Saturday, October 27, 2007
My two favorite bands, Relient K and Switchfoot, are on tour right now and the closest they were coming to Steubenville was a three hour drive.
They were going to be playing in Grand Rapids the following night, which was only another four hours away and since Maria lives there I thought it’d be fun to go to the concert with her.
Going to the concert and surprising her meant skipping two days worth of classes so I did give it a lot of thought to make sure that I could afford to miss my classes. I decided that this is something that I would always remember, so I packed my things Wednesday night and went to bed early so that I would be well rested.
I was excited about the concert, but I was even more excited about surprising Maria. She had no idea that I was coming up to go to the concert, let alone to see her. I formulated all kinds of plans and back up plans for how I was going to meet up with her. I had directions to all the different places I thought she might be at and I even had maps on my computer of Grand Rapids so I could find any other location that I needed to.
I knew she went to noon Mass on Thursdays since she has work off that day and I thought that would be the perfect place to meet up with her. I called around 11 to see how her day was going I found out that she had already gone to Mass and that she was going to be around her parents house for the next couple of hours. At the time, she was waiting for her dad to get out of the shower so that she could get in.
I waited half an hour to be sure that she would be in the shower and wouldn’t answer the phone, and then called her house in hopes of reaching her dad so that he could let me in. I explained the situation to him and he agreed to let me in as long as I could get there in the next five minutes. He had an appointment that he had to get too and there wasn’t anyone else home to let me in. Thankfully, I was only a block away when I talked to him so I hurried over and knocked on the door.
He let me in and I went into the living room to sit down and wait for Maria to get out of the shower. Meanwhile, her dad said goodbye to her and left the house. I had spent a lot of time thinking about how she was going to react when she first saw me. I had a million scenarios running through my head, both good and bad, and I was getting more and more nervous as the seconds ticked away.
Eventually I heard the door open and I was preparing myself for her to come around the corner and see me. A few moments later her head appeared and my brain kicked into gear to start to say something clever. As she rounded the corner and saw me for the first time, the following thoughts went through her head:
1) There’s someone in my house!
2) It’s Jonathan, I must be imagining him because I was just thinking of him.
3) No, it really IS Jonathan!
4) Oh my gosh, I’m completely NAKED
And that’s about the time that she screamed "Oh my God! Jonathan! What are you doing here?!" as she ran down the hallway and slammed the door shut to her parents room and locked herself inside.
That, my friends, is how memories are made.
Monday, October 8, 2007
In the past I've used alcohol to ignore the guilty feelings. It was a cycle for so many years for me: masturbate and then drink until I didn't feel guilty anymore. That's actually the reason I decided to give up alcohol - if I could break this cycle then I would have to at least face my guilt and it would give me more of an incentive to quit the habit.
Anyway, tonight I'm alone and feeling guilty and everything in me just wants a few drinks so that I can ignore the pain and bad feelings and feel happy. I'm not going to give into that, but I needed to write this so that I could make sure to do the right thing.
I'm so weak and so ashamed of who I am. I'm trying my hardest; sometimes I just worry that it's not enough. Today is 24 days without a drink though, and I don't plan on that changing.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Maria and I talked shortly after my last entry and we've got everything worked out. She's really working hard on trusting me and I'm continuing to work on being a better man. It was a tough thing to deal with, and I'm still struggling with dealing about the guilt from my past mistakes and it's even harder to deal with my more recent struggles. I'm working very hard to try and live completely chaste and so far it's going well, but I have a long way to go before I'll be convinced that I've changed.
My parents came in town this weekend and it was really nice to get a chance to hang out with them. The only hard thing about it was that I didn't have much time to talk to Maria on the phone because I was spending so much time with them. It was good though because I hadn't ever had a chance to talk to them about her and this weekend gave me that chance. I would much rather be with her, but the next best thing is talking about her.
My parents did have a chance to meet her at my going away party and they had no idea at that time that we had any interest outside of being friends. I'm glad that they met that way because they were able to talk for over an hour so both of them got to see her in a different light than they would have if the first time they talked was when I introduced her as my girlfriend.
I'm going home this coming weekend because my friend Steve and Nicole are getting married and Maria will be coming into Lansing to spend the weekend with me. I'm very much looking forward to seeing her again. The distance is still really hard to deal with.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Last Thursday we finally had the conversation that I was dreading. I had to tell her about my current struggles with masturbation and pornography and she even surprised me when she asked if I slept with Jennifer. I shamefully had to admit to it. Talking to her about those things was the hardest thing I've ever had to talk about with anyone. I knew that by being honest with her that I could completely ruin the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I knew I HAD to talk to her about all the horrible things about my past, and unfortunately my present. I am ashamed of who I am and that these sins have been a part of my recent life. I feel like everything about me is really good, except for my purity. Even then it's only when I'm isolated that my purity becomes a struggle. That's a HUGE part of life though, and that HAS to change.
We were talking last night and she was telling me how she was struggling with trusting me right now. I know I'm a terrible person and I don't deserve to be trusted because of what I've done, but at the same time I have completely humbled myself and layed myself out there for her. I've been 100% honest along the way with her and I've held nothing back. To hear that she is struggling with trusting me after that kills me.
What else can I do other than be completely honest with her? If that isn't good enough then nothing is. Then I'm not good enough for her. That's probably more true than I'd like to admit.
I really thought I might lose her last night when we were on the phone, and it's something that I need to be prepared for, yet until I do I need to keep giving my all to her. It's going to be hard, everything in me wants to pull back into my protective shell that I've so often put around myself both after a relationship has ended and even during a relationship when things aren't going well.
This is a REALLY good time for me though. In the past when I felt this way I would have turned to alcohol and to masturbation to temporarily pick up my emotions rather than facing up to what's going on. That isn't happening now and it's not going to happen. It's time to grow up and turn in to a man rather than being a cowering little boy who runs away from the real world and turns to his vices to get through.
I am that boy no more.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Strange for me to think that just over a month ago, I was completely single, unattached. Concerned primarily with, well, myself! Not in a bad way, it was where I was supposed to be. Seeking God's will in my life, enjoying being single, focusing on work, enjoying summer, playing soccer, line dancing, going to the beach, trying to become the best I could be in my present situation. And I did enjoy it. It was a special time for me in life. And I still enjoy all of those things and expect them to continue, to be part of my life (except the part about being single, of course!).
But my whole life has changed since we've been dating. Not so much in activity, but rather, in purpose. For, apart from talking and spending time with you, my day to day activities haven't really changed, and yet, everything seems so different!
