On Friday, a friend sent me a text while she swiped left and right for awhile on Tinder. The app connects users to close-by potential dates, which is why what my friend found there that morning alarmed her.
She stopped swiping when she saw it: the familiar face of a man last active on the app a half hour earlier — a smiling male acquaintance.
A smiling male acquaintance who has a girlfriend.
Relationships are hard. This is not new information. But I propose that part of what makes them hard is not the adjustment and disclosure that authenticity demands of us. Instead, it’s our relentless resistance to adjusting and disclosing.
I bet Donald Miller would agree. Over the weekend, I finished reading his latest book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. In it, Miller discusses a painful disruption of his life (which started with the demise of an engagement), his later relationship with the woman he’d actually marry, and how his experiences resulted over time in an ability to pursue what he never had pursued before: true intimacy.
I am not good at patience. Neither is the elderly woman I met on the checkout line at Sears once. She stood behind me, clutching a pink nightgown wrapped in plastic, prepared to pay for it with debit or credit. I — though then in my early 20s — rifled through papers and pens in my purse until I finally found what I sought: my checkbook.
Responses to the person who writes a check at the checkout counter vary in intensity, and include but are not limited to stink-eye and mockery. The elderly woman settled for an audible sigh. But I ignored it, pen in hand and smile on face, prepared to exercise my right to write a check for whatever it is that I bought.
At the register, I recognized the cashier — a classmate from middle school. Conversation ensued. So did stink-eye, from behind me. But I pressed on, writing that check and talking while I wrote. Then I tore it out of the book and slid it across the counter. But the cashier handed it back. As the elderly woman rolled her eyes, the cashier pointed out my mistake.