(Yesterday I spent a lovely day with a friend. We went on a picnic and a drive through Little River Canyon. Gorgeous day, good company. (Thank you!) We were talking about how hard it is to choose a life partner, and that sometimes what we think is a good decision turns into a bad one. We both have been there. With a beautiful long relationship, followed by a shorter one with dark twists and turns. Both of us afraid to step into the next relationship, unsure of our ability to choose. We did OK the first time, but that second one. Gulp. Even with the good parts, the dark parts were awfully dark.
Since my second husband passed away, my life has undergone some of the most drastic changes of my life. I'd never lived alone for any length of time. That was a culture shock for me. I'm not afraid to live alone (I'm not afraid of much any more...except maybe snakes, ok, yeah, definitely snakes) but I don't like it. I'm not afraid to meet new people and put myself "out there" but I'm still afraid of taking that step into "a relationship." What if it's another mistake? What if it damages me as much as I was damaged in my last? I know I'm round, but really, how many times can I bounce without breaking?
I'm sort of ambiguous when asked "what do you want" when I'm filling out a dating site questionnaire. "I want to be happy. And make him happy." Beyond that, I get sort of grey with my answers. Why knows what love looks like? I can't honestly fill out a form asking for hair color (don't care if he has any, nor what color or where it is), body shape (love makes anyone beautiful), eye color (so long as they're willing to gaze into mine with honesty and devotion, I couldn't care less) or annual salary (you can't buy the things that matter, money is wonderful, but I can't imagine any relationship decision made on money having any lasting quality). Don't care if his teeth sleep in a glass on a shelf, so long as he has them. Don't care what he drives, so long as he knows how to fix it if it breaks (I can't, and if we're poor we can't afford to hire a mechanic). Don't care where he lives (although I do love my house and neighbors, I'd relocate to follow my heart almost anywhere). You'd think it would be easy to find someone to fit into that vaguely shaped gray outline wouldn't you? But it's not. Because, on some things I'm adamant. There is no grey, there is only black and white. And the things I care about are rarely on a dating profile questionnaire. The person that fits into my outline has to have a good soul. A happy heart. A kind outlook on life. An open mind. Has to truly enjoy laughing. And most of all, be open to loving their partner with everything they are. ("Must love dogs" isn't just a movie title in my life either.)
Those men are hard to find. Some have none of those must-haves. Some have some. Few have all. I've gotten all upbeat over meeting someone who shares my views on life and is intelligent enough to want to converse on myriad subjects...only to discover the untenable flaws as time went by. I read a bumper sticker once that said "Before you choose a mate, untangle Christmas lights with him." I laughed then, but that's not a bad idea. I don't want to be with someone with whom every bump in the road brings a dramatic outburst that takes me way too quickly back to childhood moments with my drama queen parents. If we're together, we can get through anything. Tangled lights, bad medical report, spilled perfume, dog poop in the floor. No biggie. We can laugh together through most of it and cry together through the rest. Either way, we get through it together.
I also don't want to be with someone who can't see the sunshine for the rain. I'm not a Suzy Sunshine by any stretch of the imagination. I have my ups and downs just like everybody else. But I do try to put as good a spin on "disasters" as possible. We had a flat? Good thing we didn't pack too much stuff in the back over the spare tire, eh? Not, "oh my God! We have to take everything out. And it's hot. And...waaaah." If it rains on our parade, there's no reason to whine or kick something, just get a bigger umbrella we can sit underneath together. We'll still have fun! We're together. We have problems? I'll push, you pull. We'll get there.
I also can't live with someone who can't be tolerant of other people's views and opinions. I don't care who you do or don't pray to, so long as you practice the teachings of Jesus (tolerance, peace and love). I don't care who you vote for, so long as you are tolerant of the views of those who didn't vote that way (especially me). However sure you are of your opinions, someone else will be just as sure of the opposite. And they have the right to that without argument. (I hate arguments, someone who wants to fight, argue, yell, threaten, preach, teach, and shake their finger in my face will NEVER find their way into my heart again. EVER.) The kind heart is a deal-breaker. If you wouldn't stop and pick up a tiny wet puppy from the middle of a busy highway, when it's starting to sleet and snow, then you won't be happy with me. Because I will. (If we are together and you refuse, you're going to witness a hissy fit to end all hissy fits.)
With all that said, I'm not sure it's meant for me to find someone to finish up the last of my life with. I'm not willing to be swayed on any of those black and white issues. After living with someone who filled so very many of them, but not quite all, I know how important each one is to me now.