I guess it's because I've changed. I'm different, and that's not bad. In fact it's very good! I've chosen this. I want this. I have no regrets. And yet, the fact that I may never be single again is a bit difficult for me to grasp! Really, singleness is all I've ever known! I've never had a boyfriend before! Never been in a real relationship.
Sure, I've had plenty of unhealthy situations and attachments, but, yeah, this is way different. Way better, but completely new territory for me! And realizing all that this relationship is and all that it may one day become is, in a certain sense, very frightening! Not frightening in the sense of an overwhelming fear, but rather, an awe and respectful reverence for the mystery in which we find ourselves. Getting to know one another, discovering one another. Letting ourselves be known to each other. In a sense, being completely naked. And hopefully, as it was in Genesis, "naked without shame".
And that's why I have no desire to hold anything back from you or hide anything from you, as far as it is appropriate to the present state of our relationship.
Jonathan, I wish I could better put into words all my thoughts and feelings. I fell so close to you. I feel united with you. I feel a bond and connection so real that it is not affected by time or distance. Hmm, and to think, this is still the very beginning!
Well, my love, I hope you had a beautiful time in West Virginia. I long to be with you, in such a beautiful place. Someday...
You're in my thoughts and prayers! I'm sending a hug and a kiss (don't worry, it's a very short kiss!)
Yours in Christ,
PS: Jonathan, I love and respect you with all my heart. After reading the booklet about St. Raphael that I've included, I think you'll understand why I love him so much. I think he brought us together. I've been praying to him - I hope you like the little pocket token of St. Joseph, too! I love you!
Maria: You've been in mine all day as well. And wow have I been smiling a lot today!
September 1 2:52PM
Maria: Vball was great. Finally used tv. Keep an eye on your mailbox ;-) looking forward to talking tomorrow!
September , 11:58PM
Maria: I don't really think you're boastful.
September 7, 12:11AM
Maria: I got it, thank you so much. No more slappign I promise. Goodnight!
September 8, 1:12PM
Maria: Perfect timing! Lunch break. Last night was good. Stars were beautiful at 3AM! Have an awesome day, in my thoughts as well.
September 10, 5:02AM
Maria: I'm happy to be your girl! And so thankful that God has blessed me with a man as wonderful as you!
September 10, 6:46PM
Maria: You're the best! Thank you so much for the honest and heartfelt letter and cd. I can't wait to listen to it!
September 11, 12:44AM
Your love and forgiveness are so much better than momentary emotions any day! Thank you for bringing Christ's love to me.
September 11, 5:50PM
Maria: I'm thinking we need to wrstle tonight. Are you up for it tonight, around 9 or 9:30?
September 11, 6:10PM
Maria: Bring it on baby!
September 11, 7:18PM
Maria: I think tonight we should pray at the beginning of our patient and understanding conversation!
September 13, 11:18PM
Maria: Less than two days! I'm getting very excited! And I really like texting! I'm so glad you're my man!
September 14, 12:26AM
Jonathan: I've been super excited ever since I got off the phone with you. I got home and showed ur pic 2 everyone & told them about seeing u in 2 days!
September 14, 12:29AM
Maria: Have an awesome day tomorrow! Goodnight and God bless!
September 14, 2:05AM
Jonathan: 11 hours until I leave! Im off to bed for now. Have a great day tomorrow! May God bless you, my beautiful girlfriend! :-)
September 14, 8:58AM
Jonathan: Your parents must really need prayers! Will fill you in later. Have a wonderful morning!
September 14, 1:16PM
Maria: Drive safely, I'm looking forward to seeing you!
September 15, 9:18AM
Jonathan: I'm headed out to see you! I decided that only wanted to hear your voice in person today, hence the txt message. See you in 45 mins to an hour!
September 17, 9:13AM
Jonathan: Thank you for talking to me for most of the ride home-it went by fast! & thank you for caring enough about me that you were worried about me getting home safely
September 17, 1:17PM
Maria: I love you! I'm looking forward to talking tonight.
September 18, 12:34AM
Maria: I am sooo thankful for you. Buenas noches.
September 18, 12:59PM
Maria: I am a better person because of you. Thank you for all your prayers, patience and support.
September 18, 1:07PM
Jonathan: Thank you-it is Gods grace working in my life that allows me to help you draw closer to Him. Ive spent the day agonizing over how I dont deserve you and trying to figure out how I can make myself into a better man-one worthy of your heart.
September 20, 2:03AM
Maria: It takes a lot of courage to admit to our struggles! You are still just as strong in my eyes!
September 20, 12:29PM
Maria: Mm I smell like you! I'll explain later! I'm very at peace and content-hope u r 2! Luv u, babe!
September 20, 12:43PM
Jonathan: !Buenas tarde senorita Maria! Hope your day is going as well as mine. I rly enjoyed talking w. U last night! You r such an amazing gift to me. Te hablo a luego. PS: I know that last sentence was awful.
September 20, 1:18PM
Maria: I love you soooo much!
September 21, 1:51AM
Jonathan: Haha! Best voicemail ever! ...So you can just listen to me breathe and drink my water(silence)that was the sound of me drinking my water. Classic! I love you.
September 21, 12:46PM
Maria: I never get tired of hearing u tell me u love me. Thanks for the calls. I love u and miss u!
September 21, 12:56PM
Jonathan: Doing anything over lunch? You can call if not.
September 22, 3:04AM
Jonathan: Wow-It was a crazy night! It was hard to not drink with my buddies but Im so glad I didnt. i just spent an hour talking 2 Jon and he is a mess. Thx 4 praying
September 22, 1:39PM
Jonathan: You'll be excited to know that I was able to read all of Tobit today! So far the day is goign really well. We are 2 hours from the river right now. I love you!
September 22, 6:37PM
Maria: I love you! Thank you for believing in me!
September 22, 6:56PM
Jonathan: Im at Pies and Pints and wishing you were with me! Have a great time line dancing with your family. I love you and Im so glad ur my girlfriend!
September 22, 9:11PM
Maria: Hi sweetie! I'm on my way to line dancing and thinking about u! U r the one for me, Babe! Luv u!
September 22, 10:58PM
Jonathan: Thank you for all of your prayers and for helping me to always strive to be a better man!
September 23, 3:13PM
Maria: Im glad u r safe! Looking forward to talking later! Love you!
