Friday, November 16, 2012

Setting the Record Straight (Again!)

Disclaimer: I don't know how to say what I feel needs to be said without potentially sounding snobbish or self-righteous.  Some of you may not like what I'm about to say, but, whether or not you like it, you may very well need to hear it.  Instead of reading what I say to simply refute it, read it to understand it, and maybe you'll realize that there's a good bit of truth in what I'm saying.  Also, I know that I've expressed similar views in previous posts, but, director David McFadzean once said, "Only exposing ourselves to Christian books, music and movies that coddle us can actually keep us in our own sin," and the same could be said for other works, including blog posts; therefore, I'm going to be a bit more direct and blunt this time around.  Still with me? Then, here we go.
We've all been hit with it: the one-word insult.  From preschools to colleges to offices to retirement homes, words such as "dummy," "idiot," "loser," "moron," and others--including some you will never see on this blog--are directed at everyone from family members to co-workers to famous people to faceless people online, and it doesn't stop there.  Even two popular reference book series--...For Dummies and The Complete Idiot's Guide to...--use such words in every title published.  Jesus had something to say about using such words: "But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matthew 5:22, NIV 1984)  More to the point, though, I remember what Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus said in his intro to Mac OS X Panther for Dummies: that he did not feel that his readers were dummies, and would have rather called the book Mac OS X Panther for People Who Are Smart Enough to Know They Need Help, but the people at Wiley Publishing wouldn't let him.  His books on newer OS X versions had similar declarations.
Why do I bring that up? Well, consider the following: Our society is so obsessed with romance these days that, even subconsciously, we think of those college-aged or older who have never had a serious relationship as losers.  We may not say it or even think those exact words, but, think about it: if you met someone well into his or her thirties who never really dated anyone, how would you react?  Society tells us that romantic love is for everyone, and even youngsters are fed such ideas.  I used to even think of myself as a loser due to being in my twenties and still a lifelong single.
However, despite the permeation of such idyllic ideas into our culture, it is all debunked by 1 Corinthians 7:8 (NIV 1984): "Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am." So, are the lifelong singles like me losers? No! In fact, upon thinking about it while suffering from insomnia last night, I realized that it's much better to stay single than to get involved in a relationship that you shouldn't be in for whatever reason, and end up paying for it for the rest of your life.  No matter what society would have you believe, romance and relationships are not for everyone and never have been.  Unfortunately, it seems that many people, including quite a few Christians, don't get that.
To continue the thought: Though Valentine's Day may be a few months away, it seems that, with my friends, love is in the air.  Between new relationships, new engagements, weddings and such, my Facebook news feed has been bombarded with such announcements.  Yet, other than a few April Fool's jokes, my relationship status has stayed the same since joining Facebook, and it was pretty much the same when it wasn't posted online.  Amidst all these special events, what's a lifelong single to do?
Well, that will take a little explaining: When I get faced with whatever situation, I usually think back to similar situations in the past, and think what of what I did, what ended up happening because of my actions, and whether whatever I ended up doing was right or wrong.  Some of you may not know this, but the whole celebrity obsession thing that started in 2001 was begun simply because of frustration with the coeval young ladies whom I knew at the time.  They weren't into what I was; their version of "love" was ditching someone after only a week or two; and some of their immature behaviors were annoying.  Though I was still in middle school at the time, I think that was partly a smart decision.  Yes, obsessing over anything is wrong; we all know that.  Still, seeking out a female eighth grader who met my standards was likely to be a frustratingly futile quest.  However, telling people, "I'm going to marry Hilary Duff!", even though I knew such a thing was unattainable, was fun, because how could I be disappointed if someone else married her when I knew I had zero chance anyway?
Fast forward to November 2012, and I've found myself in a very similar spot.  Though I've made numerous female friends over the past few years, usually, the ones who take a liking to me have already been snatched up.  Even the single ones have/have had some other reason: distance, directly opposite religious beliefs, or they just plain weren't interested.  It may sound like a bit of desperation, but, maybe I should go back to the days of saying that I'm going to marry a celebrity.  It may be a joke, but, hey, I'd rather make others laugh than cause myself endless frustration when I get rejected.  In fact, such feelings have been there for a while; remember two posts ago, when I said that I hadn't attempted to get a date since 2008?
You may be thinking, "But, don't you want to be happy?" Yes...and I am.  Sure, I've got my share of troubles, but I've got friends and family, as well as a God, who love me and regularly look out for me, and, for the moment, that's all I need.  Does that mean that romance has no place in my future? Definitely not! In thirty years, I could still be a lifelong single...or I could be married with six kids; that's all up to God.  Whatever happens, I just have to trust in His guidance.
