Friday, July 10, 2009

The Abel Castillo & Tyler Grimshaw Blog

This is one of those rare blogs where I use lots of "you shoulds" and "we shoulds" and stuff. I usually hate these. But This is what's on my heart today.

ANYWAY, Abel Castillo is a fellow ACU Wildcat who will be majoring in Graphic Design in the fall. He is one of two people I know who still say rad, and I think he’s pretty nifty. Tonight, Abel and I were discussing how neither of us are really interested in the dating scene, and during our talk, I believe that God revealed some things in me and my attitude towards dating that I didn’t even know was going on: In the past, I looked at dating as a replacement of true, basic friendship because it was so lacking in my life. For the longest time I just wanted someone-anyone-to date, but really I just wanted a friend. Someone to be real with and chill with on a consistent basis. I’m thinking I’m not the only one. But now, I'm realizing that you can find that friendship outside of just takes a lot of work. Here’s how it all started:

Abel: Honestly, I would just really like a good friend that’s a girl that I can hang out with and just be happy chilling with. Someone who likes my kind of music and movies and neediness.*

Me: Sounds like what everyone needs, but is too afraid to ask for. People have gotten into a rhythm of being close to the opposite sex only when they’re dating, and that’s not how it should be.

I went on to tell him how my best friend, Tyler Grimshaw, is a guy, but it’s taken me years to be OK with that. I never got to tell him why, though, so in case you’re reading Abel, here’s why.

Tyler always tells me how awesome I am and how much he loves me. The only time people ever tell me things like that (other than Maggie, who says she loves me all the time because she’s precious like that), is if they’re my boyfriend and are thus somewhat obliged to say things like that, or if they are my parents. And even with my parents it’s extremely difficult for me to say “I love you, too, Mom.” And with Tyler it’s even harder. After 5 or 6 years of friendship I’m still barely squeaking out a “You too” after an “I love you Mary.” So gushiness coming from just a friend, who’s a guy that’s not dating me, was freaking weird for a long time.** Even though there are those rare times at church when people would pray over me and say nice things or what God has for me, hearing things like that outside of a dating relationship took some getting used to.

Tyler was never the weird one, though. He knows what true friendship is, and I think God really had to work with my heart in order for me to see that Tyler is a living example of what true friendship is. I can not tell you how sick and tired I am of those people who put me on the back burner and say “Another time,” after I drove to Abilene specifically so I could hang out with them. Or I stay up late to talk to them, and then they ditch. Tyler is sick of it, too, which is why we’re best friends. We make a sincere effort to put the other first. Sometimes, we even do it to our own expense. Tyler never, ever ditches me and will walk out of parties just to talk to me about my day. He’s like this with everyone he truly loves, though. Tyler once drove for hours to pick up a friend in Dallas who kept falling asleep at the wheel on the way back home. Honestly, he’s the only one I know that would do something like that or me without giving me crap about it. And as for me, I’ve stayed up for hours numerous times to talk to someone just so they wouldn’t be lonely, even when I had to go to school the next day. Think it’s weird?

Please don’t. If we weren’t all so concerned with being “weird” and so self-preserved, I think the world may be a lot different. Think about it: if you had three friends who would do those sorts of things for you relentlessly, (tell you you’re attractive, blessed, smart, and capable, and then willing to go to odds ends to take care of you) how lonely would you be? How concerned with your looks, your problems, and your imperfections would you be? How in need of a boyfriend or girlfriend would you be? You’re problems wouldn’t vanish, no, but you would have three amigos at your side ready to help you cope.

This kind of friendship is what Christians should ESPECIALLY exemplify and strive for. Caring for each other like Christ would. Christ wouldn’t ditch me or say, “Sorry, I’m hangin’ out with Moses from 2-4 p.m. Another time, girly!” He’d say, “Let me see if Moses would mind if you joined us. If not, I’ll have to bump our meeting up by thirty minutes or so so I can fit a little Mary-time in. Your presence makes me smile.”

