Love and Lifeguard Chairs

February 14th 2014 No comments yet  

Valentine’s Day is the New York Yankees of holidays because neutrality is impossible, you love it or you despise its very existence. Single folks like myself will spend the day ordering an entire meat-lovers pizza while popping in the most unromantic movie they can find, like The Wedding Planner (Ha! Burn J-Lo!). It really shouldn’t be that way, but if I wasn’t willingly driving to Houston on Valentine’s Day (gross, I know), that’s close to what I would probably do, minus The Wedding Planner.

In seemingly unrelated news, last week was my one-year anniversary of working at Stonebriar. Before I started work here, I was a lifeguard for the City of Plano in arguably the most mind-numbing line of work I have experienced. When you are paid to sit and stare at water, it is hard to find positive thoughts regarding your career path.

A couple of weeks before I got the call from Stonebriar to interview, I had just transferred from one indoor pool to another, seeking refuge from a toxic work environment that managed to suck every rare ounce of joy I had. Only after I had completed the schedule change did I find out the new facility would not be able to give me the hours I needed to sustain myself.

After getting one job interview in the eight months I had been out of college, it was just too much. After the new pool gave me the news, I pulled into the parking lot of a pink Korean church, sat in my car, and cried. I called my mom, blubbering into the phone about what I had done. Before I hung up, she said “God knows what He’s doing.”

I had applied for the job at Stonebriar a couple of weeks or so before, one that didn’t particularly fit my skill set but was loosely in my field. I did it mainly to shut my dad up because, at the time, I had tunnel vision for a media job, but he wouldn’t leave me alone about it. When I came in for the interview, I did the best I could. I really had no business even being considered for the job, quite honestly.

However, there would be another job in the Communications Department opening up soon. They hadn’t even been able to post it yet, but perhaps I would be interested in it.

I read the job description, and I had experience in almost everything on the list. It was even titled “Writer.” Writer! The job I had been trying to get the last eight months, at the church I had been a member of since I was nine years old. One year and ten days later here we are.

That’s great Townsend, you’re thinking to yourself, but I have Pizza Planet on the line, and I’m not any less lonely on this horrible day.

Fair enough, but I actually am coming back around to a Valentine’s Day point: If you’re single, your love life is just sitting in its lifeguard chair right now. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not a loser, and God hasn’t forgotten you. It’s just not time yet.

For a day that’s centered around love, Valentine’s is really good at making people feel unloved. I know how lonely it is because I struggle with it most days. It’s excruciatingly difficult to look around and see seemingly everyone in your vicinity so happy in his or her relationship and feel crushing isolation.

It’s a little cliché, but on a day when you don’t feel very loved, remember that God loves you enough to have a plan for you that is never foiled or frustrated. At the time, I wondered if I would be telling stories to my grandkids from a lifeguard chair. Obviously, I won’t be.

There are long stretches of life where it seems like you’re scooping out a pool with a coffee mug. Days become a seemingly pointless exercise of routine that has no light at the end of the tunnel. Even in the infuriating mundane, take comfort that God is working and loves you more than any spouse could ever dream.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t feel like you’re drowning. There’s a Lifeguard always watching over you.


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