Know thy enemy…
“Every town has its up and downs. Sometimes ups out number the downs, as the narrator in Disney’s Robin Hood puts it. And having moved ten times in ten years, I can attest to the truth in that. In the city there are big city problems: traffic, scheduling, re-routing do to street repairs. Because most people in the city are completely into themselves, there are very rarely actual relational problems…at least that are spoken out loud about.
In a small town there are different problems. Sure there is small traffic (add five minuets to your travel time during peak hours) and constant construction (at least that is what is happening all over mine at the moment), but there is one thing you just can’t avoid – everybody knows everybody or thinks they do.
Most of the time knowing everyone is really great…but sometimes, it really isn’t. In my case it is a mix of both. I have been in my new home for a week. One week. I have already been confronted with old friends and unresolved problems. (Here is a hint, never run away from a problem with a human face, inevitably it will come to haunt you when you don’t expect it). What does this mean? Well, let me name three of mine: Adam, Nick, and Ryan (names have been changed for privacy…it’s a small town people!)
Well, Adam has been a friend from college…exactly ten years now actually. And I think the world of him. He is successful at his job, has traveled the world, and is wicked smart…not bad looking either. I have always respected his opinions and know him to be someone to tell me the truth no matter how much it hurts. That is one of the things I admire about him. But, we differ on some vital issues in life…mostly just one – I am a Christian and he is…well…not. And yet, I actually care about what he thinks about my life and where I am going. But, I am faced with the conundrum of why? We evaluate life and its challenges differently. So, how can his assessments really matter? We base decisions on different scales? Nevertheless, he is asked to meet to catch up. Which I am really looking forward to, but part of me wants to not go because I don’t want to hear, “You’re so smart, why have you not done more with your life? Your peers are doing great things, why have you not?” Shoot me now!
So, in preparation for this I have thought about answers (yes, I am planner, can you tell?) First, those lives I have worked most closely with I have impacted greater than he ever has his subordinates. I know I have changed the lives of countless youth because of where God put me. For that I am proud. I have managed a successful yearlong campaign raising money and awareness to combat human trafficking…something bigger than me that doesn’t help grow my career path. I have done more than my current CV may lead on – because most has been unpaid. So, Adam, get off your high horse and know that I am proud of my choices. And God does not abandon the work of His hands, so there is something big and powerful coming for me in my life.
Well, that felt good just to write…now if only I can stick to my guns.
Then there is Nick, the real dilemma for me. Nick I have known for as long as I can remember. He is a great guy; however misguided he has been in his adult life. He is my friend. And because he is my friend, I stand by him, even when he does crappy things to me. He has been in my face (divine appointments I am sure) this past week, even though I didn’t/don’t want to see him. Funny, PD told me I would be learning to know my enemy. I am finding my enemy is my head, my heart and my flesh. Nick challenges all these without realizing any of it. You see, we left things in a bad place a few years ago. Talk about not wanting to see people…he was my number one do not want to see…and the first person I saw. He is going through a crappy time and I have compassion for him. But, truth be told I don’t know how to help him…and he has reached out for it. So, knowing that he is looking for compassion, forgiveness, and hope as a Christian I am faced with the test of unconditional love. Do I help the person who hurt me so deeply or do I let it go? Answer…PRAY! Pray through every response and keep turning to the Word. Which is what I did as he talked to me today.
Then there is Ryan. Talk about an all-around good guy (yes, I actually have guy problems!) You may or may not know but I am a virgin who dates for a mate…which translates to I don’t date you if I know right off it won’t work. This has led to a very dry spell…like five years of no one asking me out. And there is good reason. You see, research says most divorce happens over religion, sex and money. As I am only getting married once, I find those things important. If you are not a Christian I won’t date you (we are unequally yoked and we make decisions on two different scales…so why bother?) If you’re not willing to wait till marriage…well life will suck for you because I am so, I won’t date you. If you are not working or actively searching, you don’t care enough about taking care of yourself, much less me, so I won’t date you. At my age, that limits the fish in the pool substantially. So what does this have to do with Ryan? Good question.
I have known Ryan since high school. We did a musical together (if his buddies at work knew I sure there would be complete heckling…for days and days!!!) But, we lost touch over the years and only recently reconnected a few months ago…before the move. But he is this small town and as a friend we have hung out…a lot actually. That is until he left for training for work (to be gone a few months). In that time, he has taken a keen liking to me…and honestly, I him. Good guy and good dad. Problem. He isn’t a Christian. There are some other things too, but this isn’t a blog about him, so I’ll leave those out. But, and this is big for me…he asked me on a date! Yep a real date. Not one where the guy expects to get lucky, not because he thinks I am hot or smart (usually those things are separately) but because he likes me. Just crazy kookie me. If this doesn’t sound that crazy, add in the fact that I haven’t been on a date in five years…nay, I haven’t been asked on a date in that long! Talk about a dry spell. I said yes, for those of you who are curious. And I am excited about it. But in true form, I have analyzed the heck out of it and keep going back and forth. The real kicker…the date isn’t till he is done with training…in October. Talk about giving me time to get into my own head. But, the gentleman that he is, gets it and is super great about it. So I really know he is a great guy. I am lucky. Now if only I can get out of my head.
Who knew it would take me coming home for all this? And at the same time the job hunt continues. The freelance work continues. And getting settled continues. My life the saga…to be continued…
This is really just getting some thoughts out there. Not really sure it did anything other than show me that one of my worst enemies is myself. My pride (Adam), my heart (Nick) and my head (Ryan). How do you fight this awful enemy that is so very very close? Prayer…and lots of it. Scripture…and more and more of it. And faith – for I know who goes before me and who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side. And thank Heaven for that!!! So, I guess…We’re in the thick of it now kids!