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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Morning After

So I ran across an article on New West this morning talking about what it's like to wake up on the other side of a one night stand:

Now, I know this isn’t an event one usually shares with a widespread and anonymous readership, but stick with me. Though the one-night stand is a fairly common occurrence, and I’ve been on the other side of the Morning After table listening to friends recount their own foggy exploits, this was my first go-around, as it were.

During a day built around eating a lot of toast and watching Law and Order reruns, I didn’t feel the somewhat sullied freedom most people I’d talked to about one-night stands express. I had a much different reaction, and when I figured out what it was, I kind of freaked out. I wanted to see Pajaro again. I, on some weird gut level, expected more out of it than just the one night.

This was not good. What I’d gleaned through vicarious experience was that this is how these things go; it happens, end of story. I knew I was supposed to be grateful for the lack of expectation. Except I wasn’t. I harbored a sense of connection, the implicit sense we’d shared something “special” and that it could manifest as something more. Not only did I feel it, I sort of wanted it. And so I became slightly, um, concerned with how things were being perceived on the other end of this thing. Maybe I wasn’t alone in this.

Go ahead, read the whole thing. Its funny. And sad. And it's the story of everyman.

What I like most about it is not that the guy is feeling this deep sense of guilt ("boy I shouldn't have done that") - on the contrary, he's gripped by a deep sense of wanting something more ("boy I wish it would have lasted").

At the end of the day, both of those emotions are relevant. Yet while we can learn to suppress our sense of guilt (after all, we're Americans - why can't I just do whatever I darn well please!?!?), we can never fulfill that sense of longing that tantalizes us in the first place.

Christ doesn't just say "Don't do that!" - instead, he adds, "You were destined for much better things." And then he goes on to say, "And you're only going to find what you're looking for in relationship with me."

That might sound a little 'out there' (spiritual?), but it's really quite down to earth. We ultimately want a relationship that lasts. We want someone else to want us. And to keep wanting us even when the see the 'real us' (most relationship consists of hiding that for as long as possible, at least until marriage or some kind of 'commitment').

Christ says, "You want someone who will love you as you are and not reject you no matter what you reveal? I'm the only one. And I will never leave you nor forsake you."

It's that last part of the promise that is really scary, because it means that Christ will not leave us where we are - a relationship with him is inevitably a transforming relationship. It changes us, and it also changes the nature of our relationship with others. Which brings us back to the subject at hand.

There was still a part of me that felt bruised by the fact that it was just “one of those things.” I didn’t really want to accept that Pajaro and I weren’t nothin’ but mammals, doin’ it like they do on the Discovery Channel. After six months alone I had latched pretty tightly onto this human connection, sexual and otherwise, and was having a hard time giving it up.

“Does that make me a sucker?” I asked my friend Don Julio over beers this week. “You know, that I was hoping for some kind of relationship?”

“Nah, it just makes you naïve,” Don Julio said. “And maybe a little bit femme.”
“But that’s cool,” he added, draining his glass. “Chicks dig that.”

Funny. But sad. What would it look like for a couple to really commit to one another?

Christ, however, says there's another way - that he can actually make a difference in people's lives, so much so that they can actually love one another the way he loves us. It's worth noting that he doesn't offer us a new technique or method or ethic - instead he offers us himself. And a real relationship with him somehow impacts our relationship with others.

We can't really love until we've really been loved. And that kind of love makes all the difference on the morning after...

[Note: there's a followup article to this on here]


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