I killed it. A beautiful newborn, a tiny infant, and I simply choked the life right out of it. I don’t even know why. It was so precious, so rare, so full of potential. It was literally, obviously, unbelievably something I had waited for; something worth waiting for. And I put it out of my misery.
I’m reminded of a speaker I once heard. I don’t remember where or when this particular speaker spoke on this particular topic, or for that matter who the particular speaker was or what his or her particular topic was. I simply remember someone presenting me with the idea that heaven would be filled not with people, but with relationships. That souls were defined, captured, created and revealed in the space between two people.
Frankly, I find the idea kind of hokey. But I do believe with all my heart that relationships are people too. They’re alive. They’re to be cherished, fed, nurtured, trained, disciplined, and thoroughly enjoyed.
That space between two people is beautiful. And the way that you treat it says a lot about who you are and what you care about.
After an absolutely amazing weekend, full of wonder and conversation and fellowship and scenery, and after the first half of a phone call that was truly engaging, I somehow fell back into my standard diatribe about how worthless I am, how much I hate the world and the sad sorrowed souls that plague it, how much I abhor relationships, relating, and the drama that both entail. I squashed the new relationship before it had barely even opened its eyes.
It was not boring, she was not boring, yet somehow I gave the bored-speech. We all have one of these. It’s the “Stay away from me, I’m dangerous, I’m a mess, I’m broken, I’m demanding, I’m neglectful, I’m quick to wander, I’m clingy, I’m boring, I’m bitter, I’m better off on my own, I need my space, I need my quiet, I need my way” monologue that we all give when we just want the other person to leave without having to tell them we want them to go away.
She’s amazing. She’s eccentric but not obnoxious. She’s sincere but not naive. She’s organized but not obsessive, funny but not self-deprecating, passionate but not overbearing, sexual but not slutty, intense but not dominating. I’m in awe of this woman.
So why, when confronted by a woman this singularly unique would I possibly give her the bored-speech? I’m afraid that I have no excuse… it’s because I believe it. If I’m to be honest with someone, I have to say “stay away from me”. And now you have it, the cold hard truth. This is why I’m alone; it’s because I have come to believe that I have to be.
But this is silliness. I know who I am. I’m broken but not broke. I’m bored but not boring. And above all, I am in no way the man I was all those years ago. The stories are true, and they were all about me. But they’re about a me that’s 14 years gone. The now me isn’t neglectful. I’m not evil. I don’t hate the world. I don’t hate the people in it. I love relationships and relating. I enjoy the “drama” when it’s real.
It’s a lie to say that I’m still that old man. It’s a lie to say you’d be better of to stay away from me. I too am singularly unique, a man of disturbing depth and introspection, who has been blessed with wisdom and insight. Words have a way of finding their way out of my mouth in a way that makes people stop and think, to leave their little hamlet of comfort and self-deception and brave the dark forests of their clouded mind in search of the sea of truth. It’s that man you’ve found. It’s that man who wrongly said “please stay away”. It’s that man who now says “please forgive me. please be near me. please be with me.”
I sat straight up in bed the day after we had decided by phone to not date, and before I even knew what was happening, the words flowed from my mouth with a conviction that shocked me: “I want anything but ‘safe’ with her.”
I can’t say I know completely what that means. But I don’t want a packaged little friend-in-a-box that I can put up on the shelf to bring down and dust off when life gets a little more lonely than I feel like I should have to handle. I don’t want to be the jester in her court. I don’t want a stillbirth relationship.
At any rate, if you’re reading this, then there’s a really high probability that I’ve probably aborted the space between us too. I’m writing this to tell you I’m sorry, I miss you, that the space between us matters. I’m sorry I forgot who I am, who you are, and how awesome “us” is. I want anything but “safe” with you.
Something about your post makes me think of my favorite movie quote from Good Will Hunting:
Sean to Will: “You’re not perfect sport. And let me save you the suspense: this girl you met, she’s isn’t perfect either, but the question is, whether or not you’re perfect for each other. That’s the whole deal. That’s what intimacy is all about. Now you can know everything in the world sport, but the only way you’re finding that one out is by giving it a shot.”
I miss your thought-provoking conversations, Mike!! Thanks for posting to your blog. Good luck with everything.
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