phone calls and hopes

It’s later than I planned on being awake tonight. I was meant to be asleep a while ago. I even took a nap around 9pm and then decided to wake up and go for a run at 1045. And I’m remembering Brett’s lecture not to go to sleep right after, because it’s apparently bad for my heart? It’s 1134pm by my cell phone with the picture of a NYTimes ad for Dispatch splayed across the background of my tiny one inch screen. And Dispatch is playing in my headphones as I scribble away on this post. How perfect.

Tonight I talked with a friend on the phone for an hour. I did a lot of verbal processing with her. I hate the phone, for those of you who don’t know me. I loathe calling people. I’d rather email, text or just man up and do it in person. But she called, and I wasn’t of a mind to ignore what was surely a response to my earlier text. She was on her way home, from dinner with a friend. She was at the gas station, buying cigarettes at a convenience stand, telling me how exciting her day has been since she hasn’t smoked a single one! It’s good. Sometimes, quitting is a process. She’s being lectured and prodded towards better health this year. Of course, a somewhat less stressful life might be helpful. But we manage with what we have.

I was being asked about a certain guy in my life who floats around in the edges of my imagination. I had not considered him very much until recently when several people had pointed out the way my ears perk up at the mention of his name, or the way I sort of giggle and shrug when the moment is just so.  (and by several, I mean one) It’s true. I notice when he’s not around. I notice what others say about him. I notice the way he moves between people, helps in the kitchen, loves on people who need it, all the while keeping his distance I stood near him recently and it was comfortable, does that make any sense? We didn’t talk. We were staring at the  football game that everyone was hollering about and with which neither of us were concerned. I had coffee in my hand. He wore a sweater that probably fits in his home town but was just the tiniest bit too short for Denver city fashion. We hardly said a word to each other that whole morning. But standing beside him, laughing with other friends, watching the way my community interacts with each other; it as a peaceful and easy moment.

I suppose in some ways, I am attracted to him. I talked about that tonight with my friend. Most of the reasons are just what I have observed and thus concluded in my mind. I don’t know him very well because he’s quiet and stands on the edge because he, like me, is rather new here. (And yet, who isn’t new in some way, shape or form?) And then, with wild gestures that my friend could not see, I expressed my exasperation over my feelings.

I don’t know him well enough to have feelings.
This isn’t the right time for me to have feelings for anyone.
It isn’t going to work out, what’s the use in having feelings for him?

And thus began the lecture.

Sara. You have worth. You have value. You deserve someone. You are a sweet girl. You crack me up. Don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with you. Stop being so hopeless. Someday, you won’t be invisible to the right man. Don’t you know that? Don’t you at least hope that?

It’s true. Yeah. I hope that someday, I’ll be attracted the right person at the right time. It old her that recently, while spending the evening with one of my friends, I kept wishing he was someone else. Isn’t that ridiculous? But this guy I was with is interested in me (in a rather complicated and impossible sort of way). And yet, it isn’t right. I attract the wrong people.

married.
nonchristians.
old. as in, waaaay too old.*
looking for a one night stand.
no potential, maturity or vision.

And besides. I’m that girl. I am one of the guys. Brett’s band has been texting me all week about coming to practice on Wednesday. Because I get along with them. Because, in this nonmusical way, I’m one of them. I go bowling with them and then to Old Chicago’s at midnight while we have pizza and Dan drinks too much until last call at 2am. I took their pictures in the fall and I am sometimes introduced that way. “This is the girl who took our pictures on my dad’s sh—y camera! Amazing huh? Yeah, she’s great!” Or I’m the girl who gets stood up but who is made to believe it won’t matter, because she’s not a real girl, she’s a guy, and we stand each other up all the time and never care. Or I’m the girl who you talk to in between all your girlfriends, but when you get a girl, by god you don’t talk to me because she’s too insecure to imagine the fact that you might be seriously platonic. Or I’m the girl who just gets forgotten. I’m remembered for muffins (ai yai! delicious!) or theology or that damn fine dress I wore to Ahava fest (vavavooom matt!) or the fact that I live with a family of seven kids.

All these are fine things to be remembered for. Don’t get me wrong. I rocked that dress. I love the kids who climbed into my bed this morning to wake me up. I am going to seminary for theology. I like baking, I enjoy blessing people with warm gooey apple banana deliciousness on a snowy morning. But they aren’t going to get me anywhere.

Why doesn’t someone notice me?

Why don’t you see me? Why do you say you are fine being single most of the time, but there is this part of you that longs for relationship, compatibility? And when you say that, why don’t you do something about it? Me! I wanted to shout! I could have stood on the counter at that Chipotle where the little kid dumped his food on the bottom of my jeans. Me! Pick me! Or at least SEE me!

I’m like the walking dead.

We are peculiar people.

We laughed on the phone about it tonight, because it is ridiculous how this happens. She has a friend who is in love with another girl, who always tells her that they two are exactly the same. So why doesn’t he date my friend? How does that make any sense? Or why doesn’t he grow a pair and ask the other girl for dinner? Why do you waffle? Be a man! Make a plan! It was scribbled on the mirror at our apartment in Seattle when Aldrich couldn’t make up his fricking mind and I got off the phone and yelled it at my roommates and half of Ballard through the open windows over the canal.

It’s so messed up.

We’re so messed up.

There must be a song written about this somewhere.

Or a book.

Or just Genesis 3.**

swim until you can’t see land just came up again on my iPod. Maybe it’s a sign. I should go to bed. I should stop standing at the bottom of the hill, waiting for the landslide of rocks and hopes and fears.

But hope! My community has been talking about hope lately. Hope for future, for family, for relationships, for the kingdom. I have hope, you know. Someday, he’ll come along, for me and for her and he’ll notice me with the basket of muffins at his house and take them from my hands. He’ll not only say thanks, he’ll  bless me. He’ll hug me. He’ll ask me to dance in that fine dress borrowed from Abby and not even care that I have five or six left feet. He’ll chuck Grae under the chin and listen to her myriad stories, or tickle Thad and he’ll grin at me and say that someday, impatient though I am, I’ll be a good momma. He’ll think I’m crazy, because it’s true. But he won’t seem to mind too often. And though he’s a man and they’re made to be strong and stand on their own with fierce independence, he’ll open up and someday I’ll get to love him and bless him as he will have blessed me in the simple act of not looking past me to the blank wall.

Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?

Sometimes, as a stand in, I feel like a bag of sand.
Held on to for weight in the back of the truck in winter months to hold us steady on the ice.
Or let go of in summer sunshine as the hot air balloon soars to the clouds.

But today, I am human. And tomorrow too.

____

*J was 10 years older. that’s not too old. I mean men who could be my father

** “that chick you gave me…” thanks Matt Chandler. Love that paraphrase.

and a few fun quotes:
“I don’t understand why he wants to be my friend.”
“Yeah.”
“What do you mean yeah?”
“I mean, er, I don’t understand why he doesn’t want to be mine!”
“Right. That too.”

“I had to pace the whole time I was on the phone with him. My hands were shaking and my heart was beating so fast.”
“Aw, you’re cute.”
“No. I’m twelve years old. That’s not cute.”

“Who’s texting you?”
“My lesbian friend.”
“You need to be careful! (laughing) She likes you!”
“See?! (laughter) I told you I attract the wrong people!”

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