The written word was just enough
To keep us going when the world would get a little tough.
And I held you up when winter came,
And no one said a thing when everything became so very complicated.
-Carrie Hope Fletcher; The Way We Were
After getting home from the Illinois gathering, life was complicated. And I was frustrated because I was the one making it complicated. Things were so much simpler when I viewed Austin as just a friend. Now that the little seed of hoping for something more had started to grow it was harder to stay focused. It didn’t help matters that after that week in October, Austin and I started texting a lot. Way more than we ever had before. It was all in my head, I tried to convince myself. He saw me as a friend, a sister, and that’s how it would always be. Time to move on. After all, it had been a year and a half since we first started talking. If Austin had had intentions other than friendship, he would have said something a long time ago. Right?
Well, those were the thoughts rambling through my head anyway.
My parents were amazing throughout all of this. Countless evenings were spent sitting on the couch with them, telling them both about what I was feeling and thinking. About what I was hoping. About what my fears were. They lovingly and patiently counseled me and guided me and helped me to consider everything objectively and maturely. I’m so thankful that, over the years, our relationship had cultivated such trust and openness and I will always be thankful for their willingness to listen and be there for me and for the wisdom both of my parents shared with me throughout that season.
Moderating came to a close as Austin and I both had less time to spend at our computers since our college studying days were behind us. As our Farewell to the Forums, we hosted a Hunger-Games-Parody-Type-Thing which was, in essence, just a game that allowed us to ban whichever participants we pleased. It turned out to be tremendous fun and it seemed like the people who decided to play along with us enjoyed it too. Well, at least that’s what our optimistic hope is regarding the situation.
Anyway, after that week of talking to Austin intensely every day in order to plan and execute the game, the rest of November and December both returned me to my state of confusing complications. In November, I had my college graduation ceremony. In December, I turned nineteen. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went and, by the time 2013 was drawing to a close, my prayers had been answered. All of those nights I had spent in prayer asking God just to take my desires and conform them to His will, praying that He would give me the strength and trust to hold my friendship with Austin with open hands. After months of this, the beginning of 2014 brought fresh perspectives as I was finally able to fully surrender my will to my Lord’s.
I was no longer interested in anything other than just a simple and wonderful uncomplicated friendship with Austin. In the NutRoom, we were all still making plans to see each other in March (this time they were all making the trek to California to visit me.) Even with that visit drawing ever-nearer, I let so many little things pull me away. I had gotten caught up in the festivities of the winter holidays and then working hard on the last semester of my biblical counseling course. Then January brought with it a brand new job at a yarn shop. My evenings began to be filled with knitting instead of talking on skype.
It was with the new year that I decided that I wanted to be “single and free”… at least until I was 25. I transferred my affections to fan-girling about Sherlock and Loki and constantly reading and memorizing Shakespeare. My friends and I had just started a Bible study together and we were enjoying our new-found-freedoms. Happily, I embraced the fact that I wasn’t in a relationship unlike so many of my friends. It seemed like everyone was getting engaged and married and I most certainly did not want to be counted among them. Marriage was for sometime later in the future. Not now; I was too busy. Work was good. Life was good. Perfect. Beautiful. Uncomplicated. I didn’t want anything to change.
I was so content and was so excited by the possibilities and the freedom I had. My wonderful mother can vouch for the fact that, one day in January, I literally danced around the house singing, “I’m so glad I’m single, I’m so glad I’m single!” I told her, “I’m so glad that I’m not in a relationship! Goodness, I hope that no guy comes into my life for a long time.” I was so happy just re-watching my favorite episodes of Sherlock and knitting to my heart’s content.
Little did I know then that, right at the exact same time when God finally answered my prayer and took away any hint of a yearning for something more, He was starting to work on Austin’s heart too, doing the exact opposite.by