Lindsey Merrit is a great example of what I aspire to be. One night I was in Abilene pretty late for ACU orientation when she saw me hanging out in the library. She asked me if I was staying in town, and I told her no, and that I was driving back to Albany that night. Her eyes got big and wide as she said, “Girl you should stay with me! I have to study hardcore tonight, but you can totally stay over and crash!”

Here’s why that’s significant: I can name five people off the top of my head who, if they were in Lindsey’s place, would say, “Oh, man. If I didn’t have to study tonight I would totally let you stay the night!! That sucks that you have to drive back so late!”

But Lindsey didn’t do that. Not only is she just not self-centered, but she’s also old enough to realize that just because someone is staying the night at your house doesn’t mean you have to whip out the movies and manicure sets and get ready to spill you deepest darkest secrets all night to each other. She knows that she could absolutely show me God’s glory by just giving me a bed or the night, because at that time it was all she could offer. But I don’t think those five people in my head would turn me down for the night out of self-centeredness. I think it’s because if they want to hang out with me, they want to give me their full attention, not just partial. But sometimes I don’t need the biggo slumber party, I just need a place to crash.

It’s not just emotional support we lack so desperately. It’s physical, too. My best example of this happened just a few weeks ago at Beltway. During youth group, we had all gathered around our youth minister who is soon to be leaving Beltway. We outstretched our hands to him, and prayed for him popcorn style for a long time. I was standing next to Thomas Wilson, and at one point I caught his eye and said with a half-smile, “I’m about to cry.” Thomas half-smiled back and put his arm around my shoulders and kept them there throughout the prayer. Totally non-sexual, totally brotherly, and totally what I needed. At that particular moment I remember thinking, “If I had a local*** friend like Thomas, I would probably never ever have thoughts of wanting a boyfriend.”

Now let me explain that, ‘cause I know it already sounds “weird.” I feel like the only times I miss having a boyfriend (just a boyfriend, not anyone in particular) is because I miss having someone constantly there for me. Constantly willing to hug my shoulders and hold me through the tears. Someone willing to stay up late to talk to ME, and someone willing to drop everything just to hang out. See...I'm not missing a FRIEND. I'm missing a BOYFRIEND. Why is it that nowadays the best support I can generally find in another human being is in a boyfriend? Out of the tons and tons of friends I have, I feel like I need to DATE someone in order to have someone to rely on to have coffee with. I think that's a little off-center.

Once again, I'm not talking to anyone directly here. I'm just pointing out a trend...If the fourteen year old version of me had had more people giving me random hugs and more consistent friendship, I think I would have been way less obsessed with feeling like I NEEDED a boyfriend. I wish we could break down these emotional walls we've built and get over ourselves and be who God created us to be. I'm willing to work on becoming that type of friend. Anyone else with me?

*Abel later corrected himself and said “nerdiness” and not “neediness”, but neediness is what sparked all this. I was very happily surprised that someone would admit that they’re needy. That’s not a bag thing. Everyone is needy, but everyone is also too freaked out to admit it. Which is why everyone’s all screwed up. I think we should make a song about it. Like, “If you’re needy and you know it clap your hands! (CLAP CLAP)” Except no one would clap except me and Tyler. We’re not afraid to admit it because we know it’s NORMAL and not WEIRD. People were created needy! We need God, and God says it is, and I quote, “Not good for man to be alone.”
**I only have a hard time saying “I love you” when it involves a ton of emotion and meaning…hmmm.
***Thomas lives thirty minutes away, sadly.


Marvelous Maggie said...

I love this blog. You're very inspiring. And it's all so TRUE. I was reading this and I was like, "Yeah, I'd do that," and "Hmm... crap." Haha, but seriously. I love you, Mary! I am excited for our GREAT LUBBOCK ROAD TRIP. Yaaaaaaaaay!

shelbyisms. said...

This was a really, really good blog, Mary.

I definitely know how you feel. When I'm with Whitfield I'm not thinking about how lonely I am. I would much prefer to having a best friend like him than a mediocre boyfriend.

Thank you for showing me that. Also, I'm right there with you :)

Pam said...

I don't know you; nor do you know me but don't worry, I'm not a creeper. I just happened upon your blog and found it very wise for your years. If more young people could understand the concept, it would save so much heartache!

Continue to let the Lord use you!