Have you ever looked back at events of your life in which you weren’t at your best? Don’t you just cringe to think about those times? I know I do. I was thinking the other day about how clueless I was about boys.
I grew up with older brothers on a street where the other kids close to my age were also boys. What I knew of boys had to do with sports, woodland adventures, bikes and sleds. I was a tomboy. I even begged my Dad to let me come along with him and my brothers so I could join the Boy Scouts. (He didn’t let me.)
I was accustomed to wrestling and fighting with boys, name calling and chasing, but it never occurred to me that any of the boys on my street, at home or at church would like me as anything more than a fellow adventurer. It didn’t cross my mind that teasing and taunting were how boys of a certain age (who am I kidding? boys of any age!) acted on their feelings of attraction.
And even if I’d had any kind of clue, I still wouldn’t have known how to act.
Then add on top of that the angst of middle school and high school, and I didn’t think I was worthy of any of that kind of attention. I wasn’t popular. I wasn’t gorgeous. I was a good student and had a decent group of friends. Though I pined over a couple of boys, I would have been scared out of my wits if any of them had reciprocated.
In middle school, there was one boy who teased me all the time. I thought he did it to be mean and that he really, truly didn’t like me. Little did I know! I was floored when he asked me to be his date to the 8th grade dance. I thought it was some kind of joke. I actually told him, “What? You are always so mean to me. I wouldn’t go to that dance with you if you were the last man in the free world! ” Honestly. Those very words!
After I said it, I could see by the look on his face that he really meant to ask me because he honestly liked me. I felt so horrible, but pride took the best of me and I just walked away. I ended up going to the dance with one of my girlfriends. Oh how I wish I knew how to apologize for that blunder!
I know I was scared too. I just couldn’t imagine that any boy could like me like that, no matter how much I wished for it– I just didn’t think it was possible. (Maybe that’s why I adore Anne of Green Gables so much. Gilbert Blythe was so mean to her teasing Anne about her red hair, but he came clean and pursued her until she knew he really did love her.) I spent years hiding my heart and myself.
I was still clueless in college. I had some really great guy friends, and looking back, I’m sure they were bewildered by how clueless I was to their gentle advances. Maybe I was preprogrammed for the One.
In a way though, that uncertainty paid off. I still got into a few situations that I shouldn’t have, but I ended up finding a man in my mid-20s who was all gift. Sure I got my heart broken a couple of times before that, but I knew that there was someone very special intended for just me and I’m so very glad I held out for him. And I must have been meant to hang out with boys, because I am mother to two very special young guys (and so relieved not to have a prissy girl–but if I had one, I’d love her anyway!).
Giving thanks today for
276. God who knew exactly what and who I needed, and even gave me a heads up just a couple of months before I met him
277. The example of my parents through their witness to compassion and forgiveness
278. The incredibly beautiful full moon the last two nights
279. The little boy who wants me to watch him, read to him, sit next to him
280. The older boy who has gone out on a limb into an entirely new situation this week, and, in spite of mishaps, continues to go back and make each day a little better
281. seedlings sprouting up in my planter
282. rain that makes our plants grOW
283. new insights into past events
284. surviving heartbreak
285. gaining maturity in relationships, bit by bit
286. growing perspective, inspired by age and the influence of others
287. family pets of the past, and the future
288. gradually regaining my personal strength after feeling so defeated and rejected
289. the thought that I am in the right place at the right time for God’s purpose
290. belief that God is preparing the right me-shaped space for when my medical sabbatical ends
291. a Dairy Queen soft serve cone (that didn’t make my head buzz!)
292. fresh berries and whipped cream
293. iced tea that is just barely sweet
294. mild temperatures for my son’s week in the woods
295. memories of many years of church camp
296. forgiveness for mistakes
297. learning lead growth from mistakes & misgivings
298. good books to read (thanks to Margaret Feinberg lately)
299. white tailed bunny who lounges in my yard
300. knitting in public, and hoping to finish this gift soon!