Having loved and lost is better than not loving at all…. or so they say. I say not loving at all leaves you a very bitter lonely person.
There is a difference the way that love is viewed by male and female. I can give you the female view. See, girls are brought up with the words, “when you get married you’ll understand.” So it’s almost expected for us to be looking for our husbands from the get-go. And I guess was subconsciously looking for that “father figure”. “They” say (still not sure who they is) that women tend to marry men who are much like their fathers and that men marry women who are much like their mothers. Since I have no idea what my father was like before the stroke, I guess there are parts of the husband that remind me of my uncle and grandfather.
Anyway, I digress. I want to talk about what I learned while doing that searching. The men I dated were all different. I was blessed in that God REALLY was watching over me and he did his best to protect me from some of the crazy ones. God also let me be friends with my boyfriends, well with most of them. I pray that the younger readers will learn from my mistakes. I too used to say, “well that was you. It won’t happen to me.” Read my friend and you may be able to avoid any regrets.
Let us begin when I was 5 and in Kindergarten. There was a boy named Patrick and where ever he sat I tended to gravitate to. One day during story time he moved 3 times (as did I) before he called out to the teacher to complain about his “shadow”. She put me on her lap to end that. But that was me, a hopeless sticky flirt.
Fast forward to when I was in middle School. Our Church youth group had a “lock in” where we all stayed over night. That was where I met Tom. I thought I had just met “the one”. He was a year younger than me, he was fun, he was nice, and I could not get enough of him. We stayed up and talked and played pool and talked. Well, I was head over heels. i tried to find excuses to get together like to ride bikes. Of course we saw each other every Sunday. Our friendship strengthened over a year. Then we decided to, “go out”. Of course at 13 and 14, that was just holding hands and a kiss here or a kiss there. Then he called it off after 6 months. Somehow we kept the friendship. Always there for each other. I had this vision of us dancing at a prom then at our wedding… See how girls work? So, It was very difficult to let that dream go. Our friendship was created by God and wasn’t going to be broken. My senior year, I was the vice-president of the social committee and I needed a date for the Prom. I finally got the courage to call Tom. I knew he was dating someone but I figured the worst thing he could say was “no”. But instead he said yes. It was a wonderful night. I could not see my life without him in it.
He is still a good friend to me today. Let alone, he’s married to great lady and has 2 sons and I will probably never get to see him face to face ever again. (Thank God for Facebook). But there was one thing we have always agreed on. God introduced us as friends and that will never be broken because it’s a bond that is beyond here.
Now Some people are put into your life for a specific reason and time and that’s all. I was blessed with Tom. Then there was College. I was being noticed. I dated or spent time with guys but I always tried to make sure that friendship came first. I dated a young man named Greg, for 2 years. It was serious and so was he. I had to teach him how to do his own laundry, so he didn’t have to run home every weekend. He taught me how to buckle down and study. Everything was fine until he started to tell me that, as I was entering my Junior year and he his senior, I had to tell him what I would be teaching when I became a teacher. Huh? I was just trying to get to my Junior year. But he insisted that I could not teach the Big Bang Theory. I stood up for myself and informed him that IF and WHEN I got a job that I would have to teach what they tell me to. He was getting a little too controlling due to his own fears of leaving home and going far away to a seminary. So, it was a rough few months after that but by Christmas break we decided to end it. I would not have been a good Pastor’s wife anyway. But we had a lot of good memories. He was good for me during that time of my life.
The one regret I have is dating an older man. I befriended him after Greg. I now call him “the mistake”. I was looking for love in all the wrong places and he was there. I kept saying age doesn’t matter. It does at a certain point. He told me he had graduated but he owed the school money for tuition so he stayed on to pay it off. He said he was divorced and had 2 kids. I never questioned I just knew I had to keep going to learn something. I learned that I should never doubt my parents’ doubts. My uncle called me one night and told me that he had found out that this guy had not graduated because he owed money. He may have finished the course work but he was never given his diploma. I was outraged. A year of lies??I could have run but I calmly waited. When he cam to my room I asked him for the truth and he confirmed my uncle’s findings. So I asked, “what else are you lying about?” And he said, “Well you remember I told you I was divorced?? Well, I left before the papers ever made it to…” I screamed for him to get out. He begged. I repeated the command. He got mad and said how he “owned” me. I yelled for him to get out. He left. I locked the door and cried. I wish I could wipe the memory of him out. He is the one human being that I almost fear. He did not add to my life like Tom or Greg. He just took a year of my life and turned it into a gagging regret. I wish young people would listen when adults say they have been there, don’t go there. Lesson: Listen to your parents faster than you want to.
