A buddy of mine had an experience like this recently. He was at Pinewood Social here in Nashville and was sitting in a sort of common area; a long couch, a table, basically a section you can chat with a friend or group of friends, and still order food and drinks. A pair of girls were sitting near him and because of where their computers where plugged in, he and at least one of the girls had to communicate. Afterwards he told me that he found one of them to be very attractive. The full story is that both were, but one had a ring on. 😉

So chance encounters like that do happen. But the older we get, they’re just not as frequent. If I’m being totally honest, most days I couldn’t care less about talking to anyone. Give me a chair in the backyard with my dogs and a cool breeze, I’m pretty much set! But every once in a while there will be tattoo shop Brooke. Or Kroger girl. Unfortunately for me I come up with great conversations I could’ve had about an hour or a week after. Lame-o!

So today I’m asking myself, “What am I doing about it now?” When the next Brooke comes along, or the next Pinewood Socialite sits down next to me or my friend, what shall be done about it?

-Out of the Wilderness

20 reasons I was single in my 20s, plus a few more

During my senior year of high school, I started compiling a list of things I’d love to have in a mate. The list started with broad characteristics that were must-haves. Things like Christian, patient, good listener, thoughtful. Had the list stopped there, that would’ve been great. It’s smart to have some sort of criteria when seeking a friend for the end of the world. More specifically, a best friend to spend the rest of my life with. But the list didn’t end there. It went on. And on. And on. A total of 45 things I wrote down that defined who it was I was looking for. No prob. No prob? Yeah right… no wonder I’ve been single for so long!

I don’t think there’s ever been a woman on earth that could measure up to that list.

I might as well have created her from a computer, like these guys did. But Kelly LeBrock aside, this “perfect girl” isn’t out there. A girl I was dating years ago surmised that (and this is as we were breaking up) I’m looking for someone just like me. Mostly because of how and when it was presented, I became defensive. But she was right. Now comparing her comments to the list from high school, I’m about to blow your mind, so make sure you’re sitting down for this.

The list isn’t who I was looking for, the list is who I wanted to be.

Booya. Mic drop. You’ve been served. Insert any other overused phrase here. Even as I sit here typing I’m looking at this decades-old list and it’s blowing my mind. All these things I wrote down are either characteristics I already have, or ones I’m striving towards. If there were a girl out there that had all these qualities, I don’t think I’d fall in love with her. I think I’d be super jealous of her!

Then it makes sense that what I’m looking for in a mate now, now that I’m in my 30s and so much wiser and so much more mature, are much less specific. Less specific and not about me!

I look forward to finding this person. That is, if God’s ideas for me include a woman that can put up with a guy who made a list in high school of 45 things about her that’s really about him but at least he didn’t try to make her on a computer but maybe that was only because he didn’t know how because he was more into playing sports than computer programming.

-Out of the Wilderness

Bathrobes are amazing…and 22 other things I learned as a single guy in my 30s

Hi there and thanks for stopping by. As it says in the purpose of this blog, I write about a few parts of my life, one being that I’m single. So with that in mind I compiled a list of things I’ve learned in my 30s (and a few from my 20s) while not being married. This might apply to single women as well, but I wouldn’t dare assume anything about “the single woman,” which leads perfectly to the first lesson on the list…

  1. Never assume anything about women.
  2. When the tv show Friends originally aired, it didn’t mean anything to me. Now watching reruns in my 30s, I get it. And I can’t stop laughing.
  3. The woman is always right. And no, I’m not only talking about contra dancing 🙂
  4. There are certain songs that will forever remind you of someone you dated.
  5. Someone in your family will know of the perfect girl for you.
  6. If you try online dating, it might not be as bad as you expect. And yet, it can go horribly wrong sometimes.
  7. Questions about a girl you might ask in your 20s: Is she nice? What’s her faith like? Is she cute? What does she like to do? What’s her favorite kind of music? Does she enjoy the same things I do?
  8. Questions you might ask in your 30s: Is she married? No? It’s on.
  9. I’ve learned how to spot a ring from sniper distances.
  10. It’s perfectly OK going to the movie theater alone and what’s even better, you can see any movie you want.
  11. Dogs really can be your best friends.
    best friends
  12. It’s possible to not know exactly what Pinterest is.
  13. Something you might say in your 20s: “Wow, my co-worker’s 35 and not married yet? Hope that’s not me one day.”
  14. Something you end up saying when you’re single at 35: “35 is the new 25.”
  15. I could’ve married in my early 20s but I’m guessing I would’ve been divorced in my late 20s.
  16. It can be a little scary wondering if the girl I might marry one day is even in the same city as me. Same state? Same country? Has anyone ever actually found a needle in a haystack?
  17. According to a social experience performed by me sometime in 2002, you can wear the same clothes 1 or 2 or 5 days in a row, and no one will say a word about it. (Except for Rosemary, she suspected)
  18. I can cut my hair any way I want, and that’s kinda awesome.
  19. Married folks might read #18 and think, “Ew, gross.” But inside they’re slightly jealous. At least some of the married guys are. Right???
  20. Time by yourself can feel pretty lonely.
  21. Time by yourself can feel pretty incredible.
  22. A song you heard when you were 15 meant nothing to you. Hearing it again at 35, it rips your heart out.
  23. Bathrobes are amazing.
    IMG_20160110_215108597

I’m sure there are many more, but I hope you enjoyed reading these 23!

-Out of the Wilderness