Monthly Archives: May 2013

On Anticipation

I started writing this a little over a year ago and don’t know why I never finished it, but now seems like a good time. I’ll italicize the original.

I watched the Season 7 finale of How I Met Your Mother today. I discovered the show years after it started, but it’s one of my absolute favorites of all time. I referenced it to Val last week and she shared with me that she stopped following it a few years back after having watched closely for some time. I didn’t understand what would cause her to stop. She explained that she has several friends that started watching the show at different times and the result was the same with each. You see, the plot is set up by a first-person narrator telling his children the story of, well, how he met their mother. Val and her friends watched for a season or two, but eventually they grew weary of not knowing who was going to end up as the wife. The has a great premise, but they lose a lot of viewers because everyone knows the ending; they know that Ted gets married, but also realize that they won’t learn who he marries until the show ends. And it could run for a very long time. The execs are now letting on that there’s probably only a season or two left. With all the twists and developments, it’s hard for some to watch a show where you know the ending, but are made to wait for it.

I’ve been back from Bike Out Hunger for 2 weeks now. As you can imagine, when I returned, there was a mountain of work waiting for me. I found myself asking, “Was the week off really worth the stress of coming back after having been gone for so long?” I’ve shared before on fb and G+ a study that basically says that the majority of benefits at a vacation actually come before you leave. It turns out that the physiological response to a vacation builds long before it comes and often peaks before what may be the climax of a trip. [For the record I certainly enjoyed my time away and it was totally worth the extra work]. You see, the body responds to the planning process, the building of anticipation for what’s coming, more even than an actual destination or culmination of the plans. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Now, a year later, if you’ve seen the HIMYM Season 8 finale, you know that we finally get our first glimpse of the mother! Fans already know where it happens, but now we have a face.

And I think I know now why I stopped where I did. There are so many directions to go…

First — because it’s on my heart right now — as a long time single dude, it’s really hard not to put a lot of my heart into a relationship before it’s ready. When you’re getting to know someone, it can be a killer to put too many expectations on a person (see Fairy Tale Love). I’d be willing to bet that applies to you engaged folks and newlyweds, too :-)

Second, looking forward isn’t a bad thing. There are benefits to that planning time for a vacation and, likewise, there are definitely benefits to planning for the future. The prep time before a promotion, future relationship, trip, or whatever, can make all the difference in actually getting there. It’s not to be wasted. How would your vacation turn out without booking a flight or hotel? Would you go into an interview without knowing about the company you’re applying with? Of course not.

┬áSo whatever you’re waiting on or hoping for, get to it. Train, plan, study, save, read, exercise discipline, and be ready.

Thirdly, I am so thankful that no amount of anticipation and no hype is more than the joys of eternity with my God. No matter how wonderful I think Heaven will be or how much I try to brace myself for true awe and the experience of meeting the Creator face-to-face, I will not be let down. What great anticipation! Now excuse me, I need to go prepare.

Blessings, Shalom,

Fairy Tale Love

When I visited my parents in May before heading to Russia with work, my mom went with me while I did some shopping and we had a great time laughing and talking about how people don’t appreciate our humor and travel games. I told her when I get back I need to visit my sister and that I also need to go see Grandad because I haven’t been a while. That lead to talking about his stories about making a name for himself in his industry and how how proud he is of his family — “Now, I’m not bragging… OK, I guess I am bragging.”

Then Mom told me something I’d never heard before. “Did you know that Grandad used to wear a leather jacket and ride a motorcycle?” Apparently he was a bit rougher when he was young. She told me how she’d come to learn this back when she was in hs or college. Mom said that she would go out with guys and end things when it came time for the relationship to get serious. Granny would ask, “Now what was wrong with so-and-so? He’s a nice boy!” And mom would say there was nothing wrong with him or find some little fault to satisfy the question.

One day, I guess Granny was getting impatient waiting for her to settle on a guy and after starting the same conversation, she took it a different direction, “If you’re looking for a man like your father, you’re not going to find him. Your dad was a thug when I met him with a motorcycle and a leather jacket. He’s the way he is now because I made him that way.”

Sit on that for a minute. It may sound cocky, yes, but how many mature couples will tell you they ended with exactly what they started with? That’s a story I haven’t heard yet.

I think we all want a fairy book love story. Who wouldn’t, after all! When I look back at my grandparents, their love certainly looked that way to me, but the reality was that it took work, just like any other. So here’s what I’m beginning to learn. You and I are not the static princes and princesses of the mid 1900s Disney movies. We have beautiful love stories to be written, but we are dynamic characters and the conflicts of our fairy tales don’t come from outside forces like witches or evil rulers (obviously). No, they come from each other — flawed, but growing children with rough edges — and beautiful stories are the result of fighting misconceptions about love and God, and the idea that our prince or princess will somehow be static, complete, and ready for our happy ending the moment we meet. How boring!

Friends used to accuse me of looking for perfection in a person to date and I would tell them that I’m not looking for the perfect girl, just the perfect girl for me. It was a step in the right direction, sure, but the truth is she may not be the perfect girl for me yet. And I’m sure I’m no one’s picture of exactly what they need, but I trust that God will get us there. Together. And in His timing.