September 24, 12:07AM
Jonathan: I really want 2 talk but I don't have the heart to call again and wake you. Call if ur up, otherwise have an awesome day in Chicago! I love you!
September 24, 9:08AM
Maria: Hi darling! I successfully went to the bathroom on the train!
September 24 9:10AM
Maria: Thanks for the wake up call this morning!
September 24, 9:12AM
Maria: My heart is yours! I love you so much! You are amazing!
September 24, 9:28AM
Jonathan: Im proud of you for using the bathroom on the train! U go girl! Have a great time 2day-you r in my thoughts and prayers. Thx 4 the txt messages. I love my girl!
September 24, 6:57PM
Jonathan: I want to be with you so badly right now!
September 24, 7:01PM
Maria: Well, bathroom experience not quite as successful so far! We'll see! Cant wait to talk to u! Love u!
September 24, 7:04PM
Maria: The feeling is mutual!
September 24, 7:06PM
Jonathan: I have faith in you that you can pee. You can do it!!!! Yay Maria, let it flow :-)
September 24, 7:24PM
Maria: Wow! My own personal bathroom anxiety cheerleader! We'll see what I can do.
September 24, 9:08PM
Maria: So there is a great beatles song: i wanna hold your hand. U r prbly not surprised that i like that 1!
September 24, 11:23PM
I like the Beatles song, but I wrote my own called 'I Want To Talk To My Girl' I like it better. Hope your safe!
September 25, 11:22AM
Jonathan: I realyl want 2 tell u how amazing I think you are, but your VM is full. also we need an intention 2day. Lets pray 4 David & Morgan. I love you!
September 25, 2:00PM
Jonathan: I'm available for the rest of the day so feel free to call whenever!
September 26, 2:29AM
Maria: 5.5 hours we've officially beat our record!
September 2, 8:02AM
Jonathan: And yet I wish we had more than 5.5 hours to talk. I love talking to you and I love you! Please pray for my test.
September 26, 8:22AM
Maria: You can do it, Sweetie! I believe in you! I love you too.
September 26, 9:00PM
Jonathan: Are you doing anything tonight or are you free 2 talk whenever?
September 27, 4:03AM
Jonathan: Im sorry 4 complaining so much and being so tired and stressed. I feel like such a bad boyfriend. Im glad we talked. I love you and trust in you.
September 27, 4:29AM
Maria: I hope u r getting some sleep! Thanks for the message. I love you and i DO trust you too.
September 27, 11:14AM
Jonathan: Thank you 4 the email, it aws good to hear. Would you be available to talk aroudn 200? I wont keep you 4 long. Have a great day. I love you
September 27, 11:49AM
Jonathan: I told u last night that I wasnt going to go to Mass today cause of school and lack of sleep. Thats not true and Im sorry 4 saying it. Ill be going
September 27, 1:35PM
Maria: I should be available at two or shortly after, I'll ttyl.
September 27, 4:45PM
Jonathan: I dont know if Ill hear from you tonight and I didnt get a chance to thank you for the letter, or St Raphael book, or St Joseph Medal. They all meant a lot to me
September 27, 5:21PM
Maria: U r welcome-I meant what i wrote and I'd like to call around nine if that is okay
September 27, 5:24PM
Jonathan: Ill look forawrd to talking then. Not sure Id sleep 2night if we didn't talk. Well get u 2 bed at a good hour :-)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"I can have a more...better...one. Yeah, a more better one."
"Maybe people broke into your appartment and abducted you and are now forcing you to smoke some hookah in the basement."
"I don't know what else to say, so you can just listen to me breathe and drink my water (silence) that was the sound of me drinking my water."
"I'm going to regret leaving this voice message, I think."
Almost two weeks ago I decided to give up alcohol for a while. My next drink will be the toast at the wedding I'm going to in mid October. It was hard at first to not drink when I went to parties or out with people, but I'm getting used to it now and I'm glad I'm taking a break from it. It's actually a lot easier than I imagined it would be.
I spent last weekend down in Fayetteville, WV camping and white water rafting. My friend Steve is getting married in three weeks (The next time I get to see Maria!) and he wanted to go white water rafting for his bachelor party. He came down with a bunch of my buddies from Lansing and we had a really good time. It's a different going to a bachelor party and staying completely sober when everyone else is drinking, but if nothing else it gave me a different perspective on drinking.
Things between Maria and I are still going really well. We make sure to talk every night and I feel very satisfied with where we are at right now. The distance is hard, and always will be, but our hearts are growing closer and that's what matters. I've really been able to grow a lot as a person while we've been together - partly because of her and partly because of the environment I'm living in right now. She's definitely a very special girl and there's a lot of potential for our relationship; she's a big blessing to me.
I've had tests in four of my six classes so far and received grades on three of those tests. I'm getting an A in all three of those classes so far (Intro to Psych, Spanish, Foundations of Catholicism) and I'm hoping for a B in Biology, which I just took today. I have tests in the other two classes coming up at the end of this week and the beginning of next week. I've definitely been plenty busy studying lately!
Life is treating me very well overall and I'm still very thankful that I took the risk to go back to school and to leave Auto-Owners behind. I just can't imagine how miserable I'd be if I was still there and spending my days wishing I was doing something else.
I have a photo album spread out on my bedroom floor
I found the photo of the friend that I was looking for
its hard to say it,
it's time to say it
September 18, 2007
When I got home from work today, I looked through a bunch of photos from my life before I had met you. Pictures of my family and friends, pictures of trips I've taken. Looking through pictures always stirs up a wide range of emotions. Well, I guess it's mostly bittersweet feelings!
I'm so happy and thankful for the good times and friends I've had, and yet, looking at photos reminds me that those times are over, gone, finished. Everyone has changed. Now, of course, that's not really a bad thing at all. It means people have grown, moved forward with their lives, and most of the people I still have contact with.
Anyway, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." And I'm very excited about this new beginning of our relationship! I can't wait to start making new memories with you! I'm looking forward to spending time with you, dancing with you, praying with you, laughing with you, sharing (yup, I said sharing!) with you, learning about you, growing with you, playing air hockey and any other games with you, going to the beach with you, just being outside with you, walking with you, running (well, you'll still be walking) with you, travelling with you, overcoming challenges with you, hoping and dreaming with you. And of course having plenty of pictures of all of it!
