Last year, 2017, I felt like God impressed me with a particular verse from Psalm 51 — “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew your steadfast Spirit within me.” Over and over, daily and sometimes many times on a given day, I would find myself reciting this verse and praying it back to God. As the time went by, I began to appreciate the words in a deeper way; and I called on God to change my heart in so many areas. In some of my previous posts I talk about the struggles I’ve had with obsessive thoughts and the influence of allowing outside media a prominent place in my time and habits.
When 2018 began, I prayed and asked God if He would have a different verse for me to focus on. The verse I believe He directed me to is from Ecclesiastes 3:4 – A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. Anyone who knows me or has followed these writings knows exactly the source of my weeping and mourning in recent years. And while I don’t think that I will ever stop missing Michael and thinking of him, I have turned my focus to laughing and dancing, both figuratively and literally.
In the last six months I have had the privilege and adventure to meet a number of new friends – friends who have expressed an interest in a dating relationship. And yes, you may have guessed, I met them through online dating sites. I know, I’ve even surprised myself. I will reassure you that I have been cautious and discerning. I have taken much time to try to get to know them before allowing them to contact me personally. I have surprised, even shocked, my children and my friends. And while their initial reactions were not always what I would have liked, more and more they are beginning to understand that this is a new season of life for me, filled with new experiences and possibilities. And the beginning of a new season in no way erases the seasons that have gone by.
These new friends come from a wide variety of backgrounds and vocations, and my experiences with each have been just as varied. There’s the insurance agent who lives down on the bayou, who loved to text me for an extended period of time but was never ready to meet in person. The writer who was ready for a third date when I wasn’t, and then wasn’t interested when I was. The policeman who was fascinating and told me how beautiful he thought I was, but had a filthy mouth and no desire to change his vocabulary. The inventor and custom car builder who was just too wild for this old fashioned girl. And the residential contractor who was raising a 10 year old foster son while juggling a relationship with the boy’s drug addicted mother. And while none of these new relationships will take a romantic direction, I can honestly say that any one of them could walk in the room and we would each call the other friend.
Oh, and there’s one more . . .
Yes, this is a new season in my life. I never thought I’d be in this place, considering the last time I went on a first date was 1975. Life looks very different at sixty than it did at twenty, and that includes dating and dating relationships. Sometimes it takes you on an emotional roller-coaster. Sometimes it occupies too much of your time and energy. For many, the rules and expectations are much different than they were forty years ago. And it calls you to make a decision – do you change with the times and ideas of twenty-first century dating relationships, or do you stick with the boundaries you set for yourself and preached to your children?
So I guess I’m just publicly acknowledging what’s been going on privately for a number of months. I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with this post, or I should say, where I’m not going. Because you see, my current adventure is not over. In fact, it may be just beginning.