a shift from freaked out to something safer

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

It was time for Cornerstone Music Festival – the last one ever!  I was excited and sad.  Couldn’t wait to reconnect with the people I only ever see there and serve beside my JPUSA family (and, oh yeah, hear some music too).  The summer before when had I served, I had still lived at JPUSA but known I was moving soon.  Gary’s tent had been just up the hill from mine, and I had done my level best not to run into him there, my mind being set on moving forward unhindered into the move home that God was unexpectedly asking me to make.

 

This year at the festival, I’d be spending time with Gary.  What did that mean?  How would it go?  Would we just talk as friends, like we always had before?  Would his knowing my feelings change that?  And if it did, how was I going to respond?  Some days I was excited about it.  Some days I wanted to tell him never mind about that spending time together business. 

 

So basically I was kind of a wreck about it – about HIM – by the time I got to the festival.

 

But then…he didn’t get to come after all.  First, it was maybe just a delay, but in the end, he couldn’t be spared back at the house – he was needed in the dining room too much.  He wouldn’t be making it to the festival at all.  I didn’t know whether to be frustrated or relieved. 

 

But now this was a different Gary I was dealing with, as we texted back and forth, me from the festival, him from home, and as he even called me up to talk.  Not just chatting along like a buddy.  This was Gary in open pursuit – talking to me like a girlfriend, not just a friend – which freaked me out even more.  Because I wanted it SO MUCH and I was so sure that it was pointless to want it at all.    

 

After a few days of mentally chasing my tail in circles, I decided to get help.  I cornered a wise friend – one of the JPUSA coordinators, and told her what was going on, as briefly as I knew how to tell.  Told her I didn’t know how to respond.  I live in Davenport, I pointed out, and he is in Chicago.  And it is so important to me not to play games, so important that he not get hurt, and I just don’t know what to do.  Don’t know how to be.  Just don’t know. 

 

What I expected was for her to nicely, lovingly tell me to leave him alone, to back away, to make a quick and graceful exit from his life in the most direct possible manner.  You don’t live there anymore, I thought she’d say, and unless and until you do, don’t mess around with this. 

 

But that wasn’t what she said.

 

Instead, she counseled me about being sober-minded, noted that she didn’t want EITHER of us to get hurt, and encouraged me to be prayerful and careful. 

 

Oh!

 

Sober minded.  Those were words that helped me more than I know how to quantify – that STILL help me daily.  It’s easy to get confused about vague things.   Sober minded is not a vague term to me.  Though I tend not to know my own mind on many fronts (being a recovering queen of denial), if you ask me whether I’m being sober minded, I can stop, measure, and know instantly.  If I’m wallowing around in ooey gooey feelings, I’m not sober minded.  If I’m indulging in romantic fantasy (no matter whether it’s x-rated or even just the g-rated stuff), I’m not sober minded.  If I’m avoiding today, here and now in favor of imagining someday, somewhere far away, I’m not sober minded.  If I’m dwelling on wishes, wants, feelings and desires and not measuring it all by God’s standards, I’m not sober minded.  If I’m busy being turned on at the idea that I turn someone on, I’m definitely not sober minded.  Sober minded means looking to God, remaining calm, stepping away from the whirlwind, choosing wisdom over emotion or desire.  Sober minded means living with my life on an open hand, not clenched in my fist or twirled around above my head.

 

So I took her very good counsel back with me to my tent that night and prayed myself to sleep.  The next morning when he started texting me at sunrise, I stopped avoiding the subject.  I was direct.  I finally acknowledged that I knew my friend had talked with him…knew that he was aware of my feelings.  I wasn’t confused or afraid anymore.  My head was clear, and I felt glad and strong in the Lord…like it was all going to be okay. I brought that business of the sober mind right to the front of the conversation, where Gary was quick to embrace it.  Some of my buttons (of the un-sober mind sort) had been getting pushed in our earlier conversations.  I let him know that, and his immediate gentle response made me feel…treasured.  Safe. 

 

I wasn’t used to feeling those things in the framework of so-called romantic relationships. 

 

Maybe this was going to be something different, something new for me.

 

Maybe. 

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