Our culture has gone through a gigantic shift when it comes to openness about sex. My grandparents’ generation could hardly whisper about it, but today, unless you’re Amish, you can’t go any significant amount of time without being boldly confronted by it via billboards, commercials, movies, music, magazines, social media, etc., etc., etc. I think pretty much the only exception is the pulpit. For whatever reason, believers in general still find bedroom activities fairly taboo.
Apparently God missed the memo that sex is inappropriate to discuss openly, honestly, and without shame. Poor God. He keeps breaking religious rules. It’s like He can’t help it. I’m being cheeky here, but if we are going to develop a deeply biblical worldview, we have to be willing to experience our own gigantic shift when it comes to talking about sex. If the wise, loving, and good Creator of sex wants to shed some light on it, why would we feel too pure and precious to have the sex talk?
Since moving to New England, two months have been competing for my absolute favorite time of year, one of which is May. (If you’re curious, the other is October.) And since it’s a tropical 63 degrees right now smack-dab in the middle of February, it’s easy to daydream that spring is really here. I’m a fan of pretending; my home is already decked out in florals and pastels. Let’s look forward together, shall we?
After months and months—and months—of bleak grey skies and naked trees shivering, the world fairly literally springs to life. Lawn mowers tackle the grass again, birds are going crazy, the same trees that were so pitiful weeks ago burst into a haze of pinks and purples and greens and whites. The oversized sweaters get tucked away, and out come the breezy fabrics in a cotton candy color palette. Hands covered in soft dirt plant new life. The spicy chai and hot cocoa are exchanged for iced tea (at least a Southern girl can dream), and the windows fly open so fast it could make your head spin.
I had three best friends when I was a preschooler: Jim, Angela, and Mossip Eyelash. Who cares if nobody else could see them? We had the best adventures ever. And then they moved away. But you know, whatever.
You could probably point to a different kind of friend for every major season of your life so far (and maybe even a few who have ridden it out with you over the very long haul). There are the fun friends, the sensitive friends, the common interest friends, the wise friends. Like it or not, God intended us for one another. No man is an island (but even a man on an island can create an imaginary friend. See Castaway for reference.)
The pastor proclaimed triumphantly, “You may kiss the bride;” just as the new couple commenced their long-anticipated Hollywood movie moment with the swelling music and admiring onlookers, the three-year-old ring bearer with a buzz cut—my brother—cried out in a painfully clear voice, “EWWWWW!!!”
Duck poop. That was my first date with Riley. Two wide-eyed college kids went out for dinner and then put down a blanket to watch an Oklahoma sunset at the lake . . . surrounded by duck poop. Romantic, no?
In honor of the month of love, I’ll be spending a little time working through different stages of romance. Let’s start off with dating, shall we?
Can you smell it? Love is in the air. (Maybe the scent is of roses from your boyfriend or soft baby skin after bath time or the well-worn pages of your Bible. Let’s not box ourselves in here. There’s too much love for that.) Regardless of your relationship status, this month is where admiration and affection come into their own. I’d love to wrap up the prettiest package you’ve ever seen stuffed with good things just for you and leave it on your porch with a happy note. But I can’t. So you’ll have to settle for this.
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
There’s nothing quite like loneliness to break a heart. Isolation pushes in, and the air is too thin to breathe. You wildly look around for someone to help, to see, but there’s no one there. Or at least that’s how it seems.