business · dating and singlehood · faith · family

a robin by any other name

We are constantly compromising on things. We trade in x amount of hours for x amount of dollars in a paycheck. We decide that x amount of effort is equivalent to x amount of money and/or job satisfaction and/or not sleeping on your friend’s couch and doing laundry at your mom’s.

Much of life is a series of compromises and negotiations. You take what you think you can get through the amount of effort you are willing to give. It’s sometimes a testament to sheer endurance and strength of will that some of us are (1) happy, (2) eating 3 meals a day, and (3) alive at all and not lying face down in a ditch somewhere with a bottle of whiskey clutched in our fists.

And then there are the choices you make about love – the choice to endure painful awkward moments that are a little bit like ripping hangnails off with a binder clip every time you introduce your boyfriend or he introduces you and people hear your names together and say… [insert awful groan-inducing comment here]. It’s what you knew was coming the moment he asked you out and you did a quick calculation in your head of just how bad this was going to be. And you decide the risk is worth it but are willing to reassess every few weeks. (I am giving it one year and if I am still biting my tongue in pain by then, we might need to take legally binding action.)

But what, really, is in a name? Does it really matter when we compromise and let things go and cling to the “make first things first” way of life? When do we know we’ve gone too far away from what really matters in the first place? And when do we know when to walk away because we’ve lost ourselves and cannot find the way back from where we are?

It’s the frog in the boiling water scenario. You’ve heard the story. If you put a frog in a pot of water and you turn the heat up under it, the frog will keep adjusting to the rising temp and will eventually boil to death. Or turn into a prince. With really puffy lips and scald marks. The point is that there’s a time to adjust and there’s a time to leap the heck out of the pot. And sometimes you need other people to help you know when that is. And sometimes you know. You really really know. But you have to reason out all the reasons and think out all the thinks and then you find yourself saying, I will deal with the name thing and I will grin and bear it and maybe I’ll stop smacking him every time it happens some where along the way. Years and years and years from now…

But the things I won’t compromise on, the things that are NOT going to be grinned and borned, are all the very many reasons I choose to stay put. I’ve learned love lessons the hard way. I’ve learned when to jump into the boiling water and I have the scars to prove it. But I also have learned to recognize amazing and know how to label a person as such. And you can call it whatever you want and it will still be as sweet.

And at the end of a day, the little things do have to be laughed at, and the big picture does come into focus and all you know you need and many of the things you want are staring you in the face and you choose to let everything else go. And it isn’t just about a name, or an age, or a situation, or distance, or convenience, or what a person can do for you or doesn’t do to you, or how they give you what you want when you whine about it. It comes down to knowing that a rose is a rose is a rose and the character and faith of a man will shine through in the end. And you see everything he is and could be and will be, even when he can’t see it, and you want nothing more than the perfect will of God for him, no matter what that may look like or how long it may take.  But you pray like crazy it won’t take too too long. And in the meantime, you stop kissing frogs. Well, all except one.


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