Disclaimer: Just got off the phone with SK, who said I could write about this. I promised I wouldn't march too far into her privacy, just enough to give a general impression.
Saturday evening, while on her choir concert tour to this side of the mountains, via a comment she herself made, SK was ambushed by her ex-boyfriend. After the friends they'd mutually been hanging out with had slinked away, SK and Ex had a long overdue conversation about why the relationship ended, why there'd been so much avoidance and meanness in the year since, and other sundry dirty laundry that caused both those things. At different points in the conversation each of them got flaming mad, each of them apologized, and by the end, SK was feeling a closure that was also a long time coming. Listening to her recount it Monday, I got the feeling that it might be more closed for her than for him, but hopefully he's on the way to that same peace.
After talking to her, I started thinking about my kids and relationships. My kids and my dreams for them. Every mother's--every parent's--dream for their kids. We want to see them married, with children, fulfilled and content in a two-by-two way. We especially want it when it's what we have. We envision their futures as being like ours. Happily married. And we want to have a relationship that would-be spouse so that we can have wonderful relationships with our kids and their families for the rest of our lives. And--yes, I admit this--we want grandchildren. We want to put our hands on babies that have sprung from our babies. I think moms ache for this, especially. So I have to admit, I was sad when this relationship ended for SK. I really liked Ex, though it was early, and all these things were a far off fantasy (apparently of mine more than SK's). When I saw him again this fall, I still liked him. But it's not my life, not my relationship, not my choice. And SK didn't like him enough. That was clear for quite a while before the end came. Clear enough that even he knew it. Certainly I did.
But the thing is, we often try to manipulate these things. I certainly did when I was SK's age, liking a boy more than he liked me. I worked soooo hard to make him stay with me, and I was persuasive enough that he actually did--a long time beyond his own feelings. He broke up with me just about once a month for a long time, often enough that I began thinking it coincided with his period...but oh, wait, he didn't have one. But he came creeping back each time, allowing my stronger feelings to be enough for him, as I manipulated, cajoled and wheedled him back. Yes, I was every bit that stupid, every bit that petty. When I think too hard about that period in my life, I'm ashamed all over again. SK was a stronger person than he was when she made sure that break-up wasn't followed up by a boomerang back, and it certainly could have, I think.
See, what I didn't get was that God is a romantic. God loves romance. And He wants to be our matchmaker, if we let Him. There is a strong trail of His matchmaking successes in the Bible. Adam and Eve. Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel. Even, I dare say, Joseph and Mary, though we don't see their courtship. His coming to Joseph in that dream is telling about how clearly their coming-together was purposeful.
I experienced God as matchmaker in my own life in a more obvious way than most people. He manipulated Beve's and my plans so they dovetailed, changed our long-held attitudes toward each other, basically kept putting us in each other's ways until we actually saw each other. It took Beve about a year longer than it took me, but E learned in a class the other day that the male cerebral cortex (home of decision-making skills) doesn't fully mature until the late 20s, so I'll cut him some slack. God kept intervening in our lives until we got it, and got the spouse He intended for us.
I've always thought He did that for me because of what I'd done in my early 20s (maybe my brain hadn't fully matured yet either!), trying to make that boy not just 'right' for me, but actually God's will for me. God had to do something really obvious to show me who He really meant, and how He really works. And, in the process, He revealed to me that I'm a treasure worth having--both to Him and to my partner. The God-intended and God-given spouse.
And this is what I want for my kids. They've grown up with the 'around the world' romance of their parents. The notion that God wants to be intimately involved in this most important of life's decisions is rooted deep in the earth of their lives. And though they all wish to be in relationships, none of them are interested in random dating. They're far more discriminating than I was. Cut from the cloth of Beve, is more like it. Beve who waited and prayed and waited some more. Until the right one was placed under his nose and he had to be hit over the head to see her.
I'm glad my kids aren't willing to settle for less, even though I am antsy for them to be in relationships, to have mates. I admit that. See, we're in the season of marriage around here. Their cousins and friends are having weddings by the dozen. And I remember that season in my own life. It made me nervous at times, scared that I might never walk down the aisle, never have a family. But God works differently in every life. Sometimes with a whisper, and sometimes with a hammer to the head.
The other night, Ex told SK, "I hope you wait for someone who will light your fire, someone you can see yourself growing old with." I'm sure he thought he was giving her sage advice, but the truth is, she knows that. It's what she not only wants, but expects. But here's the thing: I want her to wait until God lights that fire, until He shows her the one she'll grow old with. I know that He works in many ways, and I know that my impatience for this just might exceed theirs, but when I sit back and calm down, sit back and pray, sit back and trust not just their lives but their romances to the Lord, it's what I want too.