Gratitude

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ~Seneca

I feel gratitude right now. I have felt it before, sometime in college when I realized how lucky I was to have the family I have. Not everyone is so lucky. I didn’t always know that. As is so often true I suppose, I didn’t know it until I needed them. You don’t realize that someone is there to catch you until you fall.

I felt that same gratitude with every hardship I faced, until slowly I learned to stand on my own two feet. I stopped falling, or at least falling so hard.

I feel gratitude again now. I waited a long time for the man who would elicit such a feeling. Truthfully, I didn’t know exactly what I was waiting for, just as you don’t know what the best day of your life will be like until you’re living it.

My sister-in-law gave me a card once. I can’t remember the reason for the card… a birthday maybe. But I do remember what it said. I saved the card and committed the message to memory. It was meant to encourage me–to give me strength to continue waiting. She had waited and found my brother. She knew I was waiting too. The quote was from the movie “How to Make an American Quilt”. It was an excerpt of this:

I know our marriage has as good of a chance of being wonderful as it does missing the mark.  However, I’m banking on our love for each other to weigh a bit heavier on the wonderful side. As Anna says about making a quilt, you have to choose your combination carefully. The right choices will enhance your quilt. The wrong choices will dull the colors, hide their original beauty. There are no rules you can follow. You have to go by your instinct.  And you have to be brave.

Today I’m stepping back to look at my quilt. It’s wonderful. I chose my colors well. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s warm and comforting. At the center of the quilt is the man I chose. Surrounded by him are a wonderful and bright little boy, my step-son; a loving mother-in-law who would give us the world if she could; her husband, who is endlessly patient and kind; and two dogs, full of personality and quirks.  The backing of the quilt is my family, who support and love the colors I’ve chosen. In pieces, we’re chaotic, but sewn together, we make sense. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s my quilt.

I am walking through life, wrapped in soft armor. And I know who to thank for it…

Life is so, so sweet

For the second day in a row, at 6:30 pm, give or take 10 minutes, I opened the door to our house and was hit by the smell of a hot, home cooked meal. And I was greeted by smiles from the most handsome man I know and his precious little boy. Tension melted off my shoulders and I became acutely aware of how happy I was to be home.

How happy I was that this was my home.

How lucky I was that I found him.

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If you had asked me a year ago where I would be this July, I never would have guessed that I would have moved to Colorado Springs, be engaged to a Navy fighter pilot, and be learning to be a mom. My life has shifted 180 degrees, in the direction I’ve always wanted it to go but couldn’t take it there alone. And I can now confirm that what I always believed turned out to be true… that it would be easy when I met the right man. That everything would fall into place and I would “just know”. That my priorities would shift and I wouldn’t be so career-focused. That everything would make sense.

What I didn’t know, however, was that it is possible to be in a relationship and to be in love every day. It is possible to be in a relationship and to be perfectly content with life… to be free of anxiety and doubt. I didn’t know what it was like to trust someone fully. I had always felt the need to hold something back… love or time or (sadly) money… to protect myself. I had never met the man I could invest in fully and throw caution to the wind. Until now.

But now, here I am, coming home to a home cooked meal on the days that I work and he doesn’t. And I sometimes come home to find flowers on the table for me, just because… or a refrigerator stocked with foods that he doesn’t eat, like Greek yogurt and hummus. And I always come home to a man who greets me with a smile and is as excited to spend the evening together as I am.

And have I mentioned how handsome he is??

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I have found such joy in simplicity. Such fulfillment in being a part of a family. Just this morning, Little Man followed me around the kitchen, still in his pajamas, giving me hugs every few minutes. I stopped what I was doing and knelt down for a full-on hug, where he rested his head on my shoulder, and overflowed my heart. Just a hug. Who knew that was all it would take.

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Life is so, so sweet. I am so blessed.

 

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The Search for a Cowboy

If you’ve read any of what I’ve written, you know that I appreciate and attempt to live by an old-school value system that came from my old-school upbringing. I don’t run across a lot of other people my age who grew up on a ranch, attended a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher for kindergarten through eighth grade….  and ate lunches comprised of vegetables from the garden washed in water from a livestock tank to avoid going to the house and being put down for a nap. So now that I’m an adult (and a contemplative one at that), I’ve thought a lot about how my upbringing has translated into my search for a husband.

Or really… my search for a cowboy.