All that being said, I do hope sometime I can show you all the pictures I was looking at today, tell you about the people in them, the experiences I had, for they have all been so important in influencing who I am today, and are very much a part of me. I'm also looking forward to you meeting more of my family and friends. And I look forward to meeting yours, to learning more about you, the people and experiences that have helped make you who you are today. Maybe you have some photos from your past you could show me sometime?
I love and respect you so much!
Yours in Christ,
Hi! How are you? I'm doing pretty well, settling back down into my usual routines and activities after the roller coaster ride I feel like I've been on lately! My friend Anthony and I are going to hang out tomorrow. He has been a really good friend and we haev a lot of fun together. I'm looking forward to it, but I can't help but wish that I was able to be hanging out with you :-(
Still, I'm so excited for you as you begin this school year and I aws happy to hear taht you've already been meeting people and thinking about different activities that you want to get involved in! I hoep this year is incredible and I'm so glad you're determined to make the most out of this opportunity! I still hope we'll be able to hang out when you come home!
God bless you always,
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I cherished every second that we were together and it was very hard to leave at the end of the weekend. There may be a six hour drive between us but I wouldn't want to be dating anyone else.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm not heading to Lansing to hang out with people though, it's just a stop along the way to my ultimate goal. I'll be taking off early on Saturday morning and heading out to Grand Rapids and I'm going to get to see Maria for the first time since we started dating. Yeah, it still seems crazy that we started dating AFTER I left town, but I'm glad that we are.
We've had a chance to talk almost every day and I'm content with how things are going. I would love to share a lot more of my life with her, but that's not possible right now and I'm okay with that - at least for the next 36 hours. I actually think that it's going to get harder after this weekend. We are at least somewhat used to not seeing each other right now and only having the phone to communicate. After spending two days with her I know that I'm going to have a much harder time being away.
For now I have the weekend to look forward.
I just found out that a guy I know is getting a divorce after only being married for nine months. What's the reason for it? His wife just decided one day that she didn't FEEL like being married anymore and that she enjoyed being single more, so she's going to back to that life style.
I was blown away because I've heard that exact reason before. I'm sure that "I only have one life to live, and I need to make the most of it. I have to do what's right for ME" was said to him on more than one occasion. That statement just seems to follow right behind that reason wherever it goes.
Nine months? She must really have thought that marriage was all about the fairy tale happy ending. Heck, they barely have been together long enough to have had a baby if they became pregnant right away!
The thing is, I feel just as badly for her as I do for the guy. What sort of life does she have ahead of her if she can't commit, if she can't love? She'll spend her life searching for what she already could have had, yet will never find unless SHE changes.
Now you complain a lifetime just doesn't feel right for you
Another casualty of casual love
Another soul out of place, a heart that gave up
Why do we break the promises we make?
Are we living for ourselves?
Don't give up on love and throw it all away
Don't give up on love and let it fall away
When did it become so easy to run from your pain
Don't give up on love and throw it all away
I heard you say you can't change a stubborn heart
I can relate 'cause that's how I feel when I talk with you
Why should it take losing everything
to realize it might be time to change?
Your restless heart won't win 'cause you take but you don't give
And you'll keep moving on until you learn what love is
Don't give up on love and throw it all away
Don't give up on love and let it fall away
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Sep. 10th, 2007
The more that I learn about her the more special I realize this is. I've dated a few girls in my time and been friends with a lot of other ones and I've NEVER had anything like this.
This post is all coming from a logical point of view. If I was writing about how I was actually feeling right now I'd be off the charts. Words just won't do it justice. She's a special woman and we have something good going on.
I CANNOT wait to see her this weekend.
Once two o'clock comes I'll be a free man and I'll just have to make it through two easy classes on Friday before I head home and get to see Maria. I'm REALLY looking forward to that.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Maria and I have been struggling through the whole distance thing and having a new relationship. The last two nights on the phone have been less than fun. We finally worked out what was bothering her by the end of our conversation tonight and she felt good by the time we got off of the phone.
I felt like shit.
I have this issue where even though I know I'm a very likable person and now and then I have enough self esteem to see the value in myself, I spend a lot of my time feeling like I'm not capable of being loved.
Most of my experience in life has shown me that people don't actually love me. They just like me for what I can do for them, and when things get hard they turn their back on me. As far as who I really am as a person? No body gives a damn.
Maybe Maria will be the first person to eventually let me know I'm loved, but right now I feel like she's just riding on emotions. I hope not, I don't know if I can take another heartbreak.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Hi! So this would technically be the first letter from your girlfriend. To tell you the truth, I understand why your brother and your dad didn't really like using the word "girlfriend". Not that there's anything wrong with the word itself, or its true meaning, and besides, others wouldn't understand if we didn't use those terms, it's just that our society and culture have so distorted everything about relationships, making them seem like a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" is just something to get, something to have, a trophy, a security, something to use.
But that is not the case for us, or any real relationship, whatever it may be. Nor do I ever want it to be.
When we spoke on the phone last night, something in particular struck me from the email your mother sent you. She said how beautiful it is that God has blessed you with me for your faithfulness.
Oh Jonathan, I DO want to be a blessing to you. In the past, I've done a lot of thinking and writing about the things I want in a man. But now I'm thinking more about who I want to be as a woman.
At first I thought of endless things I wanted to be, strong, gentle, loving, respectful, helpful, encouraging, uplifting, honest, joyful, peaceful, faithful...I could go on. And then I realized that all those things and more can be summed up in my desire (and I believe the true desire of all women) to be beautiful.
And I'm not speaking simply of outward beauty, though that definitely has its place. But rather an all-encompassing beauty. I want to be beautiful. In my heart, in my mind, in my words, in my actions. I want to become all that God intends for me to be. I want to be a blessing to all. A blessing to you.
And where does all this lead except back to the simple truth of God's plan for his children from the beginning! For He is the source, He is all Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. And only by being filled with God can I hope to bring truth, beauty, and goodness to others.
So, my prayer for us today and always is that we always strive to know God's love, to be completely filled with it, to each do God's will, and then to have complete trust that by doing that, we truly will be the greatest blessing to each other.
Wow! I never know quite what to expect once I start writing!
I hope everything is going well for you at school. I'm so proud of you for whole-heartedly seeking God's will in all aspects of your life. For all the risks you've had to take, for trusting God so much that you left everything and moved forward though you couldn't see what was ahead.
Your trust in God inspires trust in me. It inspires my trust in God, yes, but also trust in you. I trust you, Jonathan. Thank you so much for being worthy of my trust. Thank you for being a blessing to me!
