Pick a side. This is a necessity of growing up, you have to start saying you are a “fill-in-the-blank”. Choose a football team, choose a political candidate, choose to eat gluten or not, choose to buy a car or go on a trip. Choose to be an atheist or a Christian, but whatever you do don’t sit in the middle and say all sides are good sides, Because if you do it might get a bit lonely.

I went on a walk with a stranger to a dog park. Fifteen years ago this would have been unheard of, but these days it seems to be quite normal, meeting strangers for drinks and walks and a few hours of good and sensible small talk.

We talked about our Apple watches, respective jobs, mushroom hunting season, family trees and the types of movies we prefer. It was pleasant and calm, not much passion or intrigue but simple, something I really enjoyed. About halfway through the morning we realized it was Easter, and I launched into the part of me which is more complex than your average twenty-something.

The deep and angsty me who doesn’t know what she wants or who she is supposed to be.

She is a retired Christian who cannot call herself an atheist even though she doesn’t currently believe in God, she also cannot release herself from the idea of God or the custom of belief, which has brought comfort and identity to her life for so long.

She is — I am, full of contradicting complexities. This is what I portrayed as I blabbered on about my past and current uncertainties.

As soon as I finished my Easter speech Mr. Must Love Dogs got quiet and I could hear his inner dialogue of “this was not in her profile…”  The thing is, it’s quite possible he was content with my ramblings about God and more affronted by my comments slamming the American dream or my lack or a fancy car, or perhaps he found me as boring as I found the last guy with whom I went on a walk.

Whatever the reason, he decided to pass on a second date. And no matter the reason, this always leaves the rejected other feeling as though they are broken or something is wrong with them, in this case — me.

I want adventure, but I don’t want it alone,

I love the idea of having a partner to cycle with me cross country or with whom I can hike the Appalachian trail. But it seems as though I have to choose a side if I want to find a partner willing to walk life out with me.

There will be other men, there are plenty in fact who are more than willing to meet for coffee and join me in half a week of flirty texts before meeting nervously outside of some coffee shop or bar. All these dates seem to end the same way, one of us say’s “I think i’ll pass” leaving the other disappointed and needing to eat their feelings by spending $100 dollars on duck breast, ginger cake and a glass or Merlot.

Is it worth my time? All these dates which lead nowhere and take time and energy? I want to think so, but then I am rejected a little bit and am reminded of my quality of complexity. I wish I could just choose to be a Christian or an atheist, choose to like a sports team or at least be a difinitive fill-in-the-blank, maybe then others would know where I stand and know how to approach me.

But I am not simple, and I somehow doubt any of us are, perhaps others are better at hiding the doubts that eat at me. Perhaps.



2 comments on “Pick A Side.

  1. Krisi, don’t worry. You don’t always have to have the answer. Part of life is just asking the questions and learning along the way. There’s times in my life where I feel like things don’t really add up and I don’t have a “side”, but then, when I least expect it to something changes. I feel complex too, but if those feelings make me who I am and I’m able to share my complexities with someone else that seems to be feeling the same way that I do…it helps me realize that I’m never really alone. Sometimes I think who I used to be was weaker or less mature, maybe some parts of me were. But maybe there were some things I had right and I lost that sense of alignment somewhere due to hurt or rejection, not saying that’s you…maybe its something else. I like to read a lot of what shaped me over the years and looking back it’s interesting how the pieces have influenced my “side”. For a long time I never felt heard and I would pray and pray for a sign or direction until it physically hurt, and no one knew the complexities as I went through it all. I’m not sure if anyone ever will completely, but I can certainly relate to how you feel. And most would be shocked to realize even I struggle with the things you listed. Faith can be fragile for a complex person, but there’s a weird pull that I never could figure out. I think there’s a reason why you can’t choose a side and it’s the same reason why I never could either. Of course last weekend stirs my thoughts with Easter and the same old stories, but John 20:29 caught my attention in a way it hadn’t before and was different. I don’t read often at all, I’m not sure if you do anymore, but I remember sometimes reading the same things at different times changed my perspective. Take it for what it’s worth. You’re a strong person and independent. You’ve impacted a lot of people. You have a talent for expressing the complexities of life that many of us feel, but don’t talk about. Thanks for sharing.

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