Politics and Dating

March 4, 2016 in Karen's Soapbox

I struggle with politics.  What I mean is that I believe in the whole idea of free speech, and I appreciate the gift of living in a country that allows us to each vote and speak our minds.  I love that about the life we have here in America.  We appreciate our freedom of speech, don’t we?  Most recently, when I read that Max Lucado had spoken out for decency and faith, I saw that many sent him horrible messages. They were angry and acted like Lucado didn’t have a right to share his thoughts.  Why?  Because he’s a pastor!  Does my line of work determine whether I have the right to speak up?  If I share what comes from my own heart, isn’t that the right we protect in our constitution?   The way I understand it, we all have the right to speak, at least that’s the way I read that freedom of speech thing.

Political campaigns remind me of the old show on TV called The Dating Game.  The way the show was set up, one person, let’s say a female, was to choose a date from three males that she could not see behind a screen. She would ask pertinent questions to each contender.  After rounds  of questions, she would choose the one guy she wanted for a date. When the guy finally came around the screen and she saw him face to face, you could tell sometimes that he was nothing like she expected.  It feels to me like that’s what happens in politics.  We  have a scorecard, listen to lots of opinions, and try to choose who to date for the next four years.  The problem is that we can be fooled because we listen for what we want to hear, rather than listening to what is being said.  We let our emotions and our imaginations have more sway with our choice, than truth or reality can put together.  The Dating Game and any other show, like those we call “Reality” TV, don’t give us truth.  They simply give us entertainment.

I have to side with Dave Ramsey a bit today and suggest that no one person can fix what is going on in America or the world.  We each are part of the fixing.  If we take responsibility for our choices, we can make a difference.  I’m saying this more about personal choice than political choice.  We have to choose to be advocates for the greater good.  We choose because we have a real sense of what it means to live in God’s grace and mercy and love.  We choose because we are willing and able to become part of the solution.  A great politician can make you believe nearly anything.  A great businessman can cause you to think the world revolves on a dime.  But the only great person in the mix of your choices is YOU.  You have to rise to greatness.  You have to stand for what you believe.  I applaud Max Lucado and Dave Ramsey and others who speak from their own hearts as voices of reason and wisdom.  I applaud each one who makes it a goal to listen with a heart for wisdom and truth.  Whatever we do, we have to have faith in our choices, a sense of knowing that comes to us in prayer.  As the old saying goes, we have to stand for something or we’ll fall for anything.  Let’s be wise in our choices or we may be in for a long, unhappy date.


The Odyssey of Match.Com

January 26, 2010 in Karen's Soapbox

Some of you, perhaps the lucky ones, have been married a long time and have never had to take on the challenge of managing life by yourself.  For you, there are unique moments of craziness, other forms of relationship lessons you face, but for those of us who are single, the strange odyssey persists in trying to find love, or companionship, or even a good date.   We’re trying to figure out what it takes to have the partnership others already take for granted.  If you’ve never had to consider the workings of Match.com or any other online dating services, I suggest you say your prayers and thank God for His grace and mercy.

Just for fun, I thought I’d give you a peek into that world.  Of course I can only address this from my perspective.  But let me say, the whole process takes a kind of patience and discernment you may never have considered before.  You have to learn to discover the disconnects in the profiles.  This one doesn’t post a picture…why?  Maybe because he’s married or maybe because he’s overweight, or maybe because he’s just fishing and doesn’t want his girlfriend to know.  Maybe he simply doesn’t have a picture to share.  As you read the profile, you quickly weed out the ones who can’t write one good sentence to save them, or who talk about their love for PDA, you know public displays of affection.  Some are even willing to share what great lovers they are and how good you could be feeling right now.  Some are creative story tellers, but once you exchange a couple emails, you discover they’ve forgotten some of the details of their own story…and it goes on.  It becomes sadly fascinating to realize how many lonely people there are in the world. It becomes scary to realize you’re there too.

Yes, I have friends who have met life partners on Match and sites like Match, but it’s an endurance race,  a test.  Is it better than meeting someone at the local tavern or at church?  Who knows?  It provides an opportunity to ask more questions, sometimes those you probably wouldn’t ask for three months of regular dating.  Somehow being behind a computer screen makes it easier to ask.  Mind you, the person may or may not tell you the whole story.

That’s even more fascinating really.  Why would anyone fabricate their story?  Eventually you could meet and the truth will be discovered.  Nevertheless, they create a biography that is pure fiction; good fiction sometimes, but still not a word of truth in it.  Then there are those few who actually use the site as it was intended.  They post a profile that gives some idea about themselves, at least what they’re comfortable sharing in a public forum, and then they wait.  Sometimes they hope, a few even pray.

That would be where people like me come in.  We’re praying that a partner who really is honest and hopeful and loving and kind will post a bio and through the grace of God somehow connect.  We’re praying that he won’t be put off because we’re not a Barbie doll with plastic features and a foolish sense of spending.  We’re praying that he’ll see us even as we are, get past the number of birthday candles, the cellulite, the dipping bank account and actually care that we’re a real person in an awkward and crazy world, looking for a needle in a haystack.  That’s the hope…who knows the reality.

Sometimes  I imagine God hosting Match.com.  He has his giant book of potential life mates and page by page, He moves the players around until one day, they actually connect.  One day the miracle happens.  One day, they get to leave the world of the matchless and the lonely and live as He intended, two by two…in loving partnership.  That is the fantasy that gives me hope.  The Odyssey goes on, but the odds get better the longer you play.  Any day now, you could be turning a new page…the prayer could be answered.  Pray for me, will you?