I do. I find myself looking at people who have the kind of success I want and thinking “they don’t deserve it,” “they aren’t even that good,” or even “think of everything I could do if I had what they had.”
“We need to talk.” When you’re in a relationship, there are few four-word sentences you dread more. Yet, this was the sentence I heard coming through my phone one evening while I was talking to my girlfriend.
Dating as a young adult can feel like walking a tight-rope. In the modern culture of ‘Netflix and Chill’, you want to be intentional about actually getting to know the person you’re dating. But in a church culture where people start freaking out about finding their soulmate from age 22 onwards, you also want to keep things low pressure.
How do you greet someone on a first date? Do you keep things polite with a handshake? Presume a certain level of affection and go for a hug? Add a kiss on the cheek? Maybe avoid the issue altogether and just stick with an awkward smile?
When I was in high school, I had an incredible history teacher. She would begin every lesson with a short story; a story intended to make us think, to challenge our assumptions and to inspire us. My favourite was always the Starfish Story.
“What’s the point?” That was the question I found myself asking during Mass one Sunday. I doubt it was the first time I had asked this question. I’m sure I challenged my parents with it most Sundays when they would drag me to church as a kid. But this time was different.
I always thought I would be an absolute pro at dating. I had read all the books on the subject. Everything by Jason Evert, everything by Joshua Harris, and everything by Dawn Eden. I felt totally prepared. That feeling lasted until exactly five and a half months ago – the moment I actually started dating someone.
“None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands.” With these words, Pope St. John Paul II began his Letter to Artists in 1999.
If you had to pick one defining feature of Christian dating, what would it be? Coffee-dates after the Sunday service? Leaving room for the Holy Spirit? Pondering how great you’d both be at married ministry? If I was going to pick just one, it would have to be “The List.”