Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monday, February 02, 2009

Dating, schmating...

Yeah, well.

I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with the whole issue of dating. Historically, it's been: if I'm dating, I (mostly) love it; if I'm not, I (pretty much) hate it. Not so much anymore. Life has a way of changing the way you look at things.

I read the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" for the first time a very long time ago. Hated it. LOATHED it. Thought Joshua Harris was totally full of...THAT stuff. But I was married at the time. Married and full of that "I have someone now, so I feel bad that other people are struggling with this, but...good luck with it!" arrogance that married people seem to assimilate when they cross that no-longer-single threshold. Granted, Joshua Harris was very young and didn't know much about "real" relationships when he wrote the book, but...I was still arrogant. I disagreed with the concept of courtship and I laughed at people who thought it was THE answer.

Fast-forward a few years. I was divorced. My best guy friend, Chad, was also divorced and pursuing a relationship with someone. He read the book. Told me that I needed to read it again with new eyes and, since I usually listen to him when he tells me something's important, I bought a copy and followed his advice. Amazingly enough, it made a whole lot of sense to a way it never did when I was married, because I was where I thought I would never again be: "back on the market". (It makes me cringe to even type those words.)

Now, mind you, I don't buy into the whole "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" philosophy, but I DO agree that the American version of dating is a pretty crappy way of doing business, especially for those of us who are coming at the process from the standpoint of a follower of Jesus. And that's especially true for those of us who are single-again. And don't even get me started on those "singles ministry" things that are nothing but meat markets for the so-called pious. Seriously. Don't get me started.

God really did a number on me last summer when he brought me to the place where I realized that my hope for a relationship had not been in HIM, but in hope itself. I said I believed in God's provision, but when he told me, clearly and distinctly, that I had to put "hope" on an altar and sacrifice it, I was devastated. I cried for days, because if I didn't have this hope, what did I have? MY answer to that question was "nothing". My dreams for the future were built around the strong hope that I had for God to provide my "soulmate" (or at least something close). My dreams weren't built around God. And he summarily knocked them all down with one fell swoop. My new directive: Be content, no matter what my situation (ie, relationship status).

All this to say: I hate the process. I hate the "let's get dressed up and pretend we're wildly funny and intelligent and amazing and fascinating" junk. That's not life. It's stupid and not what we're created for. There's nothing wrong with getting dressed up and having fun, but when it's nothing but a performance, it's just wrong. And we end up marrying someone we don't even know, because we think he/she is really the persona we're dating. It's a game. And I don't do games. Which is probably why I've not had a date in...well, a very long time. ;-)

I love those sweet, epiphanal moments when they happen. I had one recently. I was talking to a friend about how tough it is, no matter on which side of a relationship you find yourself, because neither place is the nirvana we all (on the other side) think it will be. My friend told me that she and her husband are best friends (he says the same thing--isn't that cool?) And I realized that's what I want. My heart's desire is a relationship where I wake up one morning and realize that I've fallen in love with my best friend...and not really know when it happened. No games, no show, no masks.

I'm no longer willing to settle for anything less. Which means I'm probably STILL not going to have a date in a very long time...and that's just fine.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Ties that Bind...

It all started right here on the internet. On that marvelous little social networking site called Facebook. Someone (I don’t even remember which friend it was now) posted a note entitled “25 Random Things About Me” with instructions to write your own list of 25 random things about yourself and “tag” other friends, who in turn will make their own lists and pass it on to THEIR friends…and so on.

It started a firestorm. Every time I checked my new messages, someone else had written a list. And I would learn something I never knew about someone I may have known for YEARS (some of these people I’ve known since kindergarten--a really long time!!) I have friends who’ve done some pretty amazing things in their lives--gone on huge adventures, raised beautiful children, served as foreign missionaries, pastored churches, or battled life-threatening diseases and won the battle. I have friends whose lives have been more placid and less “exciting” but who’ve had strong influence for good in the lives of their children and the people around them. I’m really blessed with some incredible and diverse friends…all over the world.

I have some pretty incredible friends in my church family, too. As I read one friend’s list, though, I realized that I’d just learned more about him in 30 seconds of reading than I had learned in the past couple of years of “knowing” him from church. That’s sad. That's my family. God calls us a “body”. And if He calls us that, I know He expects us to act like one. To really know each other…and that means more than just knowing names and faces. Saying “good morning” as we pass each other on the way to our pew or shaking hands and hugging during “pass the peace” time isn’t all there is to it.