Today is the anniversary of my second husband's death. We had some very very good times together that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and some that were not very good at all. I grieved his passing, and I mark this anniversary with tears. For both of us. (The right man would also understand that grieving the passing of a past love has nothing to do with the hope for happiness in our future together.)
And I wrote this song...(Please imagine it sung in Paul Thorn style)
I'M NOT THAT LONELY. YET.
c. By Bobbye L. Hudspeth
1. Yesterday and tomorrow; Enemies and friends.
The past and the future; Beginnings and ends.
Life’s a tapestry woven in colors so true
All made up of the choices fate made for you.
Laughter and sadness; Sunshine and rain
Loving and hating and smiles that hide pain
Can’t help but wonder what might have been
Will it be different if I start again?
Cause the Lord knows I’m lonely and I don’t like this road
Don’t like walking alone and I’m tired of this load
Sometimes I want to start over; leave behind my regrets
Sometimes I want to just end it…but I’m not that lonely. Yet.
2. I wake up each morning and I look out the window
And I wonder what each day will bring
I do all of my chores, then I do all of yours,
These days I have to do everything.
Then that night the darkness brings thoughts to my mind
Of happier days and happier times
And I think of just closing my eyes that last time
But then dreams of the future will creep in my mind.
'Cause the Lord knows I’m lonely, and I don’t like this road
I don’t like walking alone, and I’m tired of this load
My heart says do whatever it takes to forget
Then my soul reminds me, I’m not that lonely. Yet.
With the roll of a dice or the turn of a card
There’s choices made easy and choices made hard
We are what life makes us out of which road we chose
We decide to feel the thorn or we can see the rose.
My heart say do whatever it takes to forget...
Then my soul reminds me, I'm not that lonely. Yet.
"I have become the world's biggest Paul Thorn fan. I'd never heard of him until I saw mention of him on someone's dating profile. Seriously, I learn the weirdest and coolest things from just reading dating profiles of men I will never meet. I Googled him, then checked him out on YouTube and I have been mesmerized ever since. My Pandora has a "Paul Thorn" channel now. The only single person channel on my list except for my other crush, Randy Travis. Paul's voice lacks the deep soul-stirring timbre of Randy's, but both of their songwriting talent blows me away. And now that Randy is no long recording (bless him) I needed some new stuff to keep me going. Paul is providing that. In spades. He's a fabulous guitar player, very bluesy with a bit of rock and roll and...well, do a YouTube search, see for yourself.
Not only is he my new favorite musical artist, he must be one of the funniest men in the world. His banter between sets has me giggling like a lunatic and just the titles of his songs are enough to put a grin on your face. "Pimps and Preachers," "I Don't Like Half the Folks I Love," "Buckskin Jones's Illegitimate Son," "Joanie the Jehovah's Witness Stripper," and "Old Stray Dogs and Jesus" are the ones that stuck in my mind. His background was growing up with a Pentecostal preacher father, which shows up in a lot of his songs, whether he's singing about praising Jesus or poking fun at some of the people he met along the way. He's cut several Southern gospel records, and his voice fits them perfectly.
His slow southern drawl is a more perfect fit though with some of his somewhat bawdy stories. Like the one where he broke up with his girlfriend because he thought she was cheating. Then decided he wanted her back. "Well", she said, "I will come back to you after Monday."" Why Monday," he asked. "I'm going on a ski weekend with a friend this weekend and when we get back you and I will get together." Monday comes, they get together and they start to have sex. And he sees a hickey "on her ass cheek." Ski trip with a "friend"....riiiiight. "But," he drawls, "It didn't stop me. I just turned her over." ("I Bet He Knows")
Another was discussing that first time with a new lover. How you have all that buildup, all that excitement. "Oh baby," he says in that low sexy voice. "This is going to be so good. Wasn't it?"
That's how my life has seemed. So much anticipation, so much planning and working to make things happen...then all of a sudden it's over. I'm determined to take things slower. Enjoy more of the "dash." You know that story? How on a tombstone someone's life is summed up as "December 10, 1956-January 18, 2012." Those dates are important, birth and death...but who you are is all summed up in that dash. An entire life in a tiny little -. We've all wasted too much of our dash already. Make the most of whatever is left! Don't sweat the little stuff. Just roll 'er over.
THAT'S MY STORY
I've never been normal. I've never tried to be. I can't imagine anything more boring.
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