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Sleeping to One Side

Empty BedsI sleep alone in my queen-size bed and I’ve slept alone in this bed for almost two years. You’d think that after two years, I’d sleep sprawled in the middle of this mattress, limbs stretching as far as they could reach. But two years after I last had company on this mattress, I still sleep on one side of it. I can put my iPad and iPhone, four pillows and even a tower of books on the other side of the bed and when I wake up they will all be there, unmoved. It is hard to break the habits you learn when you share a bed night after night.

I sleep alone in my queen-size bed and you’d think that would mean I’ve been single for two years. But I haven’t…or I have. It’s complicated. Everything is complicated when you’re married to a man who is in jail. I’ve been raising a son alone despite the fact that he has a living father. I’ve been filing my taxes as “married” despite the fact that I’m the sole bread winner and only adult in the house. I’ve been going to bed alone despite the fact that I have a husband. Complicated. Read more

Counseling and the Single Girl

Mr. Handsome Goes to Church

In seminary, my professors taught me many things. I learned to exegete, to lead a meeting, to sing hymns on pitch, and to recite significant dates in the history of the church. Unfortunately, I did not learn what to do when a blindingly handsome stranger with straw gold hair and dazzling white teeth began attending the church where I am pastor.

I consider myself a reasonably mature person. I always scoffed at stories of ministers getting embroiled in sexual indiscretions. I believed the phenomenon of male pastors running off with their secretaries was an embarrassing mid-life-crisis cliché. Certainly I would never get so overwrought with passion that I would cross a boundary of appropriate behavior.

Sigh.

In reality, I am just as subject to the humiliating lack of rational thought that comes with romance as any middle-aged man.

So, when the handsome blonde man came to church, my rational thought flew out the window and my inner 15-year-old came out with a vengeance.

He tended to come to church early, and when I saw him, my heart started fluttering, just like it would in high school. I found excuses to go near his pew—rearranging the flag, making sure the matches were stocked, stacking the bulletins more neatly. I would “casually” strike up conversation, learning about his work, his interests. He never mentioned a wife or girlfriend, which I thought was a good sign, but whenever I invited him out with the other young adults, he did not seem interested at all.

Even my boss got into the act. If my boss noticed that Mr. Handsome was in church, he’d shove me into the sanctuary and say, “Go talk to him!” Read more