Have you ever been knocked out of your comfort zone so greatly, knowing it was a good thing – but felt as though you could not find normalcy again? There is so much in the world that goes against the grain and even as we surround ourselves with good and positive things, there are people or events that can throw our walk off balance.
When that happens - when you need the validation that you are a person just like everyone else in this world – and that you are okay, normalcy can come back to us easily or we can make it harder by striving for it. I love the quote by Thoreau, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
And one of my favorite lessons in the Bible is how Jesus’ yoke is “easy” and His burden, light. How often have I been reminded of this as I journey along. I have strived so hard toward things only to be hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall when it was always easier than I thought.
The moments that I would take a step back and listen to that small voice inside me, as I learned patience in waiting and being silent, the things in my life became clearer.
Another idiom I have used recently is about trying to fit a ‘square peg into a round hole’. I have learned that if there is too much of a struggle – it is not meant for be. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I understand about working hard for something. I understand that reaching goals take effort. I am all for making effort, and feeling productive toward something, but what I mean by the struggle is the inward struggle - the unrest, the lack of peace. That is where we get off balance.
For over three years now, I have been taking little plunges. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Plunging, diving in - sounds forceful and the word ‘little’ doesn’t seem to fit beside the word ‘plunge’. However, when you are taking steps toward something even though it is small to others, it may be gigantic to you – that is what I call a ‘little plunge’.
Going on a date is no big deal, right? Talking to someone new over the phone – still not a big deal. Yet it felt like Gibraltar to me. To let someone that close again. I had moved far from the pain of a scorned woman. I had moved past the initial fears of trusting again. What made getting ‘back in the saddle again’ so hard for me, was my expectations.
It wasn’t about being ready, it wasn’t about not trusting. It was more about – what do I do with it? That seemed to be the largest freak-out monument blocking my path. It kept me from ‘just doing it’.
I had heard that you shouldn’t search for a special someone in your life and that it will ‘just happen’. So I have let that paralyze me in dating at all. The moment that I let myself off the hook was when I decided that I didn’t have to have Mr. Right – but that I could enjoy ‘Mr. Right now’. And yet, when I heard myself say that and also had encouraged friends with this same advice – it almost sounded “using”. I didn’t want to do that either.
I don’t know how to be superficial - I feel things too deeply. But I am not looking to have a ring on my finger for quite some time. So how do you date without pushing for ‘forever’ and still get to know someone that could be a potential ‘forever down the road’? And not be a serial dater using people or jumping in and out of meaningless relationships? You know what is in the back of your mind even if it’s not time in your life – so you tend to put off dating until the very person that you could see yourself with longterm surfaces.
I have teetered back and forth with the online dating thing. I have tried to get to know people in church. It was all just too hard. The butterfly would not land on my shoulder.
A few months ago, I was on my balcony having my meditative time with God and a butterfly fluttered around so quickly and kissed my cheek. That was symbolic to me. Then a few weeks ago, a humming bird came up to me during my time with God on my balcony and fluttered in place just looking at me. This was not so quick – he stared me in the face for over a minute. I was in awe just watching him and we were eye to eye. These things were very spiritual to me.
While talking to God and being so personal with Him, it was as though The Most High came down to my balcony where we visit and He looked me straight in the eye and let me behold His beauty; His face. And He kissed me. When the butterfly had swooped in so quickly, it was when I was feeling pretty lonely. I love how God can come in so easily when we are heavy with struggles we bring on ourselves.
I knew then that He was telling me to be still and not fret and worry. But to look at Him – really look at Him and focus on His beauty. Happiness would come to me and land on my shoulder – or my cheek!
But I already felt happy. I have already been in a place of contentment. To me, I was not lacking anything – I just was not dating and I was pushing it away or I was sabotaging it by making stupid moves striving for something that wasn’t mine and I knew it. It was like running to the edge of the pool ready to make a big splash and then stopping right at the edge and saying, “Just kidding! I don’t really want to get wet!”
When I accepted that I didn’t have to jump in and make a big splash, and that it was okay to stick my toe in the water; soon after - the words of Delmar, from O Brother Where Art Thou came to me, “Come on in, the water’s fine” (it came to me in a text on my phone as I planned to meet um… “Delmar”).
Meeting at Starbucks for green teas was a little plunge. It was nice. The water was very fine. It was “easy”. There was no square peg. This doesn’t have to be anything more for me than what it is. A time in my life to step out in an area that I have been avoiding and realize it isn’t Gibraltar.
When I think of taking a plunge, I think of the Nestea commercial when the person ‘takes the Nestea plunge’ and falls into a pool of water. Even though Delmar and I did order tea at Starbucks, it was nice to not feel that I had to make a big splash. I was just me, meeting a new friend and enjoying myself and this little plunge.