Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stupid Boy

I was 19 and 20 when I experienced a romantic relationship for the first time. We knew each other from our grade school days, and ended up at the same university. I took her best friend to my senior prom in high school. I have learned one thing for sure: don't date a girl's friends. The girl I took to prom really liked me, so she's none too pleased about the whole thing, even today.

But my first love said to me, "I want to kiss you."

"Uhhh, OK!"

It might be a caricature to say that guys only care about sex, and physical appearance besides. In fact it is. But I also know as a man that I can easily be distracted. Whatever broken pieces need to be picked up, we'd definitely rather pick them up later.

It was before my baptism as a Christian. People told me about Jesus, but not about chastity. If I hear the word "chastity" today, I still think of John Lithgow in "Footloose" first. I won't call us prudes; I'm a daily communicant today. But I know how ordinary people think about church people and sex.

I wanted much more. Even when I did things I later regretted, I was always oriented toward permanence. My default setting is "forever." I'm not sure why it never worked; we never said goodbye. We just faded away.

Even though I could tell the story as one long tale of frustration, as numerous loves went unreturned, I can tell a more joyful tale of learning to love without expectation. I have learned to love myself, as they say. "Maybe I can help you" is much more attractive than, "I need you to complete my pitiful existence."

It remains true in every context: if you rely on another person to validate your existence, you'll be disappointed. No human can feed that hunger of the heart.

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