hidden hopes with telltale cheeks, and mostly giving up

Posted: March 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

One of the things that ended up helping me to stick with my resolve to truly obey the “no relationships for a year” directive was this:  Gary was clueless.

On one hand, I was sticking to my resolve to just be a friend to him, to not flirt, to not push an agenda.  On the other hand, I was quietly over the moon over him and it was often not easy to stick with my resolve not to express that.

Every morning when I was getting ready for my day, I couldn’t wait to get down to the dining room.  When I’d walk in, my eyes would go directly to the chair where he always was sitting at that time, watching the big steam table, checking his phone, smiling and talking to those passing by.  And while I was looking, I’d feel my face ignite in the terrible blush over which I have zero control.  I’d try to be all casual, try not to just be obviously looking over there, try not to be seeking his attention.  Try to just let conversation happen if it would.  Try to just let it go, if it didn’t.

Still, some mornings I just couldn’t help myself and made a beeline right over to say good morning to him.  I often wondered who in the dining room might be getting tired of watching the “Karen’s got a thing for Gary” show, despite how hard I was trying to just see him as a friend and ignore all other potentialities.  He didn’t have a clue.

There were all sorts of little conversations as we bumped into one another around the house and I just kept noticing how much we had in common.  And noticing more things to admire about him.  He was friendly and respectful and open and maybe sometimes flirtish.  And still without a clue.

One of my very closest friends finally caught me at it.  Finally took me aside to gently open the subject, at which point I pretty much poured out my heart, telling her all the things I saw in him and how much I thought of him and how deeply I hoped, come November 1, that we might move toward being something more than just friends.  I had to wonder later whether she wished she had never brought it up, because that conversation made her almost the only place I ever talked about it, other than my constant mentions of him as “the Interesting Guy” on my grats list and of course with my prayer partner during our weekly Skype meetings.  And I talked A LOT.  How does one put up with another who is so completely ga ga over a guy?

But then…he had a visitor.  For something like a week.  A woman who used her vacation time, apparently, to come stay at  JPUSA.  He referred to her as a “buddy.”  I was skeptical.  What buddy uses a week of vacation on another buddy of the opposite sex?  I tried to be friendly, saying, “hi” to her in the breakfast line.  She glared right through me like I didn’t exist.  Felt territorial to me.

Whatever.  I didn’t need to be in the middle of whatever that was.  I grumped to my girlfriend about it and announced to the grat list folks that the Interesting Guy was no longer interesting. Life was too short for such complications.

Shortly thereafter came a rapid and unexpected series of events.  My boss back in Rock Island asked me to pray about moving back to work for him again.  I agreed to pray about it, thinking to myself that I would leave Chicago about the time they were serving popsicles in hell.  But you can’t say you’ll pray about something and not actually pray about it – or at least, I can’t.

So I prayed, and then God gave me very clear signs and multiple confirmations.  His heart’s desire and mine didn’t match.  I was leaving Chicago, after all.  Going back to where I came from, with no real understanding why that should be so…just peace in the simple truth that, “because He said so,” was all the reason I really needed.

And despite my resolve to not give a shit about Gary, the truth I kept imprisoned in stony silence was that he was a HUGE hidden, unspoken cost amidst my obedience to the call.  The possibility of this guy I had now been watching, hoping big things and dreaming big dreams about for 9 months…going down the drain as I walked out the door.

I had been told repeatedly, as I was leaving, that I was welcome back if/when whatever assignment was sending me home got concluded.  With all my heart, I hoped that would happen, and soon.  I headed back to Rock Island, and my heart stayed in Chicago, Gary or no Gary.

Maybe the buddy really was just a buddy.  Maybe he’d still be around and available if or when I ever got to move back to Chicago.

I mean, probably not.  And I surely shouldn’t – WOULDN’T – put my life on hold for that possibility.

But still…maybe.

  1. laurie says:

    ♥ this story – what a great story this is to read on this day of worship

    • karen says:

      Thanks, Laurie! Part of me felt bad that i was writing about this and not an “Easter” blog. And then I was reminded of the theme…that when hope seems lost, it is often really just around the corner (and maybe bigger and more beautiful than what you guessed it might be!) So glad you are enjoying it.

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