Sunday, January 22, 2012
I Love You...But...
Valentine's Day is coming. Some of you might be like, "Yay! I love Valentine's Day!!!". Some of you may be like me with respect to the big day-O-love...I'm kind of like, "Meh...*shrug*...it's Valentine's day". I know I sound like Debbie Downer, but it's all just a bunch of fluff and junk holiday-wise for me. Don't get me wrong, if the man I love wants to give me presents, then by all means, dish them out. I'll take them on February 16th or August 2...I'm not at all particular when it comes to timing.
"So why so negative, Whitney? Why don't you like Valentine's Day?" It's not that I'm totally anti-Valentine's Day, people. Besides, it was just a segue into today's topic.
LOVE. You know?...L-O-V-E...the four letter word that you can say and your mom won't wash your mouth out with Lever 2000? Do you ever really think about it much? I went to church again today and love was all they talked about. It wasn't just about the fuzzy, cuddly love feeling that we all get from "the one" we love. It was about loving your neighbor. Some of you might say, "Again, Whitney? Didn't we just read a blog about this?" Some of you probably did. I think it was eloquently titled, "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR?...NOW WHY THE CRAP WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?" It was one of my finer blog posts. Oh, and PS...I think it was like a year ago that I wrote that, so you're due for another dose of me ranting about how you should love other people in your life. Notice how I excluded myself from that sentence. That was an accident.
I probably need the "love your neighbor" factor in my life more than most people. I just sat through an entire sermon on "loving my neighbor" in church, got home, and within the first hour of being home my "neighbor" brought their dogs over to my yard to do their business. I felt like going out there and saying, "I love you, neighbor. Now can you please get your damn dog out of my yard and take him over to your own yard to crap up your own lawn?" Of course I would've tried my hardest to say this in my most loving tone possible.
It is hard for me to love people sometimes. I've concluded that it's because on some human-to-human level we are all somewhat "unlovable". As people we are kind of annoying and unpredictable. We all have frustrating habits and behaviors. We probably all think we are way cooler than we really are, and that in and of itself can be super annoying.We're quirky, and imperfect. The fact that we can ever actually fall in love with other people deep enough to marry them is actually quite stunning to me. Then again...I'm divorced! Likely related to everything I have mentioned in this paragraph!
Some of you might know that my boyfriend is gearing up to move down here to Colorado from Alaska. Although I have wanted this for quite some time, it became very apparent to me during his last visit here that there was a big change that was coming--and I kind of started flipping out a little.
I've been single for three years. Prior to this I was married for 8 years, and spent the majority of it wishing that I was single due to the fact that my ex husband and I were not a very good match. I like being by myself. I think that a big contributing factor to this is that I kind of find other people annoying. And don't get me wrong...I know I'm annoying as well. This is not a blog about me being God's gift to humanity among a sea of flawed commoners.
Back to my boyfriend, him moving here, and me flipping out. Tristan is one of the sweetest men I've ever met. He has the kindest heart. He would never hurt anyone intentionally. We've known each other for 14+ years, and it started out with us just being good friends in college. We are complete opposites. He is quiet, sweet, caring, etc. I am someone who can be all of those things, but can also not be those things. I'm very opinionated, I can be loud, I speak my mind probably more often than I should, and I have a temper. The temper part is genetically inherited from my family. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. "So what is the problem here, Whitney? Sounds like you're lucky you found such a nice guy to put up with all of your crappy behavior!" True, true. But this is where the flipping out part comes in...
The last time Tristan was here we had a great time. It was very nice to see him, and we had a great time celebrating Christmas with my family. However, it was different than any other visit that we've had. He's moving here. HE'S MOVING HERE. All of the sudden I started to panic. The conversation in my head has been a little like this:
"What if this is it? What if we end up staying together? What if I end up not being single anymore? But I like being single! Single is good! It's what I wanted for most of my 8 years of marriage, remember?! What if I have to learn how to incorporate someone else into my daily life? I don't know if I can do this! I've never had to do it because he lived 3,000 miles away in Palmer, Alaska! But I love him! But OMG OMG OMG...can I do this?"
