Awesome! I think it surprised many people when they found out that I even knew how to shoot a 38 special – much less have one at my house. Many people had only seen me as church staff or a prayer counselor at church functions, lol, so it shocked them when I completed the Sheriff’s Department women’s self defense class and shooting range lesson a few years ago and I was one of the ladies interviewed by KPLC for the nightly news. It was great! As far as my shooting score, I had 5 shots…almost all in the same hole. I loved it! The class was held on a Saturday so the news ran that night. At church the next morning, I had a lot of surprised church family!
Most of the congregation in general didn’t really know the country girl side of me. I grew up with family that hunted and fished and I was certainly taught how to clean fish and shoot. My parents used to take us camping and on adventures. So while I do love to dress up, I just as much love to roam around barefoot with no makeup, exploring nature or chillin. But now, let’s get back to my timeframe…
I turned 50 in 2008 and began to feel it. I was slimmer then because over the next couple of years I not only worked long hours for ministry, I tended to my new home, and all my own yard work – which WAS substantial! I wasn’t really concerned about dating anyone. I was still putting the recent “online long distance” dating relationship behind me. It had been way too much work making something out of nothing just because I was lonely.
Financially, I was pretty strapped once I stepped into life as a new homeowner. I made a great income, but it was my first time to buy a house on my own…and a 3 bedroom 86 years old cottage home was a lot of work and expense. Utilities were high and I sweated a lot working in my yard. And that’s NO lie. Thank you, Jesus that I did a good job of remodeling, maintaining the house and ALL the yard work. I wanted it to look good and stay in shape. I faithfully believed in His Word, “…be faithful over a few things and He will make you ruler over much.”
In fact, that very thing came into play much sooner than I imagined. In November 2009, my work load at church maxed out and I began to see the pressure would never get any better in my position. So, 4 months later, thank you, Jesus, I sold my home so that I was free financially to make new decisions for my future. It was God-favor that I was able to sell it with a profit after less than 3 years of owning it. Amen to that! After I sold it I moved to an apartment in my old home town to be closer to my son and his family…as they had a new baby girl that would be born in June 2010. Needless to say, June 11, is a day in all our hearts and there is no need to PROMISE you that I was and still am proud to call myself “Maw Maw”!
So just last year my granddaughter was born and I turned 52 years old. I was aggressively pursuing new life – and was ready for even more changes in my life. I now had less work to tend to at home since I was happily no longer a homeowner. That meant everything! I was able to relax more at home, and enjoy time with family and friends and had more flexibility in my finances. Then I began delegating more work at the church to others and started looking for another career. At the same time I was also interested in opening myself up to some male friend companionship and conversation.
Again, I knew of nowhere to meet Christian singles outside of church. And yet I didn’t know of any single guys in church in the personal relationship category. My focus at church had to be work. I didn’t have time for fellowship when I was working. There was no longer a singles ministry at church since I stepped down from leading and really, I had no idea where to go as a single Christian interested in socializing, fellowship and/or dating.
Even when I was a singles leader, I contemplated why the majority of Christian singles weren’t interested in connecting at church with singles age 35 and up. I know that churches are FILLED perhaps with even as much as 50% of singles.
Finally, I began to believe that in a decade of technology, perhaps personal face-to-face connections and socializing have been usurped by online dating sights, email, texting, social networks like FaceBook or even web in general – UNLESS some Christians in loneliness, sadly, try the bar scene as I did years ago.
I am not saying technology as a connection avenue is a sin for Christians – truly I am not. Technology is certainly a blessing for Christians as well as for the secular world – if used with integrity and character. I am just saying that I think that maybe more mature singles are now able to meet their socializing and connection needs in this superficial and perhaps temporary manner. If so, then they may feel there may be less and less need to step out in the traditional manner of congregating in a group of singles; if you can shop online so-to-speak, why go to the store? Honestly, I think that may be the case. It is scary what the long range result of that will be if it is true.
Maybe I will address that question another time. But tonight, well, I guess I will share that again I turned to the Christian online dating site for Christian male conversation and connection. My boundary and intent was firmly acknowledged to myself and with God. My focus was as Friends ONLY for an extended time…communication with only local Christian men that I talk to via phone and emails for 2 weeks FIRST…then meeting them….then possibly companionship after that. I limited my evenings of online connection to an hour. No more would it take over my life. I had no intention of repeating my past disaster.
Within a short time I was connecting with two local Christian men. Their communication and profiles seemed sincere. After a couple of weeks we met in public places and visited. One guy was a nice Christian man and we went out a few times. I was not interested in romance anytime soon and he was. I realized that the “Friendship” plan…wasn’t a good one. It was stressful for me and I felt like I was taking advantage of a nice guy. I didn’t believe that friendships were supposed to be stressful…so this WASN’T working with the friendship strategy. I know if I would have really been drawn to learn more about him…I would have continued the relationship. I just didn’t feel led to do so. As for the other guy, nope, absolutely no connection there. After that, it just took more energy than I wanted to give it and I deleted and closed out my online dating account. However, I was happy to learn that through the years of continual growth that I was much wiser and stronger. Go God! Nothing was wrong, I just didn’t want to be on a merry-go-round of repetitive processes.
But y’all…for real….I had more fun with the online exploring and connecting part! Which lol, leads me to share a brief “Ad” I wrote as a class assignment at McNeese just a couple of months ago. I hope you will get a kick out of it…
Love…going once, going twice, sold for the budget rate of $19.95 per month, or for the special rate of $49.95 for 3 months, or even at the bargain rate of $89.95 for the whole year. Love, available at the price I can afford! So…I clicked YES on the amazingly tempting love offer. Yes, I did. Me, an intelligent, mature, single, Christian adult said yes to the gimmick. I of course knew that it wasn’t real and the percentage of real relationships that survive the budget time period is probably .0005 percent. But like Cinderella, I might be that percent! Prince Charming could be smiling sweetly at my picture and clicking yes on his Dell laptop in an airport in a city 3,000 miles away. So, I eagerly filled out all my personal preferences…got my personal catalog ad so-to-speak ready to go, wasted hours on creating my “image”. I downloaded pictures that hid every non perfect aspect of my person and if none could be found, I took an eyeball level shot of my face on my phone and froze it into an eternal pose…a pose that I would never have posed in real life! Did I say that I was intelligent? Then I spent the next month or so wasting valuable real relationship and personal time on repeating the same personal introduction over and over to each different connection request. I even went so far as to go on several dates – public, perfectly respectful ones – or should I say, “Perfectly respectful empty ones.” Friendship and Romance were no where to be found. I even preferred the online imagined guys to the actual date guys when I actually met them. What’s up with that??? So, as my budget Love relationship time period came to a close, I cheerfully erased all my profile, pictures and communications and ceased the real relationship I had spent so much time with….my laptop.
This was just to poke a little fun at me with my experience on online dating.
See you tomorrow night!
Patti Corbello Archer
Life After Divorce – single struggles