Yours in Christ,
Sunday, September 9, 2007
If you want me so much
First I have to know
Are you thoughtful and kind?
Do you care what's on my mind?
Maria read me a few short selections from her prayer journal this evening and when we were about to get off of the phone I thanked her for it. It really helped me to respect her that much more as a woman of God and as my sister in Christ. I expressed how I felt like I didn't deserve for God to bring her into my life and that I want that much more to help her grow in holiness and draw closer to Him. I wasn't just saying that to sweet talk her; I really meant it from the depths of my heart.
At first there was silence, and a sniffle. "Thanks for sharing that with me. You're the type of guy that I've always wanted."
Everytime I talk with her we draw closer to each other. Tonight she shared with me about her 'friend' Phil and her four years of liking him and how that affected her. She told me a story from last night where she was talking to a guy she knew after Mass, a family she knew came up and assumed they were dating and asked them to go out to dinner last night. She accepted, and the guy ended up asking her out to dinner the next night in front of the family. She said yes because she didn't want things to get wierd last night, and later told him no when he dropped her off that night because it wouldn't be appropriate since her and I are seeing each other.
She had sent me a text message last night to let me know that she was Salsa dancing and that she wished I was there to dance with her. Salsa dancing is my thing, and I love it. I had been thinking about wanting to go with her just earlier on Saturday and when I heard about her going I ended up feeling quite jealous and having to work through those feelings last night and today. I didn't want to feel that way because I want her to be able to enjoy living her life and I really didn't want to share how I felt with her because I thought I was being stupid. She encouraged me to share how I felt with her and I eventually did. I'm very glad I did, it just brought us that much closer together.
Later on we talked about how we both are the type of people who will quickly give up ourselves and who we are for someone else. I've given up all my interestes in past relationships, and it never ends well. We'll be praying hard that we can keep from doing that. I really want her to keep being Maria and she really wants me to keep being Jonathan. Loving each other by allowing each of us to be free to be ourselves is so much better than trying to grasp at the other person and slowly choking the life out of them.
We also pray every night before we get off of the phone together, and each day we have a special intention that we both pray for and offer up all of our day for. God's really blessed us with each other, there's nothing I've ever done to deserve her.
She's very special to me and we are headed down the right road so far. I hope and PRAY that it continues.
-Starting out in a bad mood because I spent the day reading about Sigmund Freud
-Eating bangers and mashed!
-Asking Patrick how his girlfriend was, only to find out they broke up the day after I met her
-Rocking out in the third row to Gaelic Storm
-Driving around Pittsburgh in circles (seriously - we passed the same building FOUR times) for an hour trying to get to Mullaney's Harp and Fiddle Pub because Devon was our navigator and was too tired to remember where we were going
-Making two illegal U-turns in downtown Pittsburgh while trying to find the bar
-Devon calling her brother to find out where to go while we were waiting for a light to turn green, only to have Ricardo spot the sign right in front of us
-Parallel parking in under 10 seconds
-Learning that Michigan lost 39-7 to Oregon and is now 0-2 on the season
-Seeing the members of Gaelic Storm show up at the bar we went to
-The 'older' lady who had too much to drink and was wandering around Mullaney's and rocking out to the band
-The fiddler in the band at Mullaney's. He was Indian and he told everyone he had to leave early because he was opening at 7-11 the next morning. "Thank you, come again!"
-Going in reverse (The wrong way AND backwards at the same time) down a major highway because I passed up yet another exit and I was tired of doing U-turns
-Another illegal U-turn in Robinson
-Getting a text message from Maria saying that she was Salsa dancing and wished I was there with her; If only she knew how badly I wished I was there too
-Driving around Steubenville for half an hour trying to find a place that we could eat at
-Settling for Chicken Nuggets at McDonalds at 2:00 in the morning because I tried to order a hamburger and they don't serve hamburgers at that time of night. It's freaking McDonalds. It exists BECAUSE of the hamburger and you can't order it? It's not like they were serving breakfast food yet. Unbelievable!
-Eating on the trunk of Devon's car because Ricardo, Devon, and I all went through the McDonald's drive through in separate vehicles
-Ricardo had to settle for Chicken Nuggets because he couldn't get a hamburger either
-Not being able to share any of my evening with the person I most wanted to
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I've been listening to a lot of music while I've been doing homework as well as when I've been thinking bout you. I thought I'd send you a CD of a few of my favorite songs - all of which remind me of you. I wanted to let you know why each song is on the CD, and you can find that below.
1) Faking My Own Suicide - Relient K
I thought this was a great song to put first because it makes me think of the summer when I wanted for you to like me, but couldn't get you to do so. Luckily all I had to do was go away to school and I didn't have to go to the extreme that the song talks about!
2) Miss Independent - Kelly Clarkson
This song makes me think of you because over the summer you definitely showed me that you had a very independent attitude and there seemed to be walls up around your heart due to being hurt. The song talks about the change this girl goes through, and I saw that same sort of change occur in you during the last month.
3) Going Away To College - Blink 182
I've liked this song since I first went away to college, but i never had any real meaning in my life until now. I think it describes how each of us were feeling over the last two weeks before we talked about our friendship. It's a song about worrying that you've been forgotten.
4) I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
If I could have only sent one song then this would have been it. The lyrics tell the rest of the story.
5) Hey There Delilah (Maria) - Plain White T's
This is one of the most popular songs on the radio right now and it deals with two people who are at a distance from each other, yet their hearts are still together. There are hopes and dreams for the future; It's a very bitter sweet song.
6) Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard
A great song about missing someone and reminiscing about the summer
7) When You're Gone - Avril Lavigne
Hopefully you like this song as much as I do
8) I'm Taking You With Me - Relient K
If only I could.
9) A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton
Another great song about missing someone who is a great distance away
10) Must Have Done Something Right - Relient K
Yes, this is the third Relient K song on this CD. That's okay! "I'm racking my brain for a new improved way to let you know you're more to me than what I know how to say."
11) Someday - Larue
I've been listening to this song for almost ten years now. You probably have never heard it, but it's a great song and I think you'll like it.
12) My Maria - Brooks and Dunn
Why? It's your 'favourite' song!
13) Hopefully you'll enjoy these songs. Let me now what you think!
You're in my thoughts and prayers always,
Last night we talked briefly about Kathleen and you questioned whether I had wanted to, or felt like I should be free to pursue a girl at school rather than starting a long distance relationship with you.
