I spent the next month or so focusing on work. Easy because it was necessary. None of us had been in a school building in 18 months and we were severely out of practice.
There was a lot to be done. So many academic, behavioral, and social gaps to fill. Routines, procedures, expectations, relationship-building. For children and adults.
Outside of work, I worked on my other relationships. I spent as much time socializing with friends as I possibly could. Any invitation to an event or gathering, I was there with bells and whistles on. It felt good to laugh, smile, and dance. Anything was better than sitting in the house. Sad. Lonely. Left with my thoughts.
And then out of nowhere, totally unexpectedly, a new type of relationship began to bud.
Not too many things grow in autumn. And I had no intention of cultivating any new alliances. I just wanted to maintain and build on what I had with the people who were already in my life. My daughter, my family, my friends, my students, my colleagues.
As pleasant a distraction the dalliances of spring and summer were, I already told myself – and everyone else – that I was taking a leave of absence from the dating scene. As someone who is driven by meaningful relationships, deep connections, and true love – whether platonic or otherwise – casual, “airy” associations don’t move me much.
So, in the spirit of not wasting my time or anyone else’s (and in realizing a lot of the *new* interactions I’d been having were just space-fillers), I decided to take a step back.
I admire – and live vicariously through – the movers and shakers who can date for sport. The folks who make trying on potential partners like shoes a part of their lifestyle. It seems so exciting. Fun. Carefree.
And it can be all of those things. For a time. I just personally don’t have the gumption or guts, patience nor perseverance to live that life for the long haul. It may be my age or my innate personality, but I’m not built for it. It’s exhausting. It’s draining. It’s annoying. I don’t like it.
And that’s where I get mad all over again. The way I spent years setting my life up? I shouldn’t even be back out on the scene. At least that was my mindset. So, I threw my hands up and said, “I’ll try again some time in 2022.” And I was so happy and at peace with that decision.
But then, there it was. The unexpected. The plan God has for you which supersedes the one you have for yourself. I’m not even surprised by it – or Him – anymore. At this point, I’ve gotten so used to this happening.
It’s what’s supposed to happen. And it happens even more when you say, “Lord use me; lead me. Do with me what you see fit. Have your way. I surrender.”
I’m glad I decided to give God back the reigns of my life. It’s not always what I expect. It’s not even what always feel good in the moment. Sometimes, I don’t see how it’s going to lead me towards greater. But it’s as it should be because His understanding and vantage point exceeds my own. He knows me better than I know myself.
In this instance, I didn’t even have a chance to over-analyze anything. How can you when something is so organic…transparent…easy…comfortable…genuine…real? No pretense. No grand expectations. Just great conversation and laughter and finding joy in the simplest things.
When all the lush greenery on trees becomes crisp and take on warm, beautiful colors, we stand in awe at their beauty. But as soon as those leaves fall off the trees, we become disenchanted. The trees stand bare. Naked. They are exposed. They seem less glorious. We rarely give those bare bones another glance until buds line the branches once more.
But the person who can look at a tree in that raw, naked, exposed state and still see its beauty – just as it is? That’s a special person. Still, even people we see as special are just that – people. And while Fall leaves just enough warmth in the air and color on the landscape to remember summer, winter is altogether different. Not everyone can survive winter.
More to come.