Saturday, April 09, 2011

Nice Legs & Jesus

Miscommunication Heartbreak and the Holy Spirit

I missed the first couple weeks of class due to my trip to Europe with Mark the Photo Journalist, which wouldn’t have been a big deal save one very important piece of information. This media course required 10 one-page paper assignments to be turned in throughout the semester. That much was made clear. What wasn’t communicated was the academic value of these seemingly inconsequential tasks. So I missed a few here and there, shrugged a couple off, and at the end of the semester was met with a very surprising F. My assumption was that skipping a few simple assignments would be innocuous. I was wrong. Those suckers were worth 60% percent of the grade.

I did, however, meet Kelly the Communicator in that class. She sat two rows behind me. I looked over my shoulder a lot that first class. I liked her right away. She was attractive and she laughed at my jokes. She was the first girl I met who possessed a self-help, pop psychology, relationship book library as large as mine. I started walking Kelly back to her dorm after class; we would flirt and exchange stories. I remember being too scared to ask for her number so one day after class I said, “Hey call me later and let me know if you’re going to the basketball game” at which point, in a moment of successful manipulation, I got her to ask for MY number.

She quickly became a very close friend to both my sister and I; which was perfect at the time. Kelly is the kind of girl that makes a guy want to grow up and become better. She carries herself well, she’s articulate, and she is very loyal. When a couple guys from my floor decided to get a house off campus, Kelly and my sister decided it would be fun to rent out the house next door with a couple other girls. And so was the beginning of our little community. I finally asked Kelly the Communicator out at the end of the spring semester. She was the first girl I dated since high school. I was living the dream; dating the girl next door, playing music with my roommates and racking up heaps of student loan debt to do it.

Kelly was a great teammate, a trait I probably took advantage of too much. She was constantly helping me with class and even some of the work I was doing at the time. After my car was stolen she became my chauffeur. That poor girl did the best she could to put up with my worst. Looking back my truest failure was in my disillusion; I wanted to be a rock-star, plain and simple.

I think Kelly liked the idea of dating a musician until we started talking about the future. All of a sudden the uncertainty overshadowed the excitement and lent itself to worry. This was the beginning of the downward spiral. Little fights became big fights, feelings were hurt, and egos were bruised. My favorite argument was over a Jimi Hendrix poster in my music room. We duked it out over the phone for twenty minutes while I was wandering around a record store in the mall. Years later I realized her problem was not with the poster but with the ideology it represented.

We had many discussions that were tainted by miscommunication. What she would say and what I would hear would be different and vice versa. We did try to work through our differences. I would even wager to say we might have been too educated for our own good at that point. All those self-help relationship books shined in our ability to theorize on how to communicate with one another but proved destructive to the actual conversation. While she encouraged me to be the best possible version of myself academically and professionally I interpreted her loving encouragement as a threat and ploy to get me to give up on my dreams, quit music, and become a College Professor.

One night I asked Mark the Photo Journalist for some advice. He asked me two questions. 1. Does she love Jesus? and 2. Does she turn you on? The answer to both was yes. But I needed more than nice legs and Jesus to convince me that Kelly and I were meant for each other.

Sometimes relationships are like that media class I failed. You think you’re doing great and the mistakes you’re making are inconsequential. It feels familiar and easy but the next thing you know it’s over and your heart has a big F on it.

1 Cor 13 6-8
6 {love} rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails.

There’s no big red ribbon, no white-horse-happy-ending. Kelly and I broke up. It was ugly. I hurt her pretty deeply and we both made mistakes.

God is a God of restoration; this is one thing I know. Not only that, He’s also a God of relationship. I don’t know what eternity looks like; I’m not a scholar on the new heavens and the new earth. But I do wonder if those we tie our souls to in this life, the ones we let in, connect with on a deeper level, the people who are like family to us; I wonder if those are the people our spirits will rejoice with in eternity. If that’s true it makes me want to love well – here in this present life – so the next stage can be a little sweeter.

Years later Kelly and I reconnected and repaired our friendship. Clarity is a funny thing. It usually comes thirty seconds to late. Learning to listen, learning to communicate, learning to love isn’t something I’ve found in pop psychology books. It’s a painful beautiful process that I will walk through the rest of my life as I follow the spirit and commune with the Father.


Cristina said...

You are such a GREAT writer!

Davey Fox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Petrillo said...

Great read! Speaking of Nice legs and Jesus, I want a copy of that song! Or is it a beautiful breakdown? lol