Friday, April 27, 2007

Say what!?

As I was starting to pack everything I own up for yet another move, I found a couple old journals I had kept in high school. I flipped through and read one of them a little bit, and it was pretty funny to read the dumb things I thought when I was 15. A lot of it was about some boy, or not getting along with Emily, or some boy, or random band events, or some boy... Anyway, there's a little bit in it at the very end about Jack (including a delightful little rant about the rules). This was what I wrote in that journal the other night after I read through it.

It's hard to believe that I wrote all those things, and that the last thing I wrote was 4 years ago. As diaries usually do, I imagine, this one elicited many feelings of "Ha! I remember that!" "I learned something from that," or, most often, "What was I thinking!?"

It's funny to read my view on relationships at 16. Wasn't I just the all-knowing queen? Even funnier are the commentaries on my "terrible, frustrating" parents. I never thought of myself as a terribly difficult teenager - my parents and I got along for the most part, but reading these accounts remind me that, like any teenager, I had my difficult moments as well (more than I documented here, I'm sure).

One such profound oment of difficulty came at the end of my teenage years - yes, this is the entry just before this one written almost exactly 4 years ago, when Jack and I had noticed each other and my parences noticed that we had noticed each other. It's funny to read my speculation of their reasoning behind the rules: "to exert their power over us," "to keep me from running off and marrying him" (I sure showed them, didn't I?), "being unreasonable."

Like any kid, I'm not going to do everything my parents did raising me. But as I get older, the list of things I'll "never do to my kid like they did" gets shorter. Looking back, I can see the reasoning behind some of the Jack-and-Mandy rules more clearly; even the one that angered me most - "We trust the two of you, but you still can't be alone together because it looks bad to others."

What a cop out, I would think. If you trust us, give us the freedom we deserve. But as I witness shady situations (unlike ours but perhaps having the same shady apperance as ours once did), I understand more and more why it says in Romans 14 that:

"20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning."

I guess my parents weren't quite as dumb as I thought they were.

As for the personal relationship with Jack, it went from wanting to hold hands and watch a movie, to, well, holding hands and watching movies. I look at the ring on my finger without any doubts that God placed this man in my life to be my husband - a husband I know will provide for me, love me with all the strength he can muster, take care of me, and nurture a family with me all the days of his life. We are a perfect match (no, not the same "perfect" that I called Antonio years ago in this very book - sorry Antonio) - the kind of match that works despite the jagged pieces. We always find a way to fit together.

Finally as I look at my clock, which says 3:15 a.m. and think about everything I need to do at work in 6 hours, I reflect on some of the things that stayed the same since I started this book. A recurring theme (good attitude toward her day-to-day or not) is Emily - my friend, my maid of honor. Despite all the ways we're different she's still the first person I call when I'm frustrated with Jack, which, as strange as it may sound, is a pretty good measure of friendship. Trust me - anyone who always picks up the phone and agrees with me has a special place in my heart.

As for when i'm not frustrated with him, well, she's a close second, because, as God planned it, Jack has become my best friend these days. What a 4 years it has been.