Part 2: Walking Good Miles in Your Shoes

You have been through a lot.  So much that you can hardly recall.  Much is stored up in memory boxes of the heart.  You have childhood memories.  Holding your dad’s hand as you walk across the street.  Toy boxes.  Your little brother’s squishy hands and toes.  Your mom’s annual April Fool’s jokes.  Being queen for a day at grandmas.  You might remember road trips, camping trips or trips to time out.  For the most part, this memory box feels like warm sun on your face; it feels like licking an ice cream cone or sucking on a lollipop.  Whether sweet fantasy or true bliss, the good stuff drips down your chin, and since this is your childhood, you don’t mind at all.

The happenings of childhood are marked by innocence, naivety and blind love.  Children don’t pick birth places, living spaces or whether they get a silver spoon.  Children arrive into the environment prepared for them by imperfect human beings.  Your birthday suit probably did not include a tag stamped with equality, justice or life without bumps.  You got a partial clean slate, promises for good and a large serving of hope for who you just might be.

As time ticks forward, childhood innocence, naivety and blind love metamorphose.   As time ticks forward, who you are fills the space between your growing bones.  Independence and personal choice roll in.  As you discover the facts of your life, you can choose what may have been or you can choose to be who you were made to be.  In other words, you can choose to bloom or stay a sprout.

As you realize personal choice, you both stumble and discover over time spent becoming who you are.  If you check your memory boxes, there are whole periods of your life marked by an initial decision.   Whole periods of your life marked by an initial decision.  It is hard to imagine that there was an initial decision that defined a period of your life.  But that is how it happens.

Even if in the most subtle way, decisions are hued in darkness or light.  If you couldn’t see it then, you can see it now.  Looking behind you.  You may have thought there was one door of choice, but there was not.  There were at least two.  Perhaps the door you opened looked like the only one.  Perhaps that door was not wholly inviting, but it did appear to be the sole knob.  Looking back with later-found wisdom and clarity, you now see that it was not.

We all have our was nots.  Sometimes personal choice causes you horrible pain in remembrance.  Sometimes was nots make you feel quite stupid.  Sometimes it is unintentional mistakes that stab us in the chest for years to come.  Sometimes, should have, was not and wish for different compete to define whole periods of your life.  But no, that is not who you are.

You can walk good miles in shoes worn down by a few was nots.  In fact, you have walked many good miles in your shoes.  Perhaps some miles were not initially tagged as good, but eventually . . . your discoveries along life’s time line have healed you.  The memory box that used to haunt you is now covered by wisdom and truth.  It may be that it takes some time to get to these memory boxes; they are farther down your life’s time line.  But these boxes better represent the substance of you.  You chose to be who you are and the beauty of the box is remarkable.

Gotta Love Those Pesky Boundaries…

By JMathis

It is the initial, small decisions that lead to eventual, large moral blunders,” says AbbyA.

Yeah, how about that rather minor decision to not get involved with the opposite sex, in the first place?

Honestly, sometimes I feel as if the world would be better off without the complicated morass of feelings and emotions between men and women.

Men enjoy the presence of other men. Women enjoy the presence of other women.

So, why do we screw it all up? Didn’t we all have a better understanding of the world in first grade when boys were just gross and girls all had cooties?

Ahhh, it must be that whole sex thing.

I think When Harry Met Sally captured it best:

Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.

Sally: Why not?

Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sally: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all want to have sex with you.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: How do you know?

Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.

Sally: So you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?

Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail ’em too.

Sally: What if they don’t want to have sex with you?

Harry: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sally: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry: Guess not.

Sally: That’s too bad. You were the only person that I knew in New York.

Speaking from personal experience, I think there’s a lot of truth in this famous scene.

In college, I had a ton of close guy friends in my circle—kind of like a flirty set of brothers who always had my back 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, these friendships just could not hold when each of us eventually broke away from our core group of friends to start dating someone from outside of this circle.

The girls outside of the circle were always jealous of the girls inside of the circle—that somehow we knew their boyfriends better than they ever would.

The girls on the inside of the circle felt perpetually threatened by the newness, freshness and hotness of the girls outside of the circle.

The boys on the inside of the circle felt less manly than boys chosen from outside of the circle, and the boys outside of the circle were always worried about getting sloppy seconds from the boys inside of the circle.

Then to top it all off and make matters worse, once new people from the outside were introduced into our circle, the boys and the girls on the inside suddenly started seeing each other in a different light–no longer as friends–and then started swapping partners and exes as quickly as they did on Beverly Hills 90210.

It was an incestuous train wreck of high drama that eventually collapsed like a deck of cards.

To this day, there is “weirdness” in all of my old friendships because sex, feelings and emotions got in the way of what initially started off as pure and innocent friendships.

This weirdness exists even today—a whole lifetime after my college years—because there was no respect of boundaries at that time. Flirty “brothers” became flirty lovers who turned into fighting exes who started dating your flirty “sisters”, leaving you with an underwear drawer full of ex-boyfriends and ex-best friends.

It is the initial, small decisions that lead to eventual, large moral blunders,” says AbbyA.

Perhaps the best initial, small decision you can ever make is to respect boundaries.

1) Getting too emotionally involved with a work colleague: messing with boundaries.

2) Engaging in Facebook chats with someone you had a crush on in high school: messing with boundaries.

3) Sending a suggestive TwitPic of yourself to someone who is not your spouse: messing with boundaries (ahem…and this includes sending a pic to someone who you are in a serious relationship with, but not married to…you never know when that one’s going to bite you in the…)

4) Falling in love with someone who is not a Christian: messing with boundaries.

Sticking to your God-given boundaries helps you to avoid large, moral blunders.

Respect those boundaries. They’re there for a reason.