When I was discerning what we should do with our friendship I did give that option plenty of consideration. There was already some potential between Kathleen and I and I thought about taking the time to see where that went. I also knew that if nothing happened between her and I that it was only a matter of time before I met a girl at Franciscan that I would click with. I have enough self-awareness and confidence in myself to know that it's easy for me to meet girls and for the most part they end up liking me - or at least they like the idea of who they think I am. (You were a lot harder to win over, but I'm thankful for that) I know that if I hadn't already met someone down here in Kathleen that there was plenty of hope for meeting a girl on campus in the future.
There is all this potential around me, yet when it came time to choose I didn't leave the option open to met someone down here.
Why? Not a single girl on campus is Maria Therese Shaheen. None of them are YOU.
You are special to me and it was very easy to choose you. I have never enjoyed talking to a woman as much as I enjoy talking to you and I really believe that our friendship is special and that you are a gift from God. I am very thankful; that you are in my life and that I can call you my girlfriend. That's an honor that I never thought I'd have.
I am attracted to you first and foremost because of who you are; your heart, mind, and soul. You are a woman of God, an excellent listener, fun to listen to, you have a wonderful heart and a great personality. You are also a very beautiful woman. I love your smile, your pretty eyes, your long hair, and your beautiful face. I am very much looking forward to being with you and seeing you again. It's going to be an awesome weekend!
Your brother in Christ,
Friday, September 7, 2007
5 hours and 20 minutes later we finally decided to get off the phone and get some sleep. It looks like I'll be studying tomorrow instead of tonight.
Best moment of the night:
Maria: "That really means a lot to me and makes me feel good to hear you say that." -pause-
Jonathan: "How to ruin a moment lesson one: Bring up another member of the opposite sex when sharing a special moment with your significant other. Always a good call!"
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Brett and I decided we are going to wear them over our shorts to our Anatomy class when we start learning about the urinary tract and let the class know that we both realized we had a problem with bladder control.
It's going to be sweet.
I walked over this evening to meet him and Devan to head out to Applebees and I kind of noticed that his neighbors yard had yellow tape surrounding it. I didn't think anything of it until he pointed it out to me. That's when I realized the entire house was taped off with POLICE TAPE.
There had been a massive drug bust earlier today and the entire yard and house was now a crime scene. Whether there was any shooting involved is unknown, but entirely possible.
Three houses from where I live. Awesome.
I'm learning about how our brains work right now; specifically why someone with an amputated hand feels as if their hand is being touched when their face or arm is stroked. It's because the sensory fibers for the hand is located between the sensory fibers for the face and the arm. When the part of the brain used to sense the hand isn't used for a period of time then the adjacent regions take over and begin to use that space.
This leads to the last example which is just too good to have been made up.
Note, too, that the toes region is adjacent to the genitals. So what do you suppose was the sexual intercourse experience of another patient whose lower leg had been amputated? "I actually experience my orgasm in my foot. And there it's much bigger than it used to be because it's no longer just confined to my genitals".
Our brains are CRAZY!
I tried calling this morning to talk to Mom about this and I wasn't able to get an answer so I thought I'd write a short email since I'll be really busy for the next few days and unable to call.
I haven't really had the chance to talk to you guys about Maria very much, but we had quite the adventerous summer and God really used her to help me decide to go back to school. We've had a lot of opportunities to spend a good amount of time talking and doing things together over the summer and it was always a good and pure friendship. We continued to draw closer to one another, especially towards the end of the summer and had I not been going off to school we would have prayed about pursuing something more than a friendship.
We decided that it would be best if I just went off to school with no expectations for our friendship and that we should continue to pray about what God wanted from our friendship. All of my friends supported this decision, and they emphasized that there would be plenty of good women that I could meet at Steubenville and that I should just put Maria behind me and move on with life.
That was definitely an option, and in a sense that's what I did for the first week I was down here. I continued to pray about our friendship, but outside of the time I spent praying about it I wasn't thinking about her. We didn't have much of a chance to talk for the first week that I was down here and I spent my time meeting lots of people down here.
One thing I quickly came to see is that just because someone goes to Steubenville, it doesn't make them a better person than any of my friends back home. I've definitely met a lot of really cool people, but I've also run into people with drug problems, people who are here to party, people who are immersed in the media, and a lot of people who have been sheltered their entire life and even though they are seniors or grad students they haven't had a chance to grow up because they've never had to face the real world.
There are really good people here, but they aren't any better or worse than people back home.
Last Thursday, Maria and I finally had a chance to really talk again. We talked about our friendship and what God had been saying to each of us through our prayers. I didn't feel like He was telling me to let go of her, and she didn't feel as if He was telling her to let go of me. Neither of us had strong emotional feelings for the other, but we do really cherish our friendship. We decided to just keep praying and on Sunday we had another chance to talk about our friendship.
Throughout the summer we both spent a lot of one on one time with members of the opposite sex, talking and hanging out with them. We both experienced the same thing: They were okay friendships but the friendships never went anywhere. There are only so many casual conversations that you can have before a man and a woman move to a deeper place than just being friends.
We felt that if our friendship was just going to be a casual friendship then we could find people in our own area that we develop that sort of friendship with. There was no need to have a 7 hour distance between us for that sort of friendship and it would be better to just let each other go. We felt it was prudent to take the next couple of days to decide if we should be going deeper with our friendship or if we should go our separate ways.
I've always really really enjoyed talking with her because she has a lot of depth to her and a lot of wisdom. She isn't superficial or worldly in anyway; she's a very solid woman of God. Her friendship meant a lot to me and even when we were going after nothing more than a friendship I did yearn for something deeper with her. Yet if that wasn't God's will then both of us were willing to let go of each other.
We took the last two days to really pray (more) about what we should do. I went to the chapel yesterday before we talked and went through every moment of our friendship to discern if I was trying to force things or if God's hand was orchestrating it.
Our friendship started on Sunday night in West Virginia when I asked her to take walk with me. I had been praying about whether I should ask her or not throughout the day, and when I asked her to take the walk she paused for half a minute to think about it before giving me an answer. I used that time to ask God to allow her to give the answer that He wanted her to give. I was just as okay with a no as I was with a yes. Of course she said yes.
Throughout the summer we had times when we were close and then other times where we didn't really think about each other. God brought us together at the right times; just when we needed it most. She put it best last night on the phone: "Everything in our friendship has been just in time and exactly when we needed it. If it had been any sooner or any later it wouldn't have worked out well at all."
