I, Wisdom

Tree-lined street

Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people. You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding. Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise.” –Proverbs 8

After the funeral last week, my 30-year-old cousin JJ wanted to grab coffee with me. It was my birthday and I had plans with Ashley, but JJ seemed like he needed someone to talk to, so off we went.

We’re not close, JJ and I – at least, not in my mind. We have nearly 30 cousins on that side of the family, and I only see most of them twice a year at family gatherings. I didn’t know much about JJ’s recent past other than he went through a divorce two years ago, got out of the military, and had a live-in girlfriend for much of the past year. But JJ told me he’s always felt closer to me than anyone else in our extended family. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m glad for it.

JJ and I got a couple of lattes and walked up and down the historic, tree-lined street of my favorite coffee shop in town. It was a perfect day for both my grandfather’s funeral and my birthday. The morning started out cloudy and overcast; chilly and solemn at the grave site. But after lunch, as we all celebrated at the reception – and later, as I celebrated my birthday – the temperatures warmed and the sun came out, making for a beautiful day.

JJ is a good-looking man. I had a crush on him when I was a small child, in the days before children learn that marrying within the family is generally discouraged. Now a ruggedly handsome firefighter in a small town, he has a way with the ladies, and from what he told me last week, he makes the most of it and then laments that he can’t seem to find a lasting, meaningful relationship. “I end up with women who gorgeous but not very smart. Or women who are just plain crazy.”

When JJ admitted that he tends to get pretty physical on the first date, I suggested that it may be helpful to get to know a girl’s personality, character, thoughts and opinions – to gauge more than just her bust size – before taking her home. I watched the light bulb go off in his eyes. “Huh,” he mused out loud. “I’m thirty years old and have never considered that before.”

I was shocked that he sincerely meant it. I had trouble fathoming that he could go thirty years without ever considering if there was another way to navigate dating. But I was also grateful for the time together, that we could talk through some practical steps of how to put external boundaries in place and prevent the physical chemistry from clouding his judgment when he decides who to pursue a relationship with in the future. 

He was receptive. Teachable. Genuinely curious and interested in learning how to date differently. And I appreciated that. But I chuckled to myself later in the day, wondering if it’s true what they say: That those who can, do…!

Authentically Aurora

P.S. Best talk on dating I’ve ever heard: Dating Part 2: HOW

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Silver Lining of Seasonal Sickness

Four SeasonsI get sick every year at the season change.

When the blazing heat of summer fades to the coolness of fall, and again when the freezing winter temperatures warm to the sunny sixties of spring, I can count on getting a head cold.

What others tout as the best weeks of the year, I consistently dread as two of the bitterest weeks in the world of weather, mostly because they are two of the bitterest weeks in the world of Aurora’s immune system.

Sure enough, we had a shockingly beautiful weekend here where I live – sunny and sixty-five with a light breeze. So, naturally, I woke up on Sunday morning with a sore throat and a headache. I can just feel the head cold coming on, despite the gallons of water and green tea I’ve drunk all day, the 800 mg of vitamin C I’ve pushed and the steroid nasal spray I’ve snorted.

I’ve become an all-out druggie in the hopes of kicking this virus before it takes hold, but today at the office, I discovered that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to stay sick for a few days after all.

I get rebuked all the time for not spending more time at the water cooler socializing with my coworkers. In my end-of-year reviews, I am always told that I need to actually care what Sharon planted in her garden this weekend or how Donald’s football team did in their playoff game.

Even if listening to Gertrude’s twenty-minute dissertation on quilting techniques makes me want to claw my eyes out, I have been coached to at least pretend to take interest in my colleagues’ lives outside of work. Apparently productivity and efficiency mean nothing in the face of warm fuzzies and verbal petting.

Anyway, today when good ol’ Hank asked me about my weekend and I mentioned off hand that I spent all day Sunday feeling like I was coming down with a cold, he suddenly had to run off to a meeting. Surprised, I shrugged to myself, only to find (groan!) the ever-chatty Kathleen walking into the coffee area. She went on and on about her daughter’s work in Japan until I coughed and then suddenly *poof!* she was gone, too.

So I have discovered the silver lining to my seasonal sickness: I can play nicely with the other children, listening attentively to all of their adventurous tales of mediocrity for a full five seconds before coughing abruptly and watching them scurry away from me, fearful for their lives (or perhaps just their health).

It’s a win-win situation: They stay healthy, and I get to wander the hallways of the office in peace. Victory is mine.

Authentically Aurora