I’m speaking metaphorically when I say that, because I’m not actually looking for a man with a big belt buckle who saddles up a horse to start the day’s work. Rather, I’m looking for a certain mentality. I’m looking for the way in which a man conducts himself, and the standard he holds himself to. You see, there are certain traits that I associate with cowboys, and those are the traits that capture my attention and command my respect. Those are the traits that cause me to put a man on a pedestal and look at him with admiration in my eyes. This list is not comprehensive, by any means, but it’s a good start.

A cowboy lives by a code of honor. Somewhere along the way, people pick up a set of rules or principles to live by. Sometimes their parents give it to them. Sometimes it comes from an influential figure, or maybe even the military or an amazing coach. But this code of honor guides a man to do what is honorable, whether or not it’s easy. For example, a student’s code of honor requires that the work he turns in be his own. A soldier’s code of honor requires him to stand and fight rather than deserting his fellow soldiers. A father’s code of honor requires him to protect and teach his children to the best of his ability. A cowboy looks for the appropriate honor code and upholds it without needing to talk about it or be praised for it. He does it because it makes him a man.

The code of honor really encompasses everything that follows, but I think it’s worth detailing them anyway.

A cowboy has good work ethic. He does what is necessary to get a job done. He takes pride in his work. Simply good enough is simply not good enough.

A cowboy is compassionate to children and animals. He recognizes that he has a duty to those who cannot help themselves, and he gladly shoulders that responsibility. I’ve never met a true cowboy who didn’t play with children or love a good dog. I’ve never met a true cowboy who was cruel to his horses. In fact, a cowboy will take any measures necessary to correct a man who is abusing his power and strength with those weaker than himself. He defends the weak, and he’s not afraid to teach a lesson that needs to be taught to those who don’t.

A cowboy respects women. Men and women are different by God’s design. It’s unfortunate, in my opinion, that society has worked so hard to mask those differences. But a cowboy sees and appreciates them, and cherishes a woman for the ways in which she differs from himself. Now don’t get me wrong… not all women conduct themselves in a way that warrants respect, in which case, a cowboy simply moves on. But when he does find a good woman, he knows how to treat her.

A cowboy respects his elders. At some point in his life, he will slowly take over the responsibility of caring for his parents in the ways that they used to care for him. He will value their wisdom, listen to their stories, and cherish the time he has to bridge the gap between generations before that opportunity is gone.

A cowboy makes no apologies for being a man. Even in the midst of a society that has devalued masculinity, a cowboy remains masculine. He recognizes that it’s in a woman’s nature to test him and make sure he won’t break… make sure he has the strength to be her man. (Forgive us. We don’t even know we do it sometimes.) Men are naturally more inclined to be competitive, to enjoy sports or the great outdoors or whatever their particular “thing” might be. A cowboy embraces what’s in his nature, pursues his interests and desires, and is a better husband, father, friend because of it.

A cowboy is prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually to fight for what is right. That means he protects his family, stands up for what he believes in, and fights for his country if necessary. And he takes the steps necessary to make sure that he can.

A cowboy is humble. He recognizes that even if he has spent a lifetime working tirelessly toward his goals, he is still thankful for his health and good fortune. He doesn’t look down on others and doesn’t forget to count his blessings.

A cowboy has quiet strength. I’ve found that the strongest of men are sometimes the ones you’d least expect. That’s because they’re humble (see above). And you only learn how strong they are when they are tested. You learn just how much of a rock a man is when you push on him, attempting to move him. A cowboy will allow you to push, but when you reach his limits, you’ll be stopped in your tracks and no amount of pushing will budge him. The loud one in a room… the boastful one… is not a cowboy.

Lastly, a cowboy has courage. Winston Churchill said “courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” Without courage, a person cannot hold themselves to any of the standards listed above, because inevitably his convictions will be tested. Courage will be required to stay the path, to uphold his code, to fight for his beliefs, and to withstand pain because sometimes life delivers pain. To recognize your own faults and correct them requires courage. Even to love requires a great deal of courage. A cowboy has enough of it.

So there you have it. The man I seek is a cowboy, not by occupation or dress, but by the qualities I’ve listed. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of cowboys in my generation, but once in a great while, one will appear. He might be a business owner, a salesman, a construction worker, an accountant, or a pilot. But regardless of how he looks on the outside, he’s saddling up and riding for the brand… a true cowboy at heart.

Bravo to all of you who are.

My grandfather and his brothers, the Blair boys. Their parents are on the left.

