I have a new retirement plan. I’ve decided that from here on out when anyone says anything like the following to me, I shall require a $1 donation to my wallet:
- “You’re really not dating anyone?”
- “HOW are you still single??”
- “I just can’t think of any men who wouldn’t be intimidated by you.”
Sigh. If only I could collect back payments, I could buy my Montana cattle ranch tomorrow. Not to mention, I find it amusing how many people say #3 shortly after having said #2. Did you just answer your own question there, Sparky? I think maybe you did.
But this post isn’t meant to focus on my part of the equation as much as it is meant to address the ever emerging portrait of the man I’m looking for.
The men I can hold up as examples in my life as that benchmark, those standard bearers, are few and far between in my 34 years. There’s B, my longtime brother-friend, now married to his most perfect girl he finally found, which brings me such joy. He’s had a heart for me and all the good things he wishes me for more than a decade now, and he’s the example of how compassionately I know I can be treated. His kindness, loyalty, and support are unmatched. There’s M, a dearly loved friend for more than twenty years now (anybody who loves you through those bumpy teenage years is one to keep around). Though our lives occupy different worlds and time zones now, his friendship has always instilled such a worth and confidence in me, especially because while wicked smart and a charmer of the whole world, he’s never given a shit whether anyone else thought I was cool or not. And recently there’s S, a mentor friend who has appeared out of a clear blue sky and spun brutal, grace-filled tire tracks of love and challenge all over my tender-strong heart. There are just some people who can take you by the shoulders and look you in the eye and say “HEY. You need to see/hear/understand this,” and just like that (or nearly that quick), by the strength of their resolute wisdom and honesty, you can.
I am so grateful for these men, and some others, who by the sum total of their characters and the families they’ve created, have empowered me to hold to my belief that a great man is not a myth, and create a composite sketch of what that can look like.
Spend any time on dating sites and you’ll see a wide array of attempts at describing one’s ideal person. Sometimes it’s a laundry list of activities: “must love dogs, being on the lake, and new restaurants!” Sometimes it’s an anti-list of qualities: “no crazies, no jealous types, and NO drama!” I’ve always struggled a bit with these write-ups. I can write a novel about what they’re like or what a day in the life would look like with my right person, but it’s all words on top of what IT is. What is that IT? It’s bothered me for ages not to be able to pinpoint it – until recently.
Every other essential quality I crave – compassion, confidence, curiosity – every one of them has an undercurrent of INTENTION. Someone who has and is taking the time to intentionally curate their character. Someone who looks at their life and perhaps sees everything lining up naturally to take them one direction, but listens to their heart and says, “Actually – what I really want is to go over THERE. Let’s make that happen.” Someone who is intentional about how they treat people, how they care for themselves, how they spend their time, what they accept as truth. Someone who is PAYING ATTENTION and charting their course accordingly.
Recently, while chewing on all this in my mind, and especially in thinking about what kind of spiritual man I’m looking for, I was reminded of the story of Jacob in the Old Testament. *Let’s Note: I’m not a biblical scholar, so I’m not here to interpret the scripture for you. I’m just here to share how it connected with me.* There are many opinions on who appeared to Jacob, be it an angel, or God, or even Jesus centuries earlier in time, but in any case, Jacob is said to have reached right out and WRESTLED him. And that, that right there, is what I want. Give me a Jacob, as I understand him. A man who, when faced with the divine, reached out and wrestled with it in spite of the pain it caused him, and for his daring, adventurous, hungry spirit, was renamed. He quite literally became known for it. “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” I don’t want someone who wants easy, or who has all the answers, but someone who is willing to wade in and struggle with God and humans in order to LIVE.