There are many times in life when I should stick with my initial gut instinct.
Like when it comes to avoiding dating apps.
Even though many people have often encouraged me to do so, I’ve never wanted to join online dating sites or apps. I realize it works for some people and has even resulted in long-term relationships and marriages, but I just don’t have a desire to do it.
Which explains zilch about my actions last Wednesday.
I was standing with my friend Amanda, waiting for a work meeting to begin, and for some reason I don’t know, I turned to her and said I was thinking about downloading a dating app. She said I should and then help me set it up and showed me how to use it.
Before the day ended, I deleted it.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not really even seeking anyone. Do I eventually want to find the person I love who loves me back and forgets everyone else when I walk into a room? Sure. But I don’t want to force it. Maybe I was just feeling emotional or frustrated that day—I’m not exactly sure what made me make that temporary rash decision, because I knew as I was downloading it that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do.
It could be that I was looking for something to help me get over the heartache I’ve been going through, because absolutely nothing seems to be working. I don’t like this type of pain—it’s so much more difficult to ignore than physical pain is. It hurts a lot when someone plays with your heart and emotions for months and then decides to show you that he doesn’t actually care about you at all and really doesn’t even care about the friendship you had, either. So maybe I downloaded the app to try to forget about that.
Shocker: It didn’t work.
I’d rather meet someone by getting hit with a frisbee at a park or by making some comment that he finds endearing on a random encounter (yes, I know I watch too many romantic comedies). I usually don’t like surprises, but in this case, I want it to be something that takes me by surprise. And I want it to be something that makes me forget about the past broken hearts—not because I tried but because that’s simply how naturally powerful it is.
When I was a freshman in high school, I went to the local YMCA with my sister, and I told her to lie about her age (she was one year too young) so we could get in and go play basketball without our parents there. She got yelled at by a lady who worked there, and we had to leave. She cried the whole walk home and wouldn’t talk to me. Our mom saw us as she was driving home and picked us up, and then my sister wouldn’t talk to me in the car, either. She went straight into her room, shut the door and continued not to talk to me. I’m well aware that I had been a horrible older sister that day and deserved it. But this was my baby sister, and I needed to make her feel better.
Cue LeAnn Rimes.
I took our family boombox (ah, the glory days) into her bed room and sang “The Light in Your Eyes” to her. I apologized, she forgave me, and that song has held a special place in our hearts ever since.
So I wasn’t surprised when she called me on Sunday morning when I was very upset, and she busted out some of the lyrics. I had been training for months for a half marathon I was supposed to race that day, but recent kidney issues and some new back pain prevented me from being able to run without pain for the past few days. I woke up Sunday in enough pain to know that 13.1 miles would only make things a lot worse. I texted my sister later that morning to see if she was awake, and she immediately called me. I told her that I felt like the rain just wasn’t stopping, and she told me that there was only one thing she needed to remind me of in that moment.
Life can take your dreams and turn them upside down
Friends will talk about you when you’re not around
Reality can really cut you down to size
But don’t ever lose that light in your eyes
Keep on shining
Keep on smiling
Don’t lose faith, and don’t lose heart
When you’re crying
Just keep trying to remind yourself
You’re a shining star
Yes, you are
It was exactly what I needed to hear.
I know that broken hearts don’t last forever. They might last longer than we want them to, but the wounds will heal. It’s often difficult to remember that during the tough times, but it’s good to have people like my sister around to sing to you to remind you.
Things won’t always go the way we want them to, but it’s OK to hope that they will. That’s why I’m going to continue to avoid the online stuff and dating apps—because I want to believe that maybe one day I really will be taken by surprise when I least expect it.
But even if I do stay single forever, I’ll still let the song remind me: Don’t ever lose that light in your eyes.