I walked across the highway and stepped back in time

This is my second day at the ranch and it’s a beautiful day as South Dakota winter days go. Forty degrees and sunny, with a chilly breeze. I decided it was a perfect day for a walk, and even before I made it up the hill leading away from the house, I knew it would be more than just a walk. It would be healing. It needed to be healing.

I’ve been heartbroken once. Recently, I went through another failed relationship, and while I can’t say that I was broken, I was bruised. I was hurt enough to have a few tearful days and some bitterness. Today I’m content, but not yet at peace. I’m limping back into cautious optimism, but I’m not there yet. So I set out on today’s walk, seeking healing.

I first walked south, past the barns and shops, past all the ranch vehicles and horse trailers and tractors, toward the mailbox at the highway. It’s about a mile long walk to the highway, and all the way there and all the way back, I just thought. I looked inward and I thought. I searched for fault in my actions and lapses in my judgment with this most recent relationship. I searched for the answer to the question ‘what should I have done differently’. I didn’t find the answer, maybe because I was not at fault… or maybe because I can’t yet see the forest through the trees.

I made it back to the barns and shops and decided I wasn’t done yet. So I headed west, up the other gravel road that leads away from the house. I walked past Dad’s cows on my right. They barely looked up at me as I walked by. Then I walked past the two-year old heifers on my left, on the other side of a barbed wire fence. They’re young, pregnant for the first time, and “spooky”. I sneezed and one heifer jumped, causing the entire herd of them to turn and run away from me, toward no particular destination. A few hundred yards later, I came to the highway again, and the “Blair ranch” sign leading into Dad’s place. I stopped and waved at a semi with a load of hay bales driving by. Then I crossed.

Halfway across the highway, I decided that I would walk to the old house… my childhood home… and see what state it was in after being empty for a number of years. So halfway across the highway, I had the distinct feeling of stepping back in time. I had made that walk a hundred times as a little girl, between our house and Grandpa’s, and here I was, walking it again. I slowed down and took it in. I walked past the little pond that I skipped a million stones across. It was iced over, but a layer of water was over the ice. I picked up a stone and threw it high in the air to see if it would break through the ice. It didn’t. I picked up a bigger stone, and then a bigger one.

The ice was solid though, and I walked on, leaving rocks scattered across the frozen pond. I walked up the hill above the pond toward the old house. As I walked up the hill I asked myself what I was searching for, not just today, on this walk, but in general. The answer I gave myself was ‘the happiness I felt as a child’. But even as the thought crossed my mind, I knew that I’d never find it. The happiness that children feel comes from being innocent and unburdened by life’s stresses (if they’re lucky enough to have a stable home life). But after the first broken heart… after the first wound that leaves a scar… that happiness can’t be regained. A new one must be found.

I found myself standing in the shop at the old house. This is where my first buck was mounted on the wall. This is where my dad taught me to fix a flat tire before I was allowed to drive a car. This is where we built Mom’s picnic table and where Dad came running from when I crashed my bike into the cattle guard nearby on the day I (sort-of) learned to ride a bike. I kept walking, and crossed that cattle guard, looking down at the iron slats that permanently scarred my forehead. I walked up the driveway to the old house. The little shed where our dogs always slept was still there but the tree house Dad built us was gone. The lawn had turned to weeds and the house didn’t look welcoming anymore. I went in anyway. I didn’t shut the door behind me.

For several minutes, I just stood inside the doorway. It was my house, but it wasn’t. It smelled musty and unlived in. It was dirty and empty and different. But I stood there and allowed a million memories to wash over me, and I let the new sights and smells give way to the old ones. Once again I could smell lemon Pinesol from Mom’s cleaning. I could smell supper in the oven.

(In rural South Dakota, the meals are breakfast, dinner, and supper. If lunch is a home-cooked meal, it’s called dinner. If it’s just a sandwich, it might be called lunch.)

It was no longer there, but I could see the TV stand Dad made and mounted, holding up the old TV with knobs to change channels and rabbit ears to find stations. I could see the orange carpeting and ugly wood paneling on the walls. I could hear laughter at the dinner table. I walked into my old bedroom, just past the kitchen and turned a circle in the middle of the room, amazed at how small it seemed. Even the closet seemed tiny… the closet I made into my personal hideout where I would read. I stared at the floor of it, seeing myself as a little girl, with a lamp for light, a pillow and blanket for comfort, and a stack of books that I couldn’t wait to soak up. It didn’t seem tiny then.

