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Friday, February 20, 2015

Lent and Other Things

And we find ourselves here again: Lent 2015. If you missed last year's super-exciting Lent (filled with my usual brand of strangeness) feel free to take a look back starting here. As for what I'm doing this year, it very much resembles what I was doing last year ... which is to say, I'm trying to use Lent to gain a better understanding of my faith (even though, like last year, I'm just as unofficially Catholic as ever) and how it applies to my life.

I don't necessarily know what this Lent will bring. Last year's Lent was a strange and exciting time -- this year's Lent may be more of the same or something different, I'm not entirely sure. Whatever the case may be, this year's Lent (which began this past Wednesday) began the countdown to Easter.

Easter approaches and I'm still here in Alabama. With Lent now in effect, that means I'm officially on the clock -- I have 44 days left before April 5th arrives. My grandiose plan to get out of Alabama and back to Virginia is still in effect, I have the capital now (and the longer I'm here, the more capital I accrue) but I'm stuck.

The transfer from my current store to one in Virginia is frozen in limbo: it's like the other store is on a communications blackout, refusing any messages from my HR guy. That's frustrating enough, as you can imagine.

Equally frustrating is my helplessness in a number of other areas, where friends back in Virginia could use a hand and I'm stuck. Here. Again. Last year I was stuck in Ohio, this year in Alabama, but I'm in far better shape on multiple levels this time around, so perhaps that will expedite the process of getting back.

More than being helpless, I'm also suffering from a bit of confusion. If the court will recall, I did have one shining week in November with one shining example of a great girl; as of late, I find myself revisiting that week. Why?

The answer is probably because last week was Valentine's Day. I was never so happy to have to work than that day, a day where the very fact that I'm single is looked down upon as the celebration of "we" overrode everything else. The Valentine's Day section did have cards for other things than just romance this year (an improvement, I guess), but it still didn't take the edge off.

Anyway, I worked and was glad to work. Not so glad to have to work a double-shift the next day starting at 5AM (not fun) but this week has been a much easier week of work and my mind has been drifting back to that week in November.

I find myself fighting the urge just to make it plain and speak my thoughts/feelings. I feel like I'm at the scene in the romantic-comedy where the male lead is at the airport terminal and he's about to confess everything to his love interest, putting it all out there because he believes there's more.

Problem: I do believe there's more, but I'm fairly certain she doesn't. Hence, why I'm very likely not going to confess everything there is to confess, at least not at this juncture. I'm of the mindset that honesty is the best policy and that I should be honest, but she's clearly expressed her wishes (in short: NO) and I have to respect that. I have to honor that.

But I definitely want to figuratively spill my guts and put it all out there, just so I can be absolutely sure that I'm not making one of those "and I regretted it for the rest of my life" mistakes. I don't want to make such a mistake.

"Your experience is limited, it's not like that," you say. You're right, of course, it's not as though this girl is the only girl who'll ever show any interest in me. Odds say that there's bound to be another.

But I want this girl. Not in some dishonorable, deplorable manner -- this isn't just about a physical thing (yes, I realize that's prevalent in our modern hookup culture, but when you say"hookup" to me I think "Wireless router" -- the physical aspect is not an issue here). I want her for her mind, her intellect, her personality, her wit, the Southern drawl she has, her love of classic literature, her love of Doctor Who ... I want her for her. I could go on (as anyone will testify, I can roll on and on about things), but the point remains: that has to mean something, right?

It's not like she's the first. She's among a very select few, but not the first. And it's not as though she's a fantasy girl (she's quite real, even though her existence does confuse me on a number of levels). She has her flaws. I have mine and, for a week and a handful of dates, we shared those flaws and strengths for hours on end.

She made going into a Goodwill fun. And a salon store. And Walmart (which, if there's ever a test, that might be it -- Walmart is retail misery personified).

But what does it mean? That, I don't know. I'm confused by it. I'm confused by the fact I still have feelings for a girl who was only a regular part of my life for a week. Seven great days.

I feel like there are two possible directions my life could take right now. On the right is the path that I've wanted since I got to Alabama, a return to Virginia, a return to Catholic country, a return to people I love and would love to see as often as possible. That path is somewhat illuminated, it has goal-markers, signposts, it has some semblance of guidance to it.

And then we have the path on my left, which was opened to me thanks to that one week with that one girl; it's a path that's dark, shrouded in mystery, potentially overgrown and filled with mines. It's a path that could be just as lonely -- perhaps even more lonely -- than the first one, it's a path that has no signposts or guidance. It's a path I'm unwilling to go down.

Unless I could go down it with her. I'm completely and totally willing to blow up every carefully laid idea and plan I have to give that dark and scary path a shot. I think it's worth it, I think she's worth it, and I'm not unconvinced of this even though we're nearly at the three month mark since it all came to an end.

I don't know what I'm doing here and I'm not sure there's an answer that will present itself as either right or wrong. There are merely answers, all some shade of both, and I have it within my power to choose any of those answers. I can confess my feelings, I can make an impassioned speech to win her back, I can leave it be, I can try and forget her, or I can do none of the above.

I simply can't tell which is the most right or the most wrong out of those answers. I don't know what it means.

I'm devoting this Lent to trying to solve that question ... am I wrong? Should I bury these thoughts and feelings? Is there some answer in scripture, in teaching, that I'm missing? I don't know right now. I hope to find out once Lent is over.

Where I am once Lent is over ... that's another question entirely and one, perhaps, I'll be able to answer sooner.

Thanks for reading, folks. God Bless. 

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