He also spent the summer working on both of us and preparing us for something more than a friendship. At the beginning of the summer we were both really interested in being in a relationship (not with each other at the time) rather than completely focussed and satisfied by God alone. The following really inspired me earlier this summer:
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.
But God, to a Christian, says,
"No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content
With being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me,
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.
Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united with another until you are united
With Me alone, Exclusive of anyone or anything else,
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning,
And allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing,
One that you cannot imagine.
Please allow Me to bring it to you.
You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I AM.
Keep listening and learning the things I tell you.
You just wait.
Don't be anxious.
Don't look at the things you think you want;
Or you'll miss what I want to show you.
And then when you are ready,
I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you could dream of
You see, until you are ready and until The one I have for you is ready
(I am working even at this moment to have you both ready at the same time),
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
And the life I prepared for you,
You won't be able to experience the love that
Exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.
And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love,
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your
Relationship with Me.
And to enjoy materially and concretely
The everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love
That I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly.
I AM God.
Believe it and be satisfied.
~ St. Anthony of Padua ~
When we talked on Sunday night I wasn't sure I was in the place to have more than a friendship with someone. I had gotten to the point where I was uninterested in a relationship about two months ago because I was focussed on God, but I didn't realize I was at that point until I was in Mass yesterday. I realized that I've been so focussed on trying to grow and draw nearer to God that I didn't even notice that I had no emotional desire to be in a relationship. I no longer had a need that I felt I needed to fill. I was at the point where I could give myself freely for the sake of giving and not because I was somehow trying to fill an emptiness in my heart.
As I prayed about it and realized how God had been preparing my heart and how He had been guiding our friendship over the summer I really felt at peace about getting to know Maria on a deeper level. I felt like I would be turning my back on God by saying no; I would have felt the same way if I decided to stay in Lansing rather than coming to Steubenville.
When we talked on the phone last night, she explained what God had been telling her and it was exactly along the same lines. We really felt that even though there was a great physical distance between us that God was giving us the go ahead to start dating.
I don't make a habit of saying no to God, so Maria is now my girlfriend.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I want to thank you again for encouraging me to always be completely open and honest with you. Thank you for accepting me as I am and for wanting me to be myself - my best self, who God intends for me to be. Thank you for your openness and honesty with me throughout this entire journey so far! I know how much courage it must have taken for you to take such risks as to share your feelings with me, not knowing what the outcome would be! Thank you for your kindness and your patience with me, as I've worked through things, grown, been confused, confused you, etc! Thank you for giving me my space to work through things and for never being forceful or mean to me. Thank you for your strength. For your strength of character, for listening to your heart and trusting yourself and God when you chose to talk things out with me that Monday after soccer, even though Heidi advised against it. I don't know if you realize how much that means to me, it shows me that I can depend on you to do what you feel and think is right, even if that means doing something that others don't agree with. Thank you also for your moral strength. Thank you for telling me that you don't want us to get too close physically right now. Thank you for protecting both of our purity, even though I was being foolish and imprudent. Thank you for being able to say no to me, without being harsh or hurtful. Thank you for being a man of prayer, for seeking God's guidance continually especially as it applies to our relationship. Thank you for wanting and seeking the best, in your own life and also desiring the best for me. Your friendship is a gift from God and I've been able to draw closer to him through knowing you! I hope this gives you a bit of an idae of what you mean to me.
Yours in Christ,
Sunday, September 2, 2007
So much happened this weekend that I haven't had time to write about it. Here's a few highlights:
Friday night I was invited to a dinner with some Grad Students. Kathleen and Matt were cooking and the food was amazing. Mary told the group her story about stalking a boy during her freshman year and Ryan shared a story about his trip to Italy and his 'poop' adventure. I'll try and find time to write that one up at some point because it's REALLY good.
Right around 10:00, Kathleen and I headed over to another Graduate party which was just down the road from my house. The party really died when we showed up, but we stayed until around midnight. After I dropped her off I went home to find yet ANOTHER party going on at my place. Brett had 12 of his friends over so I hung out with them for a bit before going to bed around 3:00.
I spent the first part of my Saturday studying. Around 5:00 I headed off to The Sesame Grill to meet Devan, Mario, Tim, Heather, Kate, Ricardo, Mary, and Peter for Sushi. After Sushi we went to the Festival of Praise on campus. I only stayed for 1 1/2 hours of the 2 hours that it lasted. I spent the last 30 minutes playing Frisbee outside with a little girl named Susanne that could throw and catch REALLY well for a 13 year old. Most guys I know can't throw as well as she can.
When the FOP was finished I met up with Devan, Mario, and Kathleen and we headed down to Froehlich's, which is a Restaurant / Bar. Our friend Jeff plays the drums and his band was the opening act for the night so we wanted to support them. Afterwards I was driving home and I noticed a car was following me. My phone rang and it was Kathleen calling to tell me that I forgot to say goodbye to her. Since she was already following me I invited her over and we hung out for a bit before she headed home for the night.
Sunday was spent at Church in the morning, doing homework, sleeping, talking with Maria, playing football, eating dinner at Josh's place, talking to Maria, playing guitar, and then writing in here before going to bed.
Maria In two days I'll either have a girlfriend or my closest friend will turn into an acquaintance. Until then I'll be praying hard about the decision.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I've been praying a lot about friendships lately, both here in Steubenville and with Maria back home. God is really directing my friendships here and I'm meeting all kinds of great people and really starting to get connected. At the same time I'm still looking at my friendship with Maria as having potential for being more than just a friendship at some point in the future.
Maria called on Thursday and we talked about our friendship and where it was going. We hadn't had a chance to talk about our friendship since we saw each other the Monday night before I left town. I was under the impression that she was trying to forget about me, so I tried doing the same even though I don't think I wanted to. Well it turns out that through prayer she's really getting the impression that she shouldn't be letting go of me, and emotionally she doesn't want to let go of me either. During our conversation she let me know that she likes me a lot. I was happy to hear that, but at the same time I was doing a good job of letting her go.
Right now my main problem is that I don't know what I want to do and more importantly, I don't know what I should do. My heart is still having a hard time believing that she has decided for good what she really wants. She has been consistant since we talked two weeks ago, but after the rollercoaster ride I really detached myself from her as far as fealings go. Even though I would like to turn those fealings back on now that I know how she feals I just can't do it. I still look forward to talking to her but there isn't that 'feeling' attached to her like I did over the summer.