I did this with every room in the house, until I was thoroughly lost in a previous lifetime, and I was hesitant to stop when I made my way to the end of the second story of the house. No more house to walk through. So I slowly made my way back out, and stood just inside the door for a few more minutes before stepping back outside. I closed the door, put my headphones back in, and started walking back toward the highway. Back toward today.

I said before that I was seeking healing… and happiness. As I made my way back to the highway I brought God into the introspection I was doing. And I started saying my favorite prayer, the Our Father. There’s a part that always resonates with me.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us….  Lord, forgive me and help me forgive. Help me let go of the bitterness, because it feels like poison inside me.

Lead us not into temptation… God there is so much temptation in the world. I struggle to recognize what temptations I should avoid. In seeking love, we face temptation. Isn’t it ok to move toward it? So far, that has only led to pain. How can I recognize when it is right?

…but deliver us from evil. Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day.  I pray for peace for others, but never for myself. Lord, today I’m asking for peace in my day.

In your mercy, keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety.  I always say that part twice. Lord, protect us from all anxiety, because I feel like once we leave childhood behind, it’s one anxiety after another, and it’s exhausting. This, I believe, is the greatest challenge we face as human beings. I believe it’s the reason we’re here… to accept the life we’re given and let go of the anxiety we feel. Trust in God that He has a plan for us, and that it is never what we assume (or want). That is the happiness I now seek… the freedom from anxiety.

More than an hour has passed and I’m about to go back down the hill to the new house. It’s time to bring this healing session to a close. It’s been good. I could use another hour but it will come, all in good time. Before I go home, though, I put one last song on my iPod (and think to myself that my iPod doesn’t belong in such a peaceful place).

Galileo.

“And as the bombshells of my daily fears explode, I try to trace them to my youth.

…I’m serving time for mistakes made by another in another lifetime.

…How long till my soul gets it right? Can any human being ever reach that kind of light?”

Finding My Nurturing Side

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve thought to myself, “I don’t think I’m very good at being a woman.” I’d have a lot of dollars. I don’t really believe that I’m BAD at being a woman. I just seemed to have missed the boat on a few things, and some of them I’m glad to have missed. For example, I never think to buy a cute card, fill it with words of encouragement, and send it to a female friend of mine after talking to her about a difficult time in her life. Women have done that for me and it’s wonderful. Instead I fully engage in a good conversation and then try to infect her with my “do-er” mentality. Forget about it and DO something. I’ll help. If we can do something to fix the problem, great, but if not, let’s find something different to throw our energy into and get our minds off of it. This approach is not exactly nurturing.

I never wake up on a Saturday morning and have the urge to fill my house with the smell of freshly baked pastries for people (I’m not sure whom) to enjoy over the weekend. I have a mother and aunts and cousins who do that and it’s wonderful (but not good for my waistline). Instead, I wake up and decide whether I’m going to work out before or after breakfast, and I hurry to the gym to put my body through as much physical strain as possible while I pump the week’s stress into some iron and then sweat the rest out on the stair climber. When I am sufficiently exhausted, I go home and eat a high-protein meal, clean up, put on more workout clothes, and get on to the next physical activity, preferably outdoors. At no point am I fixing my hair or shopping or doing my nails or tying on an apron. Those things are irritating necessary evils to be avoided whenever possible.

I do not give off an impression of softness and sweetness. I’ve been around women like that, and they’re calming and wonderful. They have sweet voices and a tenderness about them that makes you want to be gentle toward them. When I’m around women like that I become acutely aware of the fact that I sometimes sound like a foul-mouthed sailor. My movements and thoughts and voice are not like that at all. My drinks of choice are beer and whiskey. I love muscle cars and motorcycles and hunting deer in the frigid South Dakota cold. I own power tools and a shop vac. I prefer black coffee over tea and hiking boots over high heels. And I’d rather throw away a pair of pants than get out a sewing kit and mend them.

So you see, I have plenty of reasons to think that I’m not very good at being a woman.

But a funny thing happened when a man came into my life recently.

I wanted to feed him.

