Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Houses and Dating
So, I've finally done it.
I've resisted and stayed the lone wolf long enough.
But with threat of being stranded all alone during the "blizzard" that was supposed to hit tonight (the jury is still out on whether or not it has/will) I gave in.
I've moved into the new house with everyone else.
The last few days at the old house have felt strange. Ever since we took the big round table out of the kitchen, home has felt somewhat less than home. Without pictures on the walls or people in the rooms it feels like just another building. A building where memories, good and bad, exist only to flit briefly across my vision but lack the substance that make a house a home. It is empty and I cannot stay there any more.
It is strange how familiar the new house feels already. I've watched as the walls have gone up around me and become a functional work of art. I poured over plans that have become reality. I faintly see my fingerprint in design choices made in conjunction with my mom. This is our house. This is our home. This is where my family resides. This is where I belong.
For the time being.
Like most things in life, this house is a product of patience and process. There is a set order in which everything must happen before the final result may be realized. Shortcuts can be dangerous. Quality ought not to be sacrificed in the name of instant gratification.
At church on Sunday both of my parents were all too eager to share my poor dating history with anyone who would listen for five seconds. They pointed out my status as an old maid and wondered, loudly, why I am not dating and getting on with my life and out of their house.
It's not that I don't want to date, I do. But, there isn't exactly a large dating pool to choose from in Tooele valley. Not only that, but I have it on good authority that YSA in Tooele don't date. They hang out and resist dating based on the idea that dating is synonymous to steady dating or courting.
While I like to chill with friends and have a great time, that's not always the most ideal way to get to know another person.
Dating is a process. It teaches two people whether or not they can be friends. There is very little commitment and one person can easily date multiple people at once to expand their friend base. A date is not a promise to consider marriage. A date, or a few dates, simply outlines the blue print for what a relationship could become. That relationship can be revised and changed based on new knowledge of the dating partner or scraped all together before anymore hours are dedicated to a plan that cannot be managed.
Steady dating puts the loose plans into action. It builds a friendship base rooted in shared thoughts and experiences analogous to the strong foundation on which a house is built. Similar to building a house, there are times while dating when the nature of a person must be dug into a little to build a sure foundation. Sometimes this goes well and the earth is ready to be moved for concrete to be poured or boulders lain on which the rest of the building will stand and rely. These sorts of people are ready to be in a relationship and are willing to submit to one another and work together in order to build one another up.
But sometimes the earth is rocky or the soil loose; a hole dug for the foundation collapses on itself and nothing will sit evenly on the disrupted ground. It think this is where I fall into traps in relationships. It's like a part of me comes along at night and kicks the sides of the retaining walls over to make more work in the morning or discourage continuation all together.
Once the foundation has had time to set in place, the real building can begin -- just as courtship builds on the friendship base steady dating brings to a relationship. Shared experience and work put up walls that can withstand the hot wind that is blown in by nay-sayers. Understanding, respect, and genuine caring put a roof overhead to block out the elements of doubt. Continued interest and support of one another put up walls.
Engagement is like planning out what each room will become and how each space will be finished to best serve the overall purpose. This is when fresh paint and final touches are added. It is very exciting to look back and see how much hard work it took two bring the building to this point and know how each decision was made and each mistake was changed or patched up.
Marriage is for couples who choose to turn the building into a home. They acquire memories to fill each wall with photos. They stash laughter, and sometimes tears, in each drawer. They put the purpose into each room and then rearrange a little if things get monotonous. Marriage is like moving in and finally living in the grand creation the relationship has become.
Shortcuts can be dangerous. Sometimes building supplies are scarce. Sometimes compromises must be struck based on time, budget, and willingness to put in the hours of hard work required to make something good or amazing. Quality ought not to be sacrificed in the name of instant gratification.
I'm going to keep working on my blue prints. If anyone wants to suggest a few ideas with me, I'd be happy to discuss matters over supper...or ice skating...or a trip to IKEA to pretend like the show houses are real.