After College I shared a townhouse for 9 months with a woman from church then struck out on my own and got a one bedroom condo. I was poorer than poor with 2 part time jobs and only earning $10,000 or so a year. Only by God was I making it happen. It was stressful but it was also great. I dated a mechanic who was christian for a few months. Then after I got a full time job at a hotel I met Eric. He was a computer guy that the companies like AT&T called in to do what ever was needed to their computers. He was fun. He never cooked. We always ate out. I had finally gotten to the point of just dating someone for fun. I knew I couldn’t marry him but we had fun. He always wanted to have a dog and I would have loved to have a dog to guard me. He lived in PA and worked 12-15 hour days and I lived and worked in NJ. But one day, against my better judgement, we went to see some Jack Russell puppies that had just been flown in from Ireland. I was aware that I was about to have a dog and a little yippie dog at that.
I named her Kibbie, short for Kabibe (ka bee bee) Swahili for little lady. I trained her, fed her, loved her, and he helped pay for vet bills and taught her how to roll over and beg. I was all focused on her and he just visited. So that relationship ended. But, he gave me a wonderful dog who took care of me as much as I took care of her. Of course as she aged her temperament aged too. but in the end with blindness and deafness she was still my little girl. She is buried on our property with a nice grave marker “Kibbie 1996-2013”
So then I learned to just not expect marriage from whomever I was dating. That took a lot of stress off of me. I just had fun and worried about myself.
Then my friends were getting married. That puts it all back in the head of wanting to do the expected. No, I stayed strong. Met a guy from Canada at my best friend’s wedding. After a year and half with him I learned that it takes about a year before the guy shows you his true colors. I also learned that a guy who had never cooked for himself or even knew how to open a can of tuna was not going to be able to take care of you. Also a guy who calls to tell you how he beat up someone is not the kind of guy you want in your life. So that one ended.
I decided that IF I was supposed to be with anyone, God was to worry about it. I just would not date anymore. I swore off men. I got involved in my church and I was content. Then just when I came to peace with the words, “I’m not getting married ever.” This guy from Bible study started calling me. He was nice and funny. He wanted to make sure I would make it on time to the 6am class. We chatted and teased. He would volunteer me for things and I returned the favor. He asked if I liked to walk at parks and so we went to a Reservoir Park. Walked, got a little off the path and ended up having to wade in water up to our chest to get back to the van. I vowed he would just be a friend. One night I came home after working all day to find a covered dish on my table with a note that said “I knew you wouldn’t have time to make yourself dinner” Wow, someone who wanted to take care of me? Sweet. But I had to be careful. I had worked 10 years to be happy with me and just me. Well, over a few weeks I wanted to talk to him all the time. He didn’t mess up my kitchen when he cleaned. He seemed to be a logical match. I checked with God over and over and over. No red flags. One month of dating and the logical step for both of us was engagement.
Nine months later we got married. We argue and disagree about a lot of things. There have been times when we have needed “space” but in the end, who else is going to make sure the cabinets are stocked with chocolate for me? Who else is going to put up with my tantrums when I get so frustrated and mad? Who else is going to understand that he may be a “bulldozer” but he does get the job done. He is stubborn and a little overbearing when he wants something. He has his faults, as do I, and his gifts. I fought getting married but God laughed. I fought having my name changed to “Pasnik” and ended up marrying a “Pasek”. God has fun with me.
So, what should the young learn from my experiences? 1.God given relationships last forever. 2. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you, it will. 3. Listen to the adults and elders in your life for they are wise and have gone through the stuff. The elders in my life always kept God first and so I do. 4. Anyone who won’t support your faith (unless you are a terrorist, and then no one should support you) is not worth your energy. 5. NO ONE OWNES ANYONE.
So learn from my life. Then maybe my epitaph can read, “She never stops teaching and we never stop learning from her.”