I’ve been contemplating this phenomenon… examining this funny urge in myself that seems to have come about since I met this irresistibly handsome and oh-so-manly man who is wonderful to me. From the very first time we had a meal together that wasn’t at a restaurant, I have wanted to prepare and serve food for him. I couldn’t help but chuckle at myself a little bit as I shop-vacced the dust off my spice rack (kidding) and tried to remember how to make food look and taste good rather than simply act as fuel. I found myself spending time thinking about meals ahead of time and taking twice as long in the grocery store as I resurrected mom’s best recipes. Soul food. Hearty food. Fill him up and leave him satisfied. Nurtured.

Make no mistake, I’m just as rough around the edges as I’ve always been. I still haven’t pulled an apron out. But I found a nurturing part of myself that hadn’t shown itself in a while. Maybe I’ll fill my kitchen with pastry smells someday soon…

after my workout.

Rise Like the Phoenix

You never know when you’re going to stumble across a piece of wisdom that will swirl around in your head for a period of time until it forever changes the pathways of your brain. I stumbled across some of that wisdom recently, in a conversation with a woman who’s become a good friend of mine in a very short time. One chance meeting led to breakfast, and one long breakfast sealed the friendship. As it turns out, we have a lot in common, including a long and less-than-perfect dating history.

She and I sat together in my living room, eating take-out and watching The Bachelorette several Monday nights ago. We listened to the show only when we weren’t busy commenting on the attractiveness and personalities of the men… and the glaringly obvious lack of “asshole radar” of the bachelorette. But our night didn’t end with the show. We sat and talked for another two hours afterwards, about our own personal lives. She is now happily married, as of last summer, to a man who exceeds every wish she had for a husband. And I had a completely empty plate when it came to prospects. My plate had emptied only recently, and I needed to talk about it.

I told my friend that I was frustrated. I had once believed with every ounce of my being that I had found my soul mate. When I was only 23 years old, a man walked into my life who pulled my head out of the books it was buried in and taught me what love was. We taught each other. I had never laughed so hard, cared so much, invested so heavily, and had so much to lose. Within a few short weeks of knowing him, I didn’t know how to live without him. And three years later, we were engaged. But it was not an easy three years. It was a roller coaster. And our engagement seemed to intensify… everything. We couldn’t hold on. He couldn’t hold on – to his sobriety or to his stability – and I walked away, leaving my heart behind me in pieces. I loved him but I knew I needed more than he could give me, and he knew it too.

I have gone through some tough things in my life (haven’t we all?), but I can honestly say that the decision to break my own heart and walk away from him left me in the worst state I’ve ever been. Five years later I still hadn’t managed to collect the pieces of my heart and put them back together well enough to love again. He still held on to a few of the pieces, and I see now that he held them because I wanted him to hold them. I wasn’t willing to take them back. And so after five years apart and a handful of failed relationships that never seemed to fill the void left by him, I started contacting him again. I emailed him and told him what I was feeling. He told me that he too hadn’t moved on. There was still love there… or at least a memory of it, as if we’d been walking through a room where the other person’s scent still lingered. With every new person I tried to date, his memory was there, insisting that he not be forgotten. He said the same was true for him. And so after five years apart, I got on a plane and flew to his new city. I hugged him. I smelled his cologne again. And the very first time we sat down together again ended with my head resting on his shoulder and our hands entwined. I felt his lips on mine again and confirmed what I had thought… that he was made for me. I was home.

My fairy tale lasted about two months. I visited him twice and he came to see me once. On our last visit, he told me that he had been lost without me, and he is finally ready for marriage and a family. It had to be me. It was always me. He got back on the plane to go home, with a plan for bringing our lives back together, but less than a week later he had faded away again. I can’t really explain it. He just wasn’t motivated enough to make it a reality, so it was easier for him to let it all go. I was hurt, but not broken this time. After a few difficult days, it occurred to me that what had transpired is exactly what needed to happen. I had been stuck in limbo, and now I was free. I had my answer. I took back the remaining pieces of my heart, took firm hold of the reality that what I had believed was wrong, and took a step forward. For the first time in eight years, I was free to move without restraint. There was nothing holding me in place any longer.

That Monday night, as my friend and I sat on my couch and I told her my story, she shared with me her story. It was very similar to mine and equally difficult. She told me that a couple years ago, she purposely reduced her life to ashes… killed every bit of it that was holding her in place. She left a bad relationship that had paralyzed her for years, moved back to her home city, left her career and started fresh. She even left most of her friends behind, realizing that many of them weren’t really friends. She spent the better part of a year very much alone with a plate that was very, very empty. She did it on purpose. She told me the story of ‘the phoenix’.

