Now, there’s a heavy subject.
We all have them, ladies. They can be simple: A purse. A new outfit. That pair of designer shoes. A dozen canning jars. (Don’t roll your eyes at me over the canning jars, and I won’t roll my eyes at you over the purse!)
Or they can be bigger: An end to college. A better job. A vacation.
As age and wisdom wrap around our memories, our longings move toward that which can’t be bought, planned or easily obtained.
More time with someone we loved.
And often the big one – someone who really “gets” us. A companion who grows with us, even as we grow old together.
So….we marry. Build a life. Pursue careers. Have kids. Tell ourselves we’re happy.
But in spite of all that we do to shut down any dissenting voices, we realize we still…long.
We think, “There has to be more.” More than talking about work. Paying bills. Planning the occasional vacation. Discussing the kids. Sharing an hour of TV at the end of the day.
We turn to friends and pursue interests. We keep busy with the kids’ activities. We immerse ourselves in the daily requirements of our chosen life.
But we continue to eyeball this person sharing our life, and in spite of everything that looks right….we long.
“You will long for your husband, but….”
This verse in Genesis 3:16 has different translations (some say “and” instead of “but”), and different interpretations (such as Eve wanting to control her husband – good grief, who has time for that?!). I’m not here to debate Scripture. That “but” in this verse? It speaks volumes. At least to me.
God is talking to Eve after the big debacle over that piece of fruit. She’s blown it, big time. Her perfect, simplistic life has just ended. And now, on top of all of the other losses – the Garden, no responsibility, her innocence – she’s losing her husband.
Oh, he’ll be there. She’ll see him every day. They’ll build a home, start a family, make a life outside of Eden together.
He will be there – but not present.
And she will long for more than what they now have.
And just like her, we will have longings, but…
You will long to have a partner who is not a workaholic, but….
You will long for your husband to be more involved with the kids, but….
You will long to be seen and loved for who you are, and not what you do, but….
You will long to have someone interested in the fascinating creature you are becoming, but…
You will long to have a deep and meaningful relationship with your husband, but….
That “but”. And all it implies.
Now, Adam had none of our modern distractions – and there are so many a man can choose from. There were no video, computer or phone games. No sports or fantasy teams keeping him glued to the couch all weekend. No comic books, sports cards or golf. No gyms, beater cars to fix up in the garage, or co-workers asking him to get an after-hours drink. No women at the office showing unhealthy attention while Eve was losing her mind at home caring for the house and kids.
And what about the bigger distractions? Porn. Alcoholism. Gambling.
But he must have found something. Long walks…alone. Hunting….alone. Taking off for days….alone. Letting her care for the kids….alone.
A myriad of distractions that kept him from connecting with Eve as they had. And the more she voiced her longings, the more he probably pulled away. Because isn’t that what still happens?
Gone were the long walks and long talks – together. The sweet conversations and delighted plans – made together – in a future that seemed endlessly bright and, well…endless.
Eve is probably the only woman in history to have enjoyed a perfect marriage. To have her man’s full attention. Not out of a desire to control or manipulate him (I repeat, who has time for that?!), but to have him more interested in her than an electronic screen. To share her thoughts with someone who showed her she was appealing – and not just when he wanted intimacy.
How she must have longed for that when it disappeared. And how bitter her loss.
I’m sure she knew Adam. She was probably able to recite every single thing that kept him from her side after life changed so drastically. Just as we can – because we watch it all happening, wondering what is so much more interesting than a deeper connection with us?
We learn to hide our longings. If we express them, they may be met with anger. Accusations of neediness. Silence. Even more withdrawal into distractions. Or worse, promises of change that never comes.
So many men miss out on the compelling people we have become.
I can say with absolute assurance that I am far more interesting than the insecure, 20-something that wanted to please everyone. At 47, I am more confident. If you don’t like me, that’s fine – it doesn’t define me. We can disagree and the world doesn’t end. I will take a few close friends to many acquaintances, small gatherings to large parties. I am excited by discussions of books, current events and people being real with me.
I live for the outdoors now. Hiking, camping, the ocean. I love to travel and desperately need to connect with nature on a regular basis. The trips are vital to my sense of me – whether impulsive or planned. I no longer want or need fancy – I would rather explore new places by sleeping in a tent 20 different times throughout the year than have one stay in an overpriced hotel. Give me a million memories of my children’s delight at the seashore than one retirement trip that won’t happen if health or the economy fails.
I love animals. It makes me happy to love them. I didn’t get an education to keep the house perfectly clean to show off to people that do not know or care about the real me (because if they did, they wouldn’t care about my lack of clutter or the pet hair). Enjoying life is messy. It’s short – I really want to enjoy it. Pet hair and all.
I’m territorial about how my coffee is prepared, and no one should buy me clothing because my sense of style has nothing to do with whatever someone else is wearing. I repeat – no one should buy me clothing.
I will continue learning until the day I die. I read voraciously and teach myself new skills. I am raising two amazing girls to be strong and encouraging leaders. I am extremely well-researched and self-educated on special needs – sometimes more than the professionals I meet. I am motivated by a burning desire to have my kids reach their full potential. I am with my children 24/7 and know them, their interests, their strengths and weaknesses and what makes them tick. And should be listened to when I share that information.
I love to write, but agonize over putting my feelings down on paper. I don’t understand the unkindness so many feel comfortable spouting towards others, but am glad that I can’t. Common sense is more important than popularity. I enjoy social media and TV but can live without them. Especially if I am camping at the ocean! If it comes down to watching life slip by while I stare at a TV or phone screen, I’m going to read with my kids, work in the garden or pack up the camping equipment and hit the road for a week to enjoy the sand and surf with my children. As we did just recently.
Many women — this woman — long to be “got”. Not to have our minds read (no one wants in there!). Not to be showered with material things. Not to be told what will pacify us at the moment. But to be longed after just as much – and for the same reasons – as we find ourselves pining for the men who share our lives.
Surely a chance at Eden is far more interesting than whatever’s on that screen….and is worth working for. Worth longing for.