Barbara's Random Thoughts

Monday, May 30, 2005

On giving up

This morning's sermon was about marriage. My usual reaction to sermons on marriage is to kind of half-listen, and then file the information away in that section of my brain labeled "You May Or May Not Need This Later."

Several years ago, our college & career leader was contemplating doing our next study on Song of Solomon. We were both working in the church office at the time, and he asked my opinion on the idea. I had a pretty strong opinion--if he was going to pick a passage to study with a group of unmarried adults (most of us weren't even in dating relationships), he might want to pick something that would actually be applicable to us in our particular stage of life. He persisted in saying that he felt there was a lot of interest in the topic of relationships, and that all of the Bible is applicable and relevant. I was adamant that indeed, all parts of the Bible apply to life, but that this particular part of the Bible did not apply to my life (or the majority of the group) at that point in time.

Anyway. So yeah, I've had rather strong reactions in the past to the idea of studies on marriage. I also avoid Christian dating-type seminars whenever possible. But a sermon on marriage usually doesn't bug me--the congregation contains people at all stages of life, the topic is applicable for some, and on some other Sunday there will be a sermon that speaks more to me.

So it was unexpected and rather nice when the pastor concluded the sermon with a bit of a caveat, saying: "For many of you, this message is either useless or painful. Or both." He went on to list three things that God speaks to the "many" he was talking about:
I understand
Don't give up
I will never leave you

The one that jumped out at me was the second: Don't give up. Because in so many ways, I wish I could give up. It would be so much easier to be free of the desire for a relationship--the desire for something it seems I can't have. I don't want to want this anymore. I work hard to give up on wanting a relationship. To be alone, independent, content with who I am and where I am in life. And so I wonder: what exactly is it that I'm supposed to not give up on? What do I need to hang on to, and what do I need to give up? I know I need to hope in God, always--that yes, He will never leave me, He will sustain me, no matter what. But do I hang on to this desire that I've worked so hard to start giving up? I don't know. But I wonder.

A small postscript:

All of this reminded me of the following--the end of an amazing post from tequila mockingbird:

i've worked hard to make myself forget. forget what it feels like to long for someone. forget how good it feels for someone to long for you. i won't let myself think about how long it's been since someone held my hand. since i buried my face against the side of someone's neck and breathed in deeply to smell him. since someone put his hands on the side of my face and kissed me.

and then, when you least expect it, someone comes along. out of the blue. with no warning. and he looks at you and your breathing gets shallow. and you fumble with your answers to his questions. and he makes you feel as though it's just the two of you talking. that you're not in the middle of a loud and crowded room.

and then, he's gone.

but not before he has made you ache just a little more.

not before he has reminded you of all those things you've worked so hard to make yourself forget.

Go read the whole thing here.
| posted by Barbara | 7:48 AM