06 September 2012

comfortable (the beginning)

Comfortable. For me this word is rich with meaning. It is the title of a favorite song by John Mayer and it is also one of my favorite states of being. Today I would like to approach it from a different angle. One that is a little uncomfortable to discuss but I believe it's needed. This post will give you context, a little back story and the next what can happen if allowed to become too comfortable.

His name was Alex (name changed to protect the not so innocent) We were 14 when we met; one of those "chance" occurrence type of things. It was a school field trip to the most unromantic place ever, The Super Conducting Super Collider. Although we learned many interesting things that day and saw scientific marvels the most amazing thing was our discovery of one another. He had curly brown hair, big brown eyes, was tall and a genius. The perfect boy!

I still remember my classmates teasing me, they said they knew something was going on because I was never that quiet. I obviously spoke at some point but it was after a while of him looking at me until I would turn around and then I would look at him until he looked up but then look away really quickly because we realized we were busted. When the bus arrived at its destination he walked up to me and introduced himself. I'm sure I blushed as I shook his hand.
     "I've never seen you before." smooth with the words he was :)
     "No I'm at Science in the morning so I guess that makes you an afternoon student?" well duh Aisha obviously, but come on I was 14 and a real live BOY was talking to me!
     "Yeah. So you wanna hang out today?" forward, wasn't he? (and by the way he was actually quite shy so this was huge for him)
     "Sure!" could you try not to sound so desperate? (geez!)

We literally spent the whole day with one another. At one point during one of the afternoon sessions, he got the courage to actually hold my hand. It was so cute! The bus ride home we sat together and began to learn about each other while our classmates made sure to interrupt with teasing as often as possible. We exchanged phone numbers, I told my mom about him and so it began.

Sometime between his birthday (Valentine's Day) and mine 6 weeks later we were officially "going steady." We were so adorable and clueless and innocent... in the beginning. He was my first kiss! You know the first one where it's all sweet and innocent and quick, just a brief encounter of the lips. Then comes the 2nd and 3rd and by the time you get to the 5th or 6th you realize you're playing with fire because you begin to want something more. At least that was my story.

We had some semblance of relationship for a year and a half. It was odd but it was what we had. He would do this crazy thing where he would tell me he loved me and I would tell him to shut up. "We're too young to know anything about love!" And just in case you're wondering, I was serious. Poor boy, it took 15 months for any reciprocity to occur on the speaking of those 3 little words. When I finally did, he got the words and my tears... how dare he go to Argentina for a month and make me miss him like that?!

He was someone I could be goofy with, someone I could do homework with, someone I could talk about the future with, someone fun to be with, a good friend, and I could just be myself around him. It was good... it was comfortable.

And believe it or not in that nearly 2 years together we only ever kissed, nothing more. But I will tell you we did consider sexual relations. We were both hormone-driven teenagers and trust me it was going on all around us. Here was the deal though, I didn't want any babies; I had a drive to graduate, go to college and have a great career. That was more important to me. That drive and determination kept my guard up for a while but as time went on... well you know how it goes; my defenses were weakening.

So how did I dodge that bullet? God! Alex and I started going out our freshman year. The summer before our junior year I met a family who introduced me to the Lord in a way that I had never known. I had gone to church for years but this was the first time I heard about the Kingdom of God and understood the idea of truly having a personal relationship with Him. I learned about discipleship, accountability and a worldwide movement to share the gospel. That was so much more exciting than this impersonal Jesus I grew up hearing about. I began going through Bible studies and learning how Jesus loved me and had a plan for my life. What? This was awesome!

I began to learn about the value of purity and what a premium God put on it. I met guys who were living a life of purity, those who would rather serve God than chase skirts. This was, even at 16, almost unheard of. There were actual gentlemen who loved God and were learning self-control and did not have to "have it" to consider themselves real men. Whoa! I also learned the importance of making sure that the person that you are in relationship with loves Jesus. Alex, I learned quickly, did not. So after all that time we parted ways. We decided to be friends, he took it well and to be honest, it wasn't that bad.

I had these friends around me who were concerned for me, who were helping to learn about God, teaching me ways to be a better daughter, sister and student. I was learning to become a friend. I learned that my life had meaning and a plan and a purpose. Up to that point in my life Alex had been one of the few people who accepted me for who I was and didn't shun me or try to hurt me. Now, in the Lord, I was accepted into an incredible new family. We would often pray for him, I wanted nothing more than for him to know the Lord because I wanted to share with him this most amazing love that had radically transformed my life. But he never accepted that call. I didn't see him much based on our schedules and before long I had pretty much forgotten about him.

Just before graduation I heard from him. He was going to the University of Texas (Austin). I was so excited for him because that was the school I wanted to attend but did not for reasons I won't go into right now. For the first time since we parted ways my heart actually twinged at the thought of him being so far away. I thought that was a little weird considering it had been over a year but I decided not to dwell on it as it was going to be a long time before I saw him again. And believe me, it was a good while.

But what happens when someone who was so comfortable shows up in your life again, especially during a time of great emotional discomfort? What happens when what you hoped for seems all but lost and dashed into pieces at your feet? How can you find comfort again? Is it a person that can help you heal? I wanted comfort and a form of it literally passed my way a few years later in college.
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