The phoenix is a mythological symbol, usually characterized as a bird with brightly colored plumage. After a long life, it dies in a fire of its own making, only to rise again from the ashes, spreading its wings to begin a new life. But the new life can’t be born until the old one is dead… gone completely.

My friend set her old life on fire and cleared out a path for a new one. She wrote a list of things she wanted, both in life and in a man, as if stating her desires to the universe. We’ve all heard of the Law of Attraction. Call it what you will. She visualized her life. She visualized the man. And one year later, she found her husband, and the life that they’ve built together has made it possible for all her aspirations to come to fruition.

That night, despite the late hour, I went to bed with a notebook and a pen. I wrote a list of things I want, both in life and in a man. I spared no detail. I can visualize it now. I can see both him and my life, and I know that it’s only a matter of time.

Everyone will go through a death and rebirth at some point in their lives. Things never go according to plan. But I see now that if we should ever find ourselves standing in ashes, with an empty plate and no path to follow, we should rejoice in it. Think of the possibilities that lie ahead. Define yourself again. Find a new path. Spread your wings and see where life takes you.

Rise like the phoenix.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

I received a text message from a friend this morning that said “Why are most women so sporadic in their behavior? They want one thing one day and something completely different the next day.”

My response was: “I can’t answer for others, but mostly I think it’s because people want instant gratification. We live in a world where everything’s available NOW, and if it’s not, then we’re on to the next thing. People don’t have patience anymore.”

My assumption about the issue my friend was facing must have been right, because my answer satisfied him… and then he asked me if I’d like to run off and get married. A shining example of patience himself. 🙂

Lest you think I am writing from a holier-than-though perspective, I actually have been thinking about this topic lately because patience is something I struggle with myself. We all know the saying “good things come to those who wait,” but how many of us are good at sitting and waiting? I’m certainly not. I’m an action taker. I like to set my sights on a goal and make things happen. But life doesn’t always lend itself to that attitude—relationships especially, but it’s also true of career paths, getting to where you want to be financially, and for some unlucky couples, adding to a family. Sometimes we just have to wait.

Generations before us didn’t have internet. They didn’t have email and cell phones and instant messaging. Once upon a time they didn’t even have fax machines. They relied on snail mail and face-to-face conversations to communicate information. It’s hard to imagine having a relationship that way. Or getting any kind of work done. When the network at my office crashes, we all emerge into the hallway and stare at each other, lost. Handicapped.

I had a bout of puppy love in high school, with a guy a year older than me. He went away to college and left me pining for the day I would get to see him again. We wrote emails daily, relying on horribly unreliable dial-up internet connections. We sent each other hand-written letters, sprayed with perfume and sealed with a lipstick kiss. (I did that, not him, thankfully.) And I counted the days until Christmas break. I had an achy feeling every time I would read one of his heartfelt messages to me. I hated the waiting. But I had patience. He was worth waiting for.

That is… until I started partying during the last half of my senior year. I discovered Busch Lite and bonfires. My relationship took a backseat, and eventually I forgot that it was still in the car. Not one of my prouder moments.

I read somewhere that emails and text messages killed the love letter. It’s true, don’t you think? We don’t have to wait days or even hours to share our loving thoughts for someone. The thoughts barely have time to sink into our consciousness before they’re launched into cyberspace in the form of a text message. It’s not necessary to choose words carefully… to make sure that we’re expressing ourselves fully because we only have one chance at it. And because of that, I don’t think people give love the time it needs to solidify. Love doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen after two or three good dates. It happens over time, through shared experiences and mutual respect that takes time to earn. But our culture is so used to instant gratification that we see a light peeking through a crack… a tiny chance at love… and we throw ourselves through the door only to extinguish the flame by our own actions. No patience.

How many military men and women have deployed and come home to find out that their beloved spouse has cheated on them or left them for another. No patience. How many people have left a job after only a year or two, because they’re not seeing the leaps in salary they’d hoped for? No patience. How many people have found themselves hurt by the fact that a text message they sent wasn’t responded to within an hour. No patience.

Technology has advanced to the point that we don’t have to wait for anything. We aren’t trained to wait. We’re a society of shakers-and-movers. If you aren’t moving at my pace, I’m leaving you behind. The bad part about this is, sometimes the best opportunities in life… the best people you’ll ever meet, the best job you’ll ever have… isn’t moving at your pace. So you leave it behind. And eventually, it leaves you behind.

Good things come to those who wait.

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