Not as good as I remember it

Is there something from your past that doesn’t live up to it’s memory? For me, it’s typically music or movies. Pretty much any 90s song is now labeled as a “90s song” because it has a certain sound to it, right? But back then you’d think music couldn’t get any better. Let’s face it, a lot of songs from the 90s (and the 80s, if we’re being honest) are pretty cheesy. But we like them because they remind us of where we were when he heard them, or they just bring back good memories for us.

Over the Christmas holiday a few weeks ago I was awarded with choosing a movie to watch on the night we celebrated my birthday. I chose a movie I hadn’t seen in years but remembered loving it. The film stars an actor who was relatively new to Hollywood in the early 2000s, Owen Wilson. He plays Navy navigator Chris Burnett in Behind Enemy Lines.

It’s a great movie, especially if you enjoy war movies that involve a good guy and a bad guy, an underdog and a bully, an intense cat and mouse chase, and spoiler alert: it has a predictable ending. But watching it that night wasn’t as glorious as I remember when I first watched it. Now, part of that is because I rarely watch movies twice. Something about knowing what’s going to happen drains any desire I have to watch a movie more than once. There are exceptions, of course. In fact, I just watched Wonder Woman for the second time and was still entranced and captivated by the story, the editing, the slow motion effects they used, and the special effects. I also watched Enchanted twice over the holidays. It’s so good!

I guess there’s a level of predictability that I rather do without. So prequels? Nope. Hallmark movies? Nope. TV shows from the 90s? Boy Meets World, otherwise nope.

So anyway, back to Behind Enemy Lines. It’s a really good movie, it is. What stuck out the most in this holiday viewing, though, was the soundtrack. I don’t remember it having the characteristics of a 90s war/action movie but it does. Even some of the filming looked vintage late-90s.

All that to say, I wonder if my memory is similar to how Baz Luhrmann describes offering advice in the song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen),” it’s a way of…

…fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

I romanticize something in my past, and when I revisit it, it’s not quite as amazing as I remember. Hmm sounds like my dating life! And by that, I mean how every girl I’ve ever dated thinks of me!

Girl: I think I remember him being pretty great.

*Girl reconnects with Ben*

Girl: nope, still a dork.

Well, she’s not wrong. I’m pretty dorky but I like it that way. This is not turning into a dating blog, I forbid it! So it ends here. What things in your past do you have on a pedestal? Is there an experience you have where something you loved isn’t as great as you remembered? One thing is for sure no matter what, Baz is right… wear sunscreen!

-Out of the Wilderness

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The top posts of 2017

I had so much fun posting blogs about life, love, music, dogs, and many other things in 2017. Here’s a list of top new posts from the year.

Music or music videos

  1. The woman in Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (10,653 views, posted Jan 10)
  2. The cast of Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know” (9,358 views, posted April 8)
  3. The dancers in Keith Urban’s “The Fighter” (7,661 views, posted April 5)

 

Dating or Relationships

  1. Ten more signs a Christian guy is into you (583 views, posted May 1)
  2. Rekindling an old flame (384 views, posted July 19)
  3. Rekindling an old flame, part 2 (285 views, posted Aug 9)

 

My favorite light-hearted posts from 2017

  1. A guy who (sometimes) shaves his legs (45 views, posted Sept 17)
  2. Encounter with a car salesman (39 views, posted Sept 28)
  3. Avoiding a “Talkative Tim” or “Chatty Cathy” (12 views, posted Sept 9)

 

My favorite thoughtful posts from 2017

  1. Thoughts about Virginia, and why I love the Nashville PD (80 views, posted Aug 16)
  2. I have a hard time saying no (10 views, posted Sept 15)
  3. Brief encounters (15 views, posted April 5)

 

My favorite spiritual posts from 2017

  1. What if God is the sun? (9 views, posted June 2)
  2. Jesus saved a bunch of animals, too (18 views, posted March 22)
  3. God is able (14 views, posted Feb 20)

 

I’ll be posting a lot this year as well, so please subscribe and come with me on another year-long adventure!

-Out of the Wilderness

What is broadbacking? Dating answers here.

By now we’ve all heard of “ghosting” (disappearing from a conversation, whether it’s online or texting, and then zombieing… reappearing days, weeks, or months later). Other more traditional terms like “DTR,” “red flag,” and “an item” have all been used in or about relationships over the years, but for recent trendy terms, here’s a list. One you won’t see on there yet is a dating word I’m coining today.

Broadbacking.

Broadbacking is when you’ve met someone and within a short amount of time they dump an overwhelming amount of emotional baggage onto you because they think you can help them carry the load.

This behavior can happen online through long and drawn out emails that take you 29 minutes to read, text messages that are broken up into 17 different sections that you have to piece together to make sense of it, or even in person/on the phone where you may have to practice the art of listening…a lot.

No matter how this information is being thrust upon you, just know that it is, and the person doing it is totally broadbacking you.

-Out of the Wilderness

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

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.