The Aviary

Sleeping Beauty Aurora with Birds

Hurt people hurt people. Those with damaged hearts end up wounding others, sometimes intentionally; sometimes unintentionally. I am trying to remember there is a difference.

My mom has always told me that I am drawn to “the bird with the broken wing.” As I age, I would argue that birds with broken wings are actually drawn to me, hopping over to me in the forest where I dance happily alone, singing softly to myself like a scene from my namesake, Sleeping Beauty. These broken-winged birds are drawn to my voice; a voice calling out in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord – the one true Healer of hearts.

Grant is one of the birds I’ve seen around my proverbial aviary for a while now. We met at church when we both moved to town after college, and I’ve known Grant for nearly seven years. He’s a 31-year-old, six foot tall banker with a quick wit and penchant for playfulness. We share an alma mater and a love of country music, so about once a year, we end up going to a country concert together in the stadium downtown.

Grant is my go-to “plus one” for weddings and such events. And I am his. We unknowingly grew up down the street from one another, went to sister high schools, and he frequently teases me about being on the math club in junior high. We have seen each other through all manner of seasons – better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health; job layoffs, broken relationships, flat tires and the flu. He can be a jerk sometimes (evidencing his XY chromosome set), but I trust him, and I know that, deep down, he’s a good man who has just been wounded. His girl friend – who at the time he’d just looked at rings for – dumped him for his lifelong best friend. It happened three years ago, but he still bears the scars.

This year, Grant and I went to see Chris Young, and the concert was amazing. We went to dinner together beforehand, laughed a lot, got dessert; then walked and talked before entering the concert venue, where we danced and sang along to every song we knew. When Chris Young started singing his platinum “I’m Comin’ Over“, I leaned over to Grant and yelled into his ear over the noise, “This is our song!”

He looked surprised; then embarrassed, and yelled back into my ear, “I don’t know whether to laugh or feel convicted!” It was a fair response. Grant and I have kissed a few times and kind of gone on pseudo-dates over the years, but he has never intentionally pursued a serious relationship with me. We get along well, and there is mutual physical attraction as well as a shared faith, but – although he is turning 32 this month – Grant still lacks the maturity and commitment to lead a meaningful relationship.

I tend to assume that Grant and I are just going to events as friends, but occasionally he surprises me and wants a kiss at the end of the night. This time when tickled my sides and leaned in, I put my hand on his chest and reminded him, “I’m not dating this year, remember?”

“I know,” he said glumly, giving me a hug instead. But as he pulled away, he allowed his hands to linger and wander.

“Grant…” I warned. “We’re not doing this.”

“I have a roommate now,” he told me in a playful tone. “But you don’t. I won’t even kiss you. But if I were to choose between sleeping alone in my bed or just getting to hold you all night, there’s no contest.” He winked at me.

He was inviting himself over. To hold me all night. Just as friends, of course. Because it wasn’t enough for Cory to make me feel like a piece of meat. My friend, companion and brother in Christ had to do it, too. I am not valued for anything other than my body.

“Grant, you are not coming over. We are not going to be friends with benefits.” I paused. “Do you even want to date me? I mean, I know that I’m not dating right now, but if I were, would you be interested? Would tonight have been a date?”

Grant looked uncomfortable with the turn of conversation. He enjoyed flirting with me and getting the occasional kiss, but he didn’t want to talk about his feelings or intentions. “You’re a beautiful girl, Aurora. You’re smart and godly… You’re the kind of girl I should want to date.”

Wow. And with that line, he told me all I needed to know. “So you wouldn’t ever actually date me? You’d rather have all your busty girls in low-cut shirts who are willing to do things I’m not?”

“That’s not it at all. It’s…” he hesitated. “It’s your engineer personality. Sometimes you make math jokes that just aren’t funny.” This from the man who, earlier in the evening, asked me why cows don’t have feet (because they “lactose”).

“Wow, Grant. Wow. You make sports references all the time that I don’t get, and you make lame groaners of jokes that I don’t think are funny, but that’s a part of your charm. I care about you, and man, you’ve got to learn to accept people’s quirks as a part of what makes them who they are.”

“You don’t like my jokes?” he asked. He completely missed the fact that I was trying to point out to him that, to be in relationship with someone, you have to learn to cherish their “faults” as well as their strengths. Or that if he didn’t think he could ever live with my “engineer personality”, he needed to stop flirting with the line between friends and more-than-friends.