Some of you may be saying, " can't have a celebrity in place of a real significant other!  It's creepy; people will think you're out of your gourd; and,'s just wrong!"  First off, if you have a coherent argument against what I'm saying, I'd like to hear it, though I'm sure I can argue against it nonetheless.  More to the point, though: Although the word "fan" is derived from "fanatic," they've taken on completely separate meanings.  Being a "fan" of something means that you like it; being a "fanatic" means that you can't stop talking about it, and that it influences everything you do.  It's as Ren Stevens said in an episode of Even Stevens: "There's a difference between fan and fanatic."  I've seen where friends who were in relationships spent every possible moment with each other, and I used to be the same way with celebrities and other fixations.  Not only did I burn up hours upon hours reading everything I could find about Hilary Duff and Lizzie McGuire, but, even as a kid, I didn't like anything getting between me and my Commodore 64.  Yet, when such actions/feelings are not reciprocated, it ends up being creepy and "stalkerish," and that was the problem I had in the past.  I know now that I can be a fan of a female celebrity, and even have others consider her my "girlfriend" or "wife," without it being a hardcore obsession.
However, for that and other reasons, some people are still likely to consider me some sort of idiot or lunatic; I have the "unfriendings" and perpetually pending friend requests to prove it.  I'm reminded of the second rap verse from the mega-popular song "Jesus Freak" by dc Talk:
There was a man from the desert with naps in his head!
The sand that he walked was also his bed!
The words that he spoke made the people assume
There wasn't too much left in the upper room!
With skins on his back and hair on his face,
They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate!
The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak,
Until the king took the head of this Jesus freak!
Yes, that verse was talking about John the Baptist, who wore animal skins and ate wild locusts and honey.  Did people think he was insane? Probably...but he knew he wasn't, and he didn't let others' thoughts about him stop him from doing what God sent him to do: prepare the way for Jesus Christ.  Others had similar thoughts about the Apostle Paul; during a sermon on Paul's testimony to King Agrippa in Acts 26, I found this rendering in The Message paraphrase:
That was too much for Festus. He interrupted with a shout: "Paul, you're crazy! You've read too many books, spent too much time staring off into space! Get a grip on yourself, get back in the real world!"
But Paul stood his ground. "With all respect, Festus, Your Honor, I'm not crazy. I'm both accurate and sane in what I'm saying. The king knows what I'm talking about. I'm sure that nothing of what I've said sounds crazy to him."
Truth be told, some folks probably have a quite similar reaction when they meet me:
So, you're a twenty-four-year-old guy living under your parents' roof.  You're okay with the fact that you're a lifelong single because you somehow believe that the Bible defends it.  You have a penchant for the female kind, yet the majority of girls/women who take a liking to you are already taken.  You love pretty much any kind of entertainment, as long as it's family-friendly, and have many movies, books, and songs in your collection of which few people have even heard.  Your favorite celebrity is Victoria Justice, who stars in a Nickelodeon sitcom, and you like her so much that people call her your 'girlfriend'.  Your passion for entertainment is so great that you work at a library, which you call 'Entertainment Central'.  You have a blog where you use a codename that I can't even pronounce.  Yet, you want to be my friend? [Siobhan], who do you think you are? I'll tell you who you are: a Looney Tune who needs to be checked into a mental hospital! You're no friend of mine!
You know what, though? They can say, think, and/or do whatever they want; my true friends are the ones who know the above details and love me because of them.  Just like the Apostle Paul, I know I'm not crazy, and, if those non-friends would bother trying to get to know me, they'd realize it, too.
In conclusion, let me say this: I have no enmity towards those in relationships, friends or otherwise, and this is not meant to condemn anyone's relationship.  If you are romantically involved with someone, great! Romance can be fun...but it can also be very heartbreaking.  For all the Hollywood-style or storybook-esque love stories that I've seen or heard about, there are also the broken hearts, the spouses who walked out, the abusive significant others, the adulterers, and the ones who spent months if not years planning to marry someone only to have their hopes dashed for one reason or another.  Have I seen the latter among my friends? Definitely! However, I am also a product of a marriage gone completely wrong.  So, I know better than most that romance, even when it involves nuptials, isn't all it's cracked up to be.  I've heard people say that only to be in a new relationship mere months later; however, in this case, I mean that.  You may think that "there isn't too much left in the upper room," but I can simply reply with this: "With all respect, dear reader, I'm not crazy. I'm both accurate and sane in what I'm saying.  My friends know what I'm talking about.  I'm sure that nothing of what I've said sounds crazy to them." You friends of mine will back me up...right?
Any comments?

1 comment:

Johnny said...

Relationships are a difficulty of mine as well. I have learned many things by being in one. The relationships which taught me the most were those found in the church. I hope my insights can be taken as a heart-to-heart.
I see you as a very proactive relationship builder. Relationship building is more art than science, but I approached it from a pure scientific perspective. I found the proactive approach is necessary, but only half the solution. Being reactive in a relationship adds that artful whimsey which can cause the more deeply felt emotions to emerge when combine with the proactive. Stay with me; I am about to explain.
To me proactive relationship building are the first approach, I care about you, direct interactions. The reactive relationship building actions involve a well-thought, considered approach to the actions and/or comments of others. I do not consider the reactive approach to be something that can be done "on the fly." One needs to take in the thoughts and feelings of a topic and consider the possibilities for a time before acting. After coming to a conclusion on a course of action, it can be manifested in several forms. Whether the reaction is a gift, bringing two specific people together, or commenting on a blog. If you keep the focus on the friend's difficulty and do not even season the action with your own wants, the outcome cannot be negative.
The solution as in many difficulties is in moderation. Reactive as well as proactive approaches in a balanced combination have served me well. Don't get me wrong. There is much for me to learn. This is simply my attempt at being your reactive friend.