It’s easy to judge people who wear certain labels, especially when those labels put them on publicly-accessible websites. But sometimes choosing to do what’s easy is lazy and intellectually dishonest. It’s easy to lump other people into a group and believe we know everything about them. It’s easy to read a list of stereotypes and decide to apply those to an entire group, ignoring the individuality that’s inherent in all of us.
I dated a girl I should never have dated. I believed she was capable of making that decision to date for herself. I rationalized my decision. I told myself that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was older than this person when she conceived the Son of God, whose father was God’s Holy Spirt. I found many reasons why it was okay to date someone 24 years younger than me.
I was wrong to do this. You might have very strong opinions about what I just told you. You’d be right in having those opinions. You might also extend grace and understanding to me. That’s an appreciated position for you to take.
Others said I groomed her. I rejected their opinions. What I cannot reject, however, is her opinion. She wanted me to listen to her perspective, so… I listened to her perspective. She told me I groomed her. When she gave her reasons for feeling that way, how could I possibly argue? I could no longer do so. My perspectives, which I’ve held for so many years, were instantly shattered.
I loved that girl. I allowed myself to imagine a world in which we ended up married… in which we were happy and the criticisms of others didn’t overshadow that happiness. It was an unreasonable daydream. I didn’t mean any harm in entertaining those daydreams. But I did overlook facts that should have mattered, which I chose to push aside.
It was a fairy tale, but reality is brutal. Reality is a world in which she felt like I’d left her no choice. At the time, she valued my opinions, and none of the people she found interesting were “good enough” by my standards. She felt I was her only option. Why? Because I said so by my actions. So she began saying words to me that I wanted to believe were true.
Words such as, “He doesn’t compare to you…” “I love you.” “I want to marry you.”
And when the reckoning came, she found herself in a situation far too difficult to deal with from her place of inexperience. She felt relief and guilt, sadness and anger.
Her guilt at sending me “on vacation” landed her on the streets. She was raped. She was trafficked. She was impregnated. By whom? She does not know.
Never in all of my life have I imagined how horrible life can be for another human. She shared things my brain doesn’t know how to process. Her experiences haunt me. The wages of sin are so damned high, and those of us who owe that debt aren’t necessarily the only ones who have to pay it.
And you know what? No matter what people say… those who want to make me feel better… I know it is
It really, truly is. While many will deny that I could possibly have loved her, I assure you, I did love her. I can’t stand communicating with her now, but I loved that brilliant person. That brilliant person is now an entirely different person than the one I knew just a few years ago. The person who has taken up residence within her currently struggles from addictions she was driven to take up by my actions. She vacillates between brilliant insightfulness and hazy incoherence.
Those on certain websites are easy to hate. As I alluded to before, that’s a pathetic thing to do. Humans are complicated. It’s lazy to lump large groups of people into one category. It’s inaccurate to say, “There is no treatment for that group of people.” There is always treatment. There is always a way to change. You cannot deny this truth while proclaiming to believe Jesus died to save sinners, amongst whom I am in upper management.
I made some really stupid decisions. Really, really stupid. I chose not to pay attention to how many trips she’d taken around our closest star. I saw potential and what she would become, and I believed she loved me. I believed she had the building blocks for a life partnership the likes of which I’d never known. I imagined how life would play out with a person I created in my head.
And you know what?
She wanted a father figure. She did not want a romantic partner. I knew better. I really did. I just convinced myself that what I knew with my intellect wasn’t as valid as what my heart wanted and what my imagination told me was possible.
My heart doesn’t want that anymore.
The wages of sin are way too high, and both of us have to pay my debt. It’s my debt, and I find it seriously unfair that she’s forced to be a cosigner.
God, help us.