A body is…well, a BODY. Connected. Intertwined. The veins that carry oxygen through the bloodstream to feed cells in my fingertip are the same veins that carry the same oxygen down to my big toe. When someone steps on my foot, my nerve network alerts my entire body…and my entire body reacts to jerk my foot away from the pain. As a living representation of the body of Christ, as the hands and feet and voice of Jesus to this world and to each other, we carry that same responsibility to be connected and intertwined and inseparable from the people in that little “body” of believers we call our church family. When someone is hurting, our “nerve network” should be so attuned to that hurt that we instantly do what is required to alleviate the pain, just as we would instantly do what’s required to alleviate pain in our physical bodies.

I don’t necessarily need to know 25 random things about everyone in my local gathering of Christ-followers (although I wouldn‘t mind!), but I DO want to know my family better. And with that knowledge, I’ll know God better, too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My encouragement for the day...

...and any other day I'm feeling blah/purposeless/crabby/useless:

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion -- to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
- Isaiah 61:1-3

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy 2009!!

New Year's Eve at the Snyder home. It's always a crazy costume party. Theme for this year was: Christmas movie characters.

Christmas 2008

Random stuff...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"The goodness of the Lord in the land of the living..."

I'll spare you the gory details of my most recent pity party, which took place about 2 hours ago, but I WILL tell you what started it--and what ended it.

I came home from my family's Christmas celebration tonight, unloaded my bag of "goodies" and crashed on the couch. Alone. Just the cat and me, staring at my beautifully decorated, but now giftless tree, thinking about the day and what it means/doesn't mean (well, the cat was probably thinking about hacking up a furball or something, but *I* was, of course, thinking holy thoughts about the baby Jesus in his golden diaper. Or something similar.) ;-)

I've talked to so many people this Christmas season (including 4 yesterday) who are sad, depressed, disheartened, lonely, discouraged. It's tough, no matter what the reason, if you're alone on Christmas. It's tough for me. I mean, honestly, I would much rather come home and curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and someone I love than be sitting here by myself, fighting back those nasty, self-pitying tears. I'm human. I'm created for community and for relationship. I may be mostly "ok" with this ongoing, sometimes seemingly endless, season of singleness, but today, I DON'T like it one bit.

And then I got a phone call from a dear friend with whom I'd not spoken since...last April, I think. She was one of the long-term volunteers at God's Katrina Kitchen. An unlikely friend, because we have almost nothing in common except for the fact that we love God and were given the amazing privilege of serving the "marginalized" people along the post-Katrina Mississippi Gulf Coast. She and her husband have most recently been working with Hurricane Ike clean-up in the Galveston area.

The whole time we were talking, I was simultaneously mentally kicking myself for my big pity party and thanking God for providing a friend who felt prompted to call at the exact moment I really needed her. As we caught up on where our lives have taken us in the past 8 months, she shared a story about a time in her life when she felt the same way I'm feeling right now...she didn't blithely offer any of the stupid platitudes that make me want to slap people when the inane words come out of their mouths, nor did she jump in and wallow with me--she just told me that she understood how I felt and she knew that God would use this time for good, even though it might not seem good at the moment.

I know I'll see it someday. And that knowing makes being curled up on my couch alone tonight much more bearable.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lesson learned...


Life really does go on. And you can choose to sit, molding and petrifying on the sidelines, wrapped in the tattered shawl of the past, watching all those beautiful brave people out on the dance floor, enjoying themselves while you rot away in your misery...or you can leap right into the scary-as-hell fray and grab a little of the good stuff for yourself.

Case in point (not really what I'm talking about, but it's a good enough example): I fell on the ice today. I slipped on the second step on my front porch and bounced (really, I did) down the remaining three. I could've crawled right back into my house and stayed there until all the ice melted and the world was safe again, but I got up, laughed it off, brushed the ice off my butt, limped to my car and went back to work. I'm really sore. I'll be worse tomorrow. But the ice didn't win.

*I* am going to win this. I'm done with the sidelined, feeling-sorry-for-myself crap. Fear of the unknown is a lot better than living an empty life. Fear of the unknown is, actually, kind of exciting.

Game on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hiatus not of my choosing...

Aside from the usual flurry of pre-Christmas activity, I've been plagued with a horrible cold that sidelined me for several days last week and has now turned into bronchitis. Per doctor's orders, I've been lying on the couch, doing NOTHING but resting, taking my meds and drinking gallons of water, addressing Christmas cards, and watching Season 2 of The Office.

