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Awkward and Elusive

Posted on April 20th, 2006

I should probably be trying to sleep right now, but I really wanted to make a post before I went to bed. Well, technically speaking, I am in bed but not actively trying to sleep.

I was thinking about this past weekend, when I was at home celebrating Easter. In a recent entry, I commented about whether it was too late to start becoming closer with my family. What I neglected to say, though, is that things are better than they have been for many, many years.

For one, I am on good terms with both of my parents. I don’t think that there are any hostilities or tensions between us, as there were a few short years ago. I’m sure that part of it has to do with my growing up.

Relations with my brother, though infrequent, have been good. I’m getting along with him despite seeing him maybe 5 times a year. We still end up talking about the same sorta things (computers, work, cars), but at least there are no words laced with poison.

A somewhat recent complication in all of this is that my dad is dating someone. It has never been described as such by him, but it’s completely obvious that this is true. I barely know this woman, and yet she keeps on appearing at family events (like Christmas and Easter dinners). Not like there’s anything wrong with that, but it is a little weird. There’s an awkward silence and nervous tension surrounding the entire evening.

I’m not sure what to do with this. Perhaps this is an opportunity for me to get closer to my dad. Maybe I should make an effort to get to know this person. But then I think about why I should do it… why is the onus on me to initiate conversation? She’s the newcomer, so she should be introducing herself. It’s not like she’s family.

Yet. And that’s a very big “yet.” It would not surprise me at all to find out that a wedding is planned. I’ve known about her for a few years now, so I’m somewhat surprised that it hasn’t already happened. And if/when it does, I might have to voice my concerns (about how I don’t know her at all) to my dad. I guess that depends on the progress made on that front.

All of this has got me thinking about the certainty of love. It’s no doubt that, at one point, my parents were in love. Then, for one reason or another, that withered away until they went their separate ways for good. Did they rush into it? Did they try hard enough? Did they have the right motivation? Did they really have that degree of incompatibility?

Love is often so transient and fleeting. And because of its elusive nature, I think that we are attracted to it. If it were easy, would it be worthwhile to have found it? I hazard a “no” on this.

When I think of myself, I know that I’m hoping to find it. Soon, if possible. There’s even someone on my radar. But how do I know if it’s for real? Having experienced a breakdown of very serious proportions in my own family, I can’t help but be skeptical.

I suppose that there isn’t any real answer to this. Sure there’s all of the pat answers of trusting in God or of just knowing, but that doesn’t really cut it. It’s all fluff to me right now. I suppose that I’ll just have to risk it one day. The problem is that I hate taking risks. Especially big ones.

3 Responses to “Awkward and Elusive”

  1. Sarah Kivell Says:


    Often times its difficult for me to have conversations with my parents because I don’t know where to start.

    This is why it’s so great that actions speak louder than words. Becasue actions can be subtle, words aren’t (usually). Actions allow us to express our feelings and commitment to one another.

    However, there is something powerful about words. Sometimes actions fail because we misinterpret them, due to our own insecurities, hurt or biases (our own “lenses” so to speak).

    I remember one night a few years ago I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about my dad and just how great he was. I had never really told him just thow much I appreciated him, except for the random birthday or father’s day card, (and even then it’s usually rushed).

    I got out of bed and typed him a three page letter. I wrote about things I was sorry for, things I was curious about, things I loved about him, things I wished I knew more about. It was something that I could never just “bring up” in a conversation, or say to his face. But I printed the letter and gave it to him.

    He didn’t say anything about it until about a week later. All he said was “thanks for your letter, it made me cry.” That was it. And the thing is, he didn’t have to say anything else. He knew how I felt and that was enough.

    I was talking about “parents” with a friend of mine actually a week ago. We were discussing the moment when we realized our parents were actual people, not just parents (hopefully you know what I mean by this).

    For me, it was when I found out that my mom had been married before she met my dad. For my friend, it was when he parents split up.

    Our parents are real people with fears and insecurities, hopes and dreams, ignorances and biases, gifts and talents. I think realizing this has helped me have a closer relationship with both my parents.


    Hmmm…well, I’ve been married for 6 1/2 years now and I guess I probably have something to say about love.

    Ben and I dated for six weeks before we got engaged. Yes, we were taking a risk. I’d say! And I think no matter how long two people have been together they are taking a risk.

    Justin, you said, “All of this has got me thinking about the certainty of love…[It] is often so transient and fleeting.”

    I think, love is always certain, it’s our uncertainty in love that messes it up. Perhaps it isn’t love that is transient or fleeting, it is us who are.

    It’s weird. I can recall specific moments in time when I know that I had the choice to choose either love or self. I’ve often used the terms “compliment” or “compete”…we always have the choice. One requires sacrifice, honesty, creativity, humility, and the other involves selfishness and pride.

    So, how do you know when it’s real?

    I think we can know when it’s real. However, I don’t think we can know it like we think we will know it. It’s not like “I found the person with which I experience real love with”. It’s almost like “real love” exists somewhere out there in the universe and “this is the person I’ve chosen to live it out with.” That’s why, I think, God plays such an important role in marriage because marriage is a reflection of our union with Him. Do we live life with Him or without Him? I think it’s pretty similar.

    What do you think?

  2. Curtis Says:

    Hey Justin, I read Sarah’s blog and saw what she wrote. Interesting enough, I wrote about this a couple of days ago. Let me know what you think.

  3. Justin Says:

    Sarah: I certainly agree that actions can speak louder than words. Given the current reality with my own parents (in that I rarely speak with them), it’s the things that they do when I do see them that really affirms the fact that they do indeed love me very much.

    With regard to the letter, I am very fascinated by what you did. I’m not sure if I would have the courage and/or the nerve to do that myself, but it is a very intriguing idea. I’ll have to put that one on reserve ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I think it’s my seeing my parents as people that I have become more understanding with them. I used to place some grossly unrealistic expectations on them and it really hurt everyone involved. I guess this sort of realization comes with growing up and maturing.

    As for what you wrote about love (and its (un)certainty), I’m not sure if I can agree entirely with you. For example, is the love real and true if it is only going one way? And is love not, in its own little way, selfish?

    Curtis: I am sorta wondering the same thing… is it love when it’s a one-way thing? Or do the people have to be mutually infatuated? ๐Ÿ˜›

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