on waiting {guest post Catherine Hawkins}

Catherine is a new-to-me blogger, and I am so honored to share her vulnerable post 
with you. It fits our series perfectly, and I really appreciate her honest words. Enjoy, 

     His hazel eyes are wide and his mouth hangs open just slightly, the beginnings of a grin. The booth is wide and he seems far away across the dark wood table.
     So, I’ve never had sex.
     There it is, in one, too-short sentence.
~     ~     ~
     I am 24-years-old, and I have experienced for the first time what it’s like to tell a non-Christian that I am a virgin. 
“Wait, so you’ve never had sex? Ever?” he said, and I shook my head, biting the inside of my lip because I didn’t trust my words.
     A back and forth, a pendulum between two worldviews, a desire to comprehend.
     “I don’t understand,” he leaned back against the leather booth, “Why are you doing this? You don’t even seem to want to. Do you flog yourself, too?”
     It seems like a flogging, this choice not to take what I want. It seems like a holier-than-thou, the asceticism of squashed desire.
     And there is my problem: I don’t know how to answer him.
     Why are you doing this?
     In college, sex is the hot topic, and you talk circles around it until you feel more confused and tired than when you started. There’s no question that the Church teaches abstinence, but there are tons of questions about Why?, How?, and For how long? My Christian girlfriends and I have bemoaned our sexless plight for years, longing and not-longing for the freedom we see in others’ lives.
     But this is the choice we’ve made.
     We’re just not so sure now why we’ve made it.
~     ~     ~
     The answers I give him are flat, rehearsed, sounding better in the confines of my mind or the safety of girl-talk than they do in a fire-lit bar over whiskey. I mention love and unity and God and order, but I realize mid-sentence that I don’t even believe what I’m saying. Or, I don’t believe it all the time.
     “I want it to be love,” I say, but this isn’t the answer.
     “So you’ve never loved someone? You can’t just wait for some perfect man to come around. What if he never comes?”
     What if he never comes?
     The potential for that hangs between us and I have nothing to say.
     When I start to cry – from sadness, from desire, from embarrassment, who can parse emotion? – he hugs me and whispers, “There is nothing wrong with you. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you.”
     But I feel all-wrong. I feel 24 and inexperienced and childish. I feel pigeon-holed in a place of Victorian piety and un-liberation. I feel tricked by the Church because nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Wait! Just wait! When you get married, sex will be AWESOME!”, and all I’m left with is this man’s arms around me but no answer to the question:
     Why are you doing this?
~     ~     ~
     I have moments of clarity. They happen most often in three places: sitting in the pew at church, lying in my bed at night, and driving alone in my car along roads that are too familiar. In these moments of clear thought, I begin to see why I have chosen this. I feel God’s presence. I know in just a flash why sex was created with these restrictions, and I breathe.
     These moments are too few and they never last.
     I can’t put the thoughts into words, but they are there, the times when I say, Okay, Lord, here it is. I do not understand it. I do not always want to do this. But I want to please You more than I want what I want.
     He may never understand this, the waiting, the “flogging,” as he said. He thinks I’m waiting for a fairytale romance because that is the only context in which he’s heard “I’m waiting for marriage.” Maybe someday I’ll be able to explain that it’s not about fairytales or good sex or perfection.
     It’s about ____________________.

Catherine Hawkins lives in northeastern Massachusetts where she pursues writing and the romantic idea of small-scale farming. She holds a degree in English and Music from Gordon College, and she currently teaches Latin to eager and not-so-eager 3-12 graders. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s most likely singing, drinking coffee, or selling honey and eggs at the local farmers’ market. You can follow her on twitter and read her blog at neither here nor there.

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