Lewisburg ceased to be a town so much as it became a lake this weekend while I was at the ranch. The chickens were wading ankle deep and we practically needed a boat to feed the cattle. In other words, when it rains, it pours, but I’m not just talking about the weather.
Anyone who’s been following this blog for a while has read my painful journey of falling in love quickly with the Cowboy of my dreams and losing him nearly as fast but with little closure. He’s a good man, and while he hasn’t intended to ever hurt me, the communication roller coaster jerks my fragile heart up and down, and I’ve tried to lean as hard as I can into God and the love of my friends for shelter – those friends, of course, being little bits of Himself that God sends to wrap an arm around me or make me another margarita.
After a few months of looking for signs of encouragement, I decided Christmas Day that it was time to grow up and declare that hope dead in the water and actively move forward without Cowboy whether or not I felt ready. Any entrepreneur book, and many Pinterest quotes, will tell you some variation of the idea “Leap and the net will appear”, and it seemed time to apply that to my broken heart. I accepted that I had seen, and probably heard, the last of Cowboy and I did what all the other 30-something-single-ladies are doing these days. I signed up for Match.com.
I’ll spare you all the stalker-ish messages, the winks from the men old enough to be my father, the guilt over ignoring messages from guys who are probably perfectly nice but definitely not right for me. But then – what’s that? A charming, John Krasinski-lookalike cattle farmer in Alabama who loves Jesus and sarcasm? SEND MESSAGE. But two weeks later, when I saw he had still never logged on and probably wasn’t an active member, I realized I may have wasted my money on this adventure, and just as I predicted, online dating wasn’t right for me and I’d fucked up my only chance at love with that one Cowboy, though I couldn’t have told you how even if my life depended on it. I stopped logging in much for a few days, ignoring my messages. But one day, I woke up to a message and decided to take a peek. “Hey Cutie. ;)” UGH. Gross. But his picture is kinda cute so…well, I’ll look at his profile. Hold the phone! A Montana man with a 5,000 acres family wheat farm, working on his grad degree in Chattanooga and fresh out of the Peace Corps helping farmers in Ghana? NOT what I was expecting!
We worked our way to texting yesterday, and while he was a bit cheesy, he’s sweet and seems to like me for a lot of the right reasons. *Ding Ding* went my text sound again. “Man,” I thought to myself, “he’s chatty.”
It was Cowboy.
He was pulling up the drive.
Ok. Wait. Deep breath. Prayer. Lord, whatever You want. I don’t know what to do. Help me, help me, help me.
I turned the corner into Mama D’s living room and there he stood, my darling, knee-weakening Cowboy, looking into me with those kind, golden eyes. Only the night before, I’d held my weepy face in my hands, missing him so much, telling God how much I wished I could talk to him about all the things I was going through. Have you ever been there? Wanting to talk to the person about the situation even though they ARE the situation, because they’re the friend whose heart you most desperately want to confide in and be advised by? Every time something important happens, he’s still the one I want to tell, not because I’m in love with him but because he so quickly became one of my best friends and my heart misses his heart.
Anyway, after a big, genuine hug, he jumped in and helped us with some chores we were all working on and over the next hour or so we were able to chat a little and catch up. We were nervous, but it felt like home all over again. Even he wouldn’t refute that we have an uncanny comfort with each other if you asked. We talked about it on our first date, and here, after three estranged months, it was still undeniable. I swear there is a industrial-strength magnetic force between us. It feels as though the heart in my chest is physically drawn to his. It was all I could do to stand away from him, and when he unexpectedly walked behind me and put his hand on the back of my neck like he used to, my fingers instinctively reached up to his. I’m not saying there’s any future to that touch, but there was a world of history in it.
I somehow managed to keep him from catching me watch him most of the afternoon (I mean, he was using tools, can you blame me?), and after a bit more catching up, I left him to have some guy talk with ranch manager/cowboy legend/my hero, S, with a wink. (This reminds me I still need to tell you his story). S is possibly even a bigger cheerleader of me and Cowboy than I am myself, and I knew he’d talk sense to him if he could. I still don’t know what I did right in life to call S such a good friend, but I’m grateful. I went back to the main house, got a beer, and tried to forget that my first love was only yards away.
We said a warm, but mild, goodbye later in the evening and I just hope it’s all a sign of a small warming, even if it’s just so we can be real friends again. But also, wouldn’t you know, during all this, Mr. Montana was blowing up my phone the whole time, asking when he can drive to two hours to come take me on a date. If that wasn’t enough, who sent me a message as I was falling asleep by the fire but Alabama farmer! He’d been taking a break from the site but was smitten with me and my dreams of farm life.
So, it’s raining, it’s pouring, my love life is storming. My heart unequivocally belongs to my resurfaced Cowboy, but if he doesn’t want it, I have to give it a chance to be loved by someone else, and the two current fellas potentially applying for the job are dazzling in their own right.
My apologies – this post has been a little story heavy, and message lite. Let’s fix that. Message: I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. That day, I ran the full spectrum of emotions. I swung from nervous to charming to dorky to distant. I tried to slow down an overly flirty Montana man, speed up a moseying Alabama farmer, and recapture the heart of a Tennessee cowboy, all in one afternoon, all in an attempt to throw the doors of my life open to terrifying possibilities, instead of burying it in the yard under the tombstone of heartbreak and loss. If I can tell you one thing, it’s never, never, never give up. Maybe none of these stories will play out, but I won’t stop showing up for my life. I wish it felt like there was more confirmation, more narration, showing you that your story line is being guided in those moments, instead of feeling like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. But there’s not, and you have to be willing to just throw yourself off that cliff and wait for the net. God will not let you hit the rocks, ever. Just understand that sometimes our rocks are His nets.