It's been a very bipolar conflict going on in my head. It's the "I love you, but..." phenomenon.
I started noticing that something was very different during this visit with Tristan. Things I hadn't noticed before started becoming "Big Things". This went both ways. I remember standing in front of my kitchen sink one day, putting some cereal bowls in the sink, filling them with water so the leftover food wouldn't stick to them, and Tristan saying, "NOoooooo!!!! Why did you do that? That's gross!" I was like, "What do you mean it's gross?...it's water in a cereal bowl." He totally wigged. He has issues with wet, dirty dishes. He doesn't want to touch them once they're in the sink. Then it happened to me--we were doing the dishes that night and he dumped all the gross crap from the dinner plates into the trash. I was like, "Why are you doing that? Why do I have a garbage disposal if you're just going to throw that all in my trash can? Don't you know how bad my trash is going to smell if you fill it up with food?" Then to make matters worse, I backed up into the trash can (because it was out on the floor so he could scrape plates off--it's normally under my sink), and the trash fell over and all that food garbage ended up on my nice clean wood floor. I was frustrated. I didn't understand the "scraping your plate off into the trash" thing.
It didn't stop there. Things just started to compile. He would take a shower and place my bath mat perpendicular to my bath rug so it kind of made a "T" shape. I was like, "Why do you put the bath mat that way? It's a perfect fit over the top of the bath rug, but you put it the opposite direction. Why? WHY? WHY? WHY?" He told me that as the shower door swung open that it dripped, so if the rug was set perpendicular then it would catch those drips that would otherwise end up on the tile. It frustrated me. The bath mat didn't fit/look right that way. The next thing I noticed was that he brushes his teeth without getting his toothbrush wet first. HOW CAN ANYONE DO THAT? I finally sat down with him one day and my eyes seriously welled up with tears and I was like, "I know that this is all very petty stuff, but if you hate the way I fill up the cereal bowls with water and all my other quirks, and I can't handle you putting my bath mat perpendicular to my bath rug and all of your other quirks WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!!!" He thought this was hysterical and was just laughing at me. However, I've been married before, and when all that mushy love stuff wears off you're left with perpendicular bath mats and cereal bowls filled with water and it can literally kill a relationship.
"So Whitney, what does all this have to do with love and your neighbor?" A lot actually. Technically Tristan is going to be my neighbor now. He's going to live down the road from me. There are probably going to be a thousand more quirks we discover over the coming months. Hopefully learning how to deal with them will "make" us and not "break" us. I also still obviously have a lot to learn about love--whether it be with how to love my boyfriend properly, or how to love my neighbor. I need to learn how to squelch that "little devil" that resides inside of me--that keeps me from loving others at times. You may think that "little devil" is just something to give you a visual, but those same neighbors who brought their dogs across the street to my lawn today did the same thing yesterday. Only yesterday it was 60 degrees and they had their car parked outside with their sunroof open and I wanted to scoop the dog crap up in a bag and see if I could make a three-pointer shot into the top of their car with it. See...I have some wicked in my soul. I don't know if you saw my blog on my gripe with Verizon Wireless, but I also wanted to ninja body slam the guy at Verizon counter two weeks ago. I have my moments...
Today's church topic was about how love originates and is a gift freely given from God and loving your neighbor as yourself. I am thankful that we have such an amazing example of love through God and Jesus Christ and hope that someday I'll be better at implementing it when it comes to my relationships with other people. Every day is a chance to work on refining and perfecting that love. It's hard for me to picture God launching dog poo in the top of someone's open sunroof, or wanting to strangle His creation behind the Verizon Wireless counter. It's hard for me to picture Him holding the fact that Tristan doesn't use water on his toothbrush against him, or not loving me because I fill dirty cereal bowls with water. I hope someday I can see the world through God's eyes. That will be a great day. :)