I'm going to be out of town this weekend and I'm having a party at my house Monday night. Oh, well. I normally do a big thing for the Girls' Game Night Christmas party. Not this year. I'm thinking pizza. Or something else I can order from somewhere. The cooking thing is just not happening. This is a challenge for me--I've been spouting off about Christmas being more about spending time with our loved ones and less time/money on the I get to put that into practice for real and all the little "Martha Stewart" cells in me are screaming in horror. Serves me right, eh? ;-)

Back to The Office. What a strange show. I can't honestly say I "like" it, but I'm drawn with a weirdly morbid fascination to each episode--I can't quit watching it. And I've even laughed out loud (well, as "out loud" as someone with bronchitis and laryngitis CAN laugh, that is!) a few times tonight. At the strangest things. Probably because it's a strange show and I'm...well, a little eccentric myself. I'm glad I finally gave into the pressure of my peers.

I'm working on a couple of posts that I hope to finish in the not-too-distant future. A man I deeply admired died last week and his death and funeral and the gaping crater he's left in the lives of many have affected me profoundly. God is challenging me to (even though I could never fill his shoes) step up to the plate and be what I profess to be. Not sure what that's going to look like right now.

The Griswold Family Christmas Tree in my living room (well, it's actually just a little Fraser Fir) either has the infamous squirrel hiding in it or an ornament is slipping off its branch--I hear strange noises emerging from it and the cat is sleeping peacefully on the back of the couch. Yep. The ornament just crashed to the floor. Good thing nothing is breakable on my tree.

And that's pretty much the scope of my wisdom for tonight. Too much "stuff" in my head for much deep thought.

Friday, November 28, 2008

When worlds collide...

On most days, I thank God I don't have cable/dish/rabbit ears for my TV. I get along quite well, thank you, with watching a couple of shows online every week and keeping up with the major world events through Yahoo. And this time of year, most definitely, I'm especially grateful. I've been exposed to enough "Get up EARLY and don't miss the bargains!!" Black Friday commercials while at friends' homes the past couple of days to reassure me that I could live quite contentedly for the rest of my life without bringing any of that back into my peacefully oblivious existence.

I chose to participate in "Buy Nothing Day" today...a grassroots movement of sorts to attempt to take back this day from the mainline, media-driven, blindly-accepted, consumer insanity. While people are dying in the name of Black Friday bargains (yes, DYING--a WalMart employee was trampled to death early this morning in a 5:00 AM stampede) and getting injured, I stayed home, slept in, ate some Thanksgiving leftovers and started working through the backlog of snail mail/email/blog updates that have been piling up on me during the busy last couple of weeks.

And here's what I learned:

While people are mindlessly stampeding others for the sake of a $200 Xbox or an $800 50" plasma TV or an $88 Barbie Jeep or a $20 Hannah Montana beanbag chair, my C4C Disaster Relief (formerly God's Katrina Kitchen) friends Vickie, Vance and Ryan Weesner, Steve and Lezlie Anderson, and Mary Edna Thompson are serving those in Galveston who remain homeless after the devastation of Hurricane Ike (the mostly forgotten because politics were more important, but third most costly disaster in the US at $21 BILLION in losses). And Beverly Hayden, an amazingly talented lawyer-turned-photographer-turned-world-adventurer, is trampling through the garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, handing out bread, apples, oranges, hugs, and love to the more than 300 hungry, sometimes naked and shoeless, beautiful children who live there in the midst of the stench and toxic waste.

A vast chasm between worlds, eh? One that leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless and broken and paralyzed...and wondering how the hell we got here. And if there's really a way to get out...or if it's too late to even have the smallest shred of hope that things can ever change.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanks, Alanis...

She's certainly been my "soul sister" in the angry days--there's nothing better than cranking up SFIJ or Jagged Little Pill and singing out the rage. But. Alanis has a sweeter sound these days. Kinda grown up and content and peaceful...even when life hurts. Kinda blissful. That's where I am right now. And, even though I'm not in Cali, this song pretty much fits my mood right now...

"Giggling Again for No Reason"--Alanis Morissette

I am driving in my car up highway one
I left LA without telling anyone
There were people who needed something from me
But I am sure they’ll get along fine on their own

Oh this state of ecstasy
Nothing but road could ever give to me
This liberty wind in my face
And I’m giggling again for no reason

I am dancing with my friends in elation
We’ve taken adventures to new levels of fun
I can feel the bones are smiling in my body
I can see the meltings of inhibition

Oh this state of ecstasy
Nothing but road could ever give to me
This liberty wind in my face
And I’m giggling again for no reason

I’m reeling jubilation
Triumphant in delight
I am at home in this high five
And I’m smiling for no reason

I am sitting at the set of cali sun
We’ve gotten quiet for its’ last precious seconds
I can feel the salt of the sea on my skin
And we still hear the echoes of abandon

Oh this state of ecstasy
Nothing but road could ever give to me
This liberty wind in my face
And I’m giggling again for no reason