We don’t know the whole story…

Every Thanksgiving, I make the two hour trek from suburban Baltimore to the West Virginia home of my aunt to spend the holiday with my dad’s family.  It’s always loud and funny, and no one escapes the day without at some point being the punch-line of a bad joke.   I know this before I go, so I usually walk away totally unaffected, having spent the day with my family, who is as sarcastic as I am.

Usually.

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Aunt: So, we all need to keep our eyes open to find you someone. What are you looking for?

Me: [Eyebrow lift and silence]

Dad: Gainfully employed.

Me: With health insurance.  It’s funny how important that becomes as you get older.

Grandma: There’s a really nice girl at our church….

Me: Yeah, that’s not so much on my list of criteria.  Being a man is also important.

Uncle: Well played.

Grandma: Let me finish! There’s a nice girl in our church who met someone on Christian Mingle, and they’re getting married.  Maybe you should think about that. 

From scambook.com

Me: Those sites run $35 to $60 a month. No thank you.

Grandma: I’ll pay for it. You don’t really want to let $35 dollars a month stand between you and the guy you could marry, do you?

Me: So, we’re really talking about this, huh?

Grandma: I’m just mad so mad at him! Where is he already?

Uncle: Wow. Hasn’t even shown his face and already in the dog house. You’ve got to feel bad for the guy.

Grandma: Well! Nevermind.  He’s a slacker. You don’t want him anyway.

Me: [Eyebrow lift and silence]

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I’ll admit to contributing the conversation, albeit sarcastically. The reality is that I hate talking about my dating life (and I really hate other people talking about my dating life), and I especially hate talking about my dating life as of late.  Because I don’t like to talk about how I dated a really nice boy this summer and now we’re not dating for all sorts of complicated reasons that boil down to the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t know how throw his energy into getting well and a new relationship at the same time.  And I definitely don’t like to admit that I still think about him every day and pray for him constantly and hope (perhaps a little pathetically) for a someday reconciliation.  But, here I go admitting it.

Why am I sharing this?  Because the conversation with my family got me thinking that we don’t always know the whole story.

My family assumes that I’m not dating, that I haven’t met anyone, that there’s no one I’d like to bring to our holiday table.  And it’s just not true.

I am dating. I actually met someone that I thought about bringing to family holidays, but he got sick before that could happen and he’s pouring his energy into other things right now – like staying alive.  And because I was invested in that relationship with him and still care about his welfare, I’m not over that nice boy I dated this summer.

So, I’m DEFINITELY not getting on Christian Mingle.

And I’m committed to working harder to not make assumptions about the people in my life, because I don’t know their whole story.   And I want to give them space to tell their stories in their own time to whoever they want to tell.

Maybe by next Thanksgiving I’ll be ready to talk about who I am or am not dating.  But then again, maybe I won’t.

Either way, the space to NOT talk is definitely something I would be thankful for.

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