So, yesterday, I met a friend. Knowing that I am an avid blogger, he said, just a few minutes after we met, “Oh NO! I am going to read all about this on your blog, aren’t I?” I assured him not, because as you know I just don’t talk much about other people here. My reactions to them, yes, but them personally, no. Just a kind reminder to anyone who may be concerned, LOL.
Now, many of you know that I stay pretty busy. I have the kids, the job, the blogs, the phone, the life (such as it may be), and I am just busy. Sometimes too busy. So. As we were preparing to go our separate ways, he said to me “if your life is so full, why are you here?” Now, I gave him an answer, but it was pretty flip. I told him it wasn’t full enough. In truth, I chewed on that question all afternoon and evening. It made me think through some stuff I’d been leaving in the back of my mind, marinating. This morning, I wrote about 30 inches of notes at work, and I am going to attempt to answer that question from those notes because I think I have some important things to say. Not just for myself, but for other people, too.
Note to Mama and other people who may be squeamish: I will be talking about sex here, both directly and indirectly. If you prefer to continue to think of me as some androgynous, relatively anonymous blogger, you may want to stop reading right this very minute. But if you want to learn a whole lot about who I am and what motivates me, read on. I’m pretty much about to bare my soul here in front of 4,786 of my closest friends. Ok, ten. Ten friends. At the most.
I want to begin by pointing out two passages of scripture, because what I am about to say does indeed have a biblical foundation. First, in Genesis 2:18, we read And the LORD God said , It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (KJV) Right there, ladies, we have our purpose. Everything else you do is secondary, because you were created specifically to be a help to a man. Don’t be looking at that as a negative. It’s a high and hard calling and it’s also a privilege. He doesn’t complete you, you complete him. Now, I know we aren’t all married. Lord, don’t I know that! But we aren’t all called to singleness either. Look what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7. I’m not going to quote it here, because the entire passage is applicable, but the thrust of it for this post is that he says not everyone should remain single, and that it is better to marry than to have passion with no acceptable outlet. Marriage is designed by God to represent His relationship with us. The Church as a whole is called the Bride of Christ. Emotional and physical intimacy is as close as we will get on this earth to understanding the true nature of God’s love for us.
I was discussing sex and love making a while back with a dear friend. We were talking about body image, specifically. Seems we both have some difficulties in that area. No big surprise given the examples of “beauty” that are held up today for us to emulate. Rail thin women with hard pointy faces and big buff guys with abs of steel. The mere mortals among us could never compare, right? Let me tell you a little secret right now. I’ve been a lot skinnier than you see me now. And my first husband was significantly underweight. There is nothing sexy about sex between anorexics. It’s all elbows and knees and jutting hipbones and trying to keep the blood flowing past the pressure points. Take my word for it. God made women with extra padding for a reason, ya’ll. ‘Nuff said.
Anyway, I explained to my friend that when I make love to a person, it is like writing a letter. Now, I got a funny look when I said that, so I explained it a bit more. His body is the paper, and my body is the writing instrument, but the message is delivered to the heart and soul, not the body that encases it. When you write a letter, it doesn’t matter if you use cheap newsprint or expensive vellum, if you have monogrammed stationery or lined notebook paper. And you can write with pencil or a bic pen or a fancy calligraphy quill. Either way, and with any combination, you are still sending a message. You are telling that person that they are the most important person in the universe to you right now.
Now, I touch my children frequently, and I look deep into their eyes, and I tell them I love them. I write letters to them, if you will, but in a non-sexual way. My children don’t do that to me. They do not yet fully grasp the concept of loving someone so much that you would do anything for them. Go without so they could have. Put aside your own desires so that theirs could be fulfilled. So, to those who say immerse yourself in your children and just be a mom, I am going to look you right in the face and say, it is not enough. It will never be enough.
I have a look when I am loved and being loved. It’s an amazing change, really, that comes over my face. I hadn’t noticed it until someone pointed it out to me and told me to look in the mirror. I turned around to see me and I did not recognize myself. I was beautiful. Which was quite a shock, given my normal state of face. I want to look like that every day. They say every bride is beautiful, and now I understand it is the loving and being loved that makes her that way. And I will not hesitate to say here that I did not consider myself to be beautiful on either of my wedding days.
I watched Steel Magnolias a couple of weeks ago. It is a good movie, one of my favorites. In it, one of the main characters, the one who dies, says, “I’d rather have 30 seconds of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” I forget that line is coming every time I watch the movie, but every time, I nod my head in agreement. And sometimes I cry a little just there. I want a lifetime of moments that take my breath away, and I never intend to settle for less again.
Now I know you can’t live like that, all breathless with our heads in the clouds, all the time, else we’d never be able to take care of the details of life. And I want to be clear that I’ve got nothing against a quickie, either. A good romp for it’s own sake is a fine thing. But every now and again, when the lights go out, if you aren’t losing yourself in your partner, aren’t absolutely immersed in your lover and friend, then that’s not love. It’s lust. And I can get a booty call any day of the week. In fact, if all I want is an orgasm, I can take care of that myself. I’m a big girl, I know how. But that’s not what I want.
What I want is about so much more than just sex. It’s the thousand little things. A glass of iced tea on a hot day. A listening ear. Rubbing away your headache before you even know it’s coming on. Coffee made just the way you like it. Sitting in silence and holding your hand when words are not enough, or when they are too much, and knowing the difference. And knowing that he, whoever he may eventually be, knows I am doing all of that just because of love. That it is a gift, given willingly, and accepted with appreciation for the cost, understanding that willing submission makes me more, not less. See, the kind of relationship I want, is built on time and trust, not sex. It’s built on compassion and sacrifice and service, not selfishness. I want to write letters and I want to read letters written to me. I want to know at the end of a day that I have fulfilled my purpose, that I have been a helper, confidant, lover, friend. To know that the day was made better because I was a part of it. Maybe even that it was made complete just because I was there.
My life is full, but not full enough.