Some time ago, I read an article titled, A Lost iPhone & A Chance Encounter, written by my friend, Chris Easterly, who described a very serendipitous meeting one Saturday night with a pretty woman, originated through his finding her lost iPhone. It’s a great article and one that makes you stop and think about the “what if’s?” that all of us experience from time-to-time.
In the story, Chris reflected: Maybe I played it too safe. After all, we can’t expect God to work in our lives if we just stand back and do nothing. Or as an old preacher friend of mine said, “God can’t steer us if we’re not even driving the car. How often we just sort of plow through life, never entertaining and many times not even recognizing the opportunities that stare us in the face until it’s too late. This is a great point to consider as you search for someone special… Are you also missing some opportunities for love?
Personally, I think there was a time when I was single and dating where I got into the habit of making instant decisions about a potential date based on one conversation we had. I may have found the guy attractive, but somewhere in that first chat, there was that one thing he said—something minor and forgiveable, of course—but it was something I considered to be a flaw and did not fit inside the mold of the perfect man I was upholding. That little snippet of the conversation made me cross him off my list of possibilities. It was almost as if I was seeking out flaws instead of actually being open to getting to know him. Admittedly, this is not a great way to find a date.
Everyone should have their criteria—their list of negotiables and non-negotiables—when it comes to finding the right person to marry. But what if, like I was, you’re being a bit too hasty? Is it possible that you are missing out on some incredible relationship simply because the profile of the person you’re looking at lists something that isn’t on your list of negotiables? For example, gentlemen, maybe you’ve come across a profile of someone you find attractive and has many of the qualities you’ve been looking for, only to find she loves the one thing you definitely don’t—NASCAR. Is she off your list? Or maybe, ladies, there’s one gentleman in particular who appears in all your searches, and he’s local, he’s handsome and comes across as very genuine. But, he’s said yes to 7/7 of the faith and morals questions and to you, this seems extreme. Is he off your list? These are all off-the-top-of-my-head examples, but you’re probably seeing my point…
People are much more than a 100-word or so profile description, much more than just a snapshot that may or may not represent them well. But more importantly, every single one of them are worth getting to know.
Am I proposing you take the time to get to know everyone on CatholicMatch? Well, that would be silly, now, wouldn’t it? But I am proposing that in your search for someone special, you take the time to at least have a few conversations with the ones who don’t exactly match up with your “dream date” list. Who knows what can happen from there? Maybe your faith can be enriched through encounters like this? Maybe you can come to a deeper understanding of someone else’s circumstances? Maybe you can fall in love with someone incredible?
In the movie Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams’ character, Sean, offers Will some sage advice:
You’re not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense, this girl you met isn’t either. The question is, whether or not you’re perfect for each other.
So in connection with meeting potential dates, this advice translates to two ideas that are very basic in nature, but practically considered radical in our current society; being patient with others and not passing judgement. I think these are two good rules of thumb when searching for someone to date.
Some people say dating is an art form; you learn how to “wow” someone of the opposite sex. That may be true, but I believe dating is rooted in love for other people. Not just romantic love, I mean neighborly love, too. Being open to others whose lives are not mirror images of your own, listening to their stories, getting to know them for who they are. Love for souls is the foundation of every romance.
I welcome your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.