I got out of his truck without another word. I had nothing more to say, and I didn’t want him to see me cry. The ones closest to you are the ones with the most power to wound you. If I hadn’t gotten out of his truck as fast as I had, with him calling “Aurora” behind me, this is what I would have said:

Someday there will be a man who will love me just the way that God made me, engineer personality and all. You are not that man, so please never again call me to be your plus one play date. You have repeatedly demonstrated to me that you love my body but not my brain, and if you respected me, you would want better than that for me. As of now, you are too broken and selfish to be bothered by how much you damage those who you falsely convince yourself you care for. So I’m opening the aviary gate and setting you free. Your wing is still broken, but I am not your keeper. I am not your Healer. You are no longer my concern. There are other birds in the sky – ones without broken wings.

Authentically Aurora

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That Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady

Girl in a Country SongAs a woman who loves old school country music and clever lyrics (especially if they involve stirring the pot), I absolutely adore Maddie & Tae’s hit single “Girl in a Country Song”.

The new “Bro Country” sub-genre of country music has been gaining popularity for years, arguably at the expense of any semblance of moral fiber in today’s society. These days, rampant sexuality is touted in country just as much as in rap or pop music. And in Bro Country, it’s always the woman who gets objectified in the celebration of moonshine-saturated tailgate parties and sleepless nights in the back of pickup trucks.

Maddie & TaeBut 18-year-olds Maddie & Tae have offered the world of country music a different perspective. These two girls, fresh out of high school, have burst onto the country music scene with their first hit, which expresses the perspective of some of the women sung about in country songs these days. Some of their playful lyrical jabs may be lost on those who don’t normally listen to the country genre, but more seasoned listeners will pick up on the fact that these brave young girls didn’t shy away from poking fun at big names in country like Blake Shelton and Chris Young.

Have a listen, and see if you can pick up on their references to these song lyrics:

Chris Young Aw Naw“Aw Naw” by Chris Young

Aw Naw, do you hear that song, the one that just came on… It would be so wrong if we didn’t dance once, show off those jeans you painted on, aw naw.”

David Nail Whatever She's Got“Whatever She’s Got” by David Nail

“She’s got the blue jeans painted on tight, that everybody wants on a Saturday night… And when she moves every jaw’s gonna drop, and I do but I don’t want her to stop… I want whatever she’s got.”

Cruise Florida Georgia Line“Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line

“When I first saw that bikini top on her, she’s poppin’ right out of the South Georgia water, thought ‘Oh, good lord’, she had them long tanned legs!”

Luke Bryan Drunk On You“Drunk on You” by Luke Bryan

“Girl, you make my speakers go boom boom, dancin’ on the tailgate in a full moon. That kinda thing make a man go mmm hmmm. You’re lookin’ so good in what’s left of those blue jeans.”

Billy Currington Hey Girl“Hey Girl” by Billy Currington

Hey girl, what’s your name girl, I’ve been lookin’ at you and every guy here’s doin’ the same girl…So hot, gotta give it a shot, gotta get a little bit of what you got.”

Jason Aldean Take a Little Ride“Take a Little Ride” by Jason Aldean

“I’m just ready to ride this Chevy down a little backroad. Slide your pretty little self on over. Get a little closer…put your pretty pink toes on the dash, lean your seat back, Man I swear there ain’t nothing looks better than that. Sweet tan little thing with nothing to do. I want to take a little ride with you.”

Randy Houser“Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” by Randy Houser

Come on baby, don’t you keep me waitin’, I gotta go, I’ve got a reservation… Come on baby let me take you on a night ride, windows down, sittin’ on my side.”

Boys Round Here Blake Shelton“Boys Round Here” by Blake Shelton

Red red red red red red redneck. Yeah, the girls round here, they all deserve a whistle. Shakin that sugar, sweet as Dixie crystal.”

Get Me Some of That“Get Me Some of That” by Thomas Rhett

You’re shakin’ that money maker, like a heart breaker… Love the way you’re wearin’ those jeans so tight… I never seen nothin’ that I wanted so bad. Girl I gotta get me some of that.

Luke Bryan That's My Kind of Night“That’s My Kind of Night” by Luke Bryan

“You got that sun tan skirt and boots. Waiting on you to look my way and scoot your little hot self over here. Girl hand me another beer, yeah.”

Jon Pardi Up All Night“Up All Night” by Jon Pardi

“I’ve been a thinkin’ about breakin’ in the weekend and not doin’ any sleepin’ So get in. Let’s take a ride. Baby, let’s go take a dirt road.”

Jason Aldean My Kinda Party“My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean

“Baby if you’re in the mood and you can settle for a one night rodeo, You can be my tan-legged Juliet, I’ll be your Redneck Romeo.”

Authentically Aurora