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Twenty-three. Little Did I Know.

“Of course, I do hope to marry one day,” David confessed to me towards the end of what became our annual three-hour phone conversation.

We were 23, a year out of college, dreaming dreams and taking baby steps to pursue them. We hadn’t spoken in months, and one Saturday night, procrastinating from my own mountain of work, I decided to give him a call to see how he was doing. He was happy to hear from me, and we shared both what we were up to and the deeper things of the heart. Our most beautiful Maker was shaping us, forming us, refining us, in these formative adult years, to become all that we were meant to be. Our Maker was opening our eyes to poison in our lives, from our pasts, our childhoods, and generational legacies (both good and bad) passed down to us from our parents and grandparents. And we were each in our own way welcoming our Maker to whisper cleansing and hope into these areas, that we could walk in a new way.

A couple hours into our conversation, David shared where he was at with his struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA). I joined a weekly support group, he told me. It wasn’t perfect, but it provided him enough support to keep him growing. For now I feel called to singleness, he shared.

I was at the exact same place, wanting to eradicate my life of some of my own inner demons before pursuing marriage, and also focusing on my career and personal goals at the time, which kept me far too busy for me to feel like I could adequately invest into a dating relationship.

We laughed together about older Koreans from our parents’ generation, who all seemed to conspire to match us up with other Korean-American singles. Even my dry cleaner lady! It was like as soon as you graduated from college, during which time most of us were discouraged from dating so we could focus on our studies, we were now ENcouraged to date and marry at a rate far faster than our generation was comfortable with.

We were both at peace with our singleness and utilizing our life stage well, and we shook our head in amusement at our elders who thought they knew what was best for us when they simply did not. At least not in this area.

And then he said those magic words. “Of course, I do hope to marry one day.” It was an honest confession of the heart. Did it stir my heart? Not really. I knew he wasn’t confessing feelings for ME; he was simply sharing HIS hope for HIS future.

As his friend, I tried to be encouraging, nodding my head in agreement as if my nonverbal signal could somehow travel over the phone lines and into his faith for the future.

But I was not just his friend. I was a young woman who four years before had been cripplingly attracted to him in in my own well of emotional neediness. I was a sister in the faith, fighting my own deceptions that any man could ever fill the holes in my heart to complete satisfaction. I was a sister in the faith, who after some months of this fight, emerged victorious, free and light when I finally saw my romantic feelings for him were done, and all that remained was a pure concern for his well being and growth. I was a sister in the faith, and at that time I believed with all my heart that my life calling lay geographically on the opposite side of the world as where he was headed. I was a sister in the faith, with my own life so full and busting at the seams, and my own heart so wounded and damaged in different ways that just thinking about the healing journey that lay ahead for David tired me out.

I was proud of him for how far he had come. I trusted our Maker to complete this obviously good work which he had started. I was happy to hear his progress during our annual three-hour catch-up conversation. But that was really it.

The gut response in my heart and mind was “I’m SO glad I’m not the one for you!!!” I may have even breathed a sigh of relief.

Little did I know.

photo by fraumrau

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