The lack of feelings has a lot to do with the distance we have between us right now, but part of it is because right now I'm slowly starting to get attached to Kathleen. I don't even know if that's a wise thing to do because she's only around for this year. Then she'll be graduating and moving back home or wherever else she finds a job. I don't want to get involved with someone who will be gone in a year. But, does it make any sense to get involved with someone who is 'gone' now and will still be gone next year and the following year? That's a long time to be away from each other. A REALLY LONG TIME. I am planning on going home once a month right now to see Maria, so that means I'll see her three times during the school year as well as over Christmas break and summer break.
Is that enough time to have a relationship with someone? I don't know. Do we even need to be in a relationship rather than a friendship? I don't know. Right now I'm definitely content with just being good friends because I still need to work on myself, not to mention I haven't figure out what God wants in this situation.
I also need to decide what to do with my friendship with Kathleen. If I keep hanging around her as much as I am now and in the same way then I am going to develop feelings for her. Right now I don't think that'd be wise. As far as time goes, I'll have a chance to see Kathleen a lot over the next eight months, but she'll be gone for good after that.
I also know that Maria really likes me now, and while my posts on here probably don't make her sound like the best person, she is a really awesome woman. Despite her bits of selfishness here and there she is a very loving and giving person. She comes from a good family and I like the fact that she's so close with her siblings and her parents. That's always a good sign. Anyway, the point of this is that I know where she stands as far as our friendship goes and I have no idea where Kathleen is at. Right now I'd rather her not start to get interested in me because I don't want to hurt her in anyway.
So far all of this is just me trying to figure out what I want. The really important question right now is 'what does God want? I'll have to keep praying about it because right now I either don't know what He wants or else He has told me and I didn't want to hear it so I didn't pay attention.
For now, I plan on keeping my focus on Maria, but I'm not sure I'm at peace with that decision. I'm hoping through prayer and then spending the weekend with her in two weeks will help me decide what I should be doing.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
My LG-100 died on me last night and it's gone for good. I pulled my charger out of it and part of the internals of the phone came with it. I tried desperately to save it. The Heimlich maneuver, CPR, a defibrillator, putting the internals back inside and plugging the charger in.
Today I will make my final journey with my phone as we head to Robinson, PA where the nearest Verizon store is. Mapquest tells me that it'll take 40 minutes to get there. I plan on it being a day long journey as I reminisce about all the good times and mourn the times that never will be. No matter what new features my new phone has, it just won't be the same.
You were good to me, and you will be missed.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I headed out of my apartment this morning around 10:45. I had a letter from Maria and a wedding invitation in my mailbox, both of which I plucked out and put in my backpack to read once I made it to school. I made my way to my Psychology 101 class and found a seat in the back. I've always been a 'sit in the back' sort of person and the fact that the class was full of freshman didn't exactly encourage me to move closer to the front.
It worked out really well because a girl named Sara sat next to me and it turns out that she remembered me from orientation. We hadn't actually met, but she had helped me find a parking spot way back on Thursday afternoon. She's a senior this year, so at least she was a few years closer to my age than all of the 18 year olds.
My professor walked in and I could tell immediately that she'll be really awesome. Her name is Dr. Joanne Storm and I actually stayed at her house when I was visiting Steubenville this summer. She's young and full of energy; I could enjoy having her for an 8AM class because she'd help me wake up and make me excited to be there.
Heidi had called me during class so I gave her a call as soon as I was outside. Her and Jon had met last night to talk and she was feeling the way I expected her to feel today. We talked until her lunch was over and then I decided to walk around campus for a bit to kill the 30 minutes I had left until class started. I ran into Ricardo, then I talked real quickly with Amanda, and eventually I saw Sarah walking to class so I ran over and walked with her.
My second class of the day was Foundations of Catholicism, which I think will be pretty interesting. My friend Aaron was in the class so I knew another person right off the bat. Our teacher gave us a 5 minute break in the middle of class and I broke out my granola bar to eat since I hadn't yet had lunch. Aaron didn't have a lunch either, so I gave him my 2nd granola bar. I was out of food for the rest of the day at that point, but at least he was able to eat some lunch.
After class I headed to the JC Williams center to study and I found my friend Devon at a table. I sat and talked to her for a few minutes and then began studying. Sarah and her friend Maria, who I met over the summer, stopped by later to give me a hard time about studying on the first day of class. Devon ended up coming back and both Mario and Tim found us later. Mario and Tim are awesome, but it was impossible to get any studying done with them around.
I headed off to Confession and then to Mass before heading home to get some food, rest a bit, play a little XBox, and do some homework. I was home for about 2 1/2 hours which was perfect. I hopped back in my car and gave Jon a call to see how last night went for him while I was driving back to campus.
We had our GNT social tonight where we could sign up for sports and other activities as well as drink some beer, wine, and eat some food. I ended up being there for almost 2 hours and I was talking with people the entire time. I met a few new people, saw some familiar faces from home, and talked a lot with my friends that I had already made over the last week. I can't believe how many people I've already met since I came into town 6 days ago. I feel very at home being here. At least I felt that way until Kathleen called me 'Josh' 3 times in one sentence. She's the person I've talked to the most and the one who has made me feel most welcome, yet she can't get my name right. I know she knows my name and that she likes having me around but she has a problem with calling me Josh. I'm working on trying to help her with this problem but I think there is a long road ahead of us still :-)
Kathleen mentioned that she wanted to go to adoration after the social, but the only Adoration available right now is off campus and it's not safe for a woman to go alone at night. I offered to go if she couldn't find anyone else, and that ended up being the case. I figured she could show me where it was at and I could keep her safe. A pretty good deal if I say so myself!
We didn't stay too long and I headed back home afterwards. Right as I was pulling into my apartment I received a text message from Maria telling me she hoped my first day went well. It's great to know people back home are still thinking about me and praying for me.
I'm an incredibly lucky man.
It's the first day of school.
There's a few things I've found out since I've arrived in Steubenville that I wish I had known a few months ago. I've been talking to a lot of Grad students and it sounds like I'll be able to take a lot less undergrad in psychology and be able to get into the Masters of Counseling program much sooner than I thought. There's a very small possibility that I can get in next Spring, and a very good chance that I can get in next Fall. That will rule out any possiblity of studying in Austria, but it'll shorten my time in Steubenville from 4 years to 2 1/2 to 3 years.
I also found out that there aren't any official Academic Advisors. There are only professors who are willing to help out in their spare time. They do a great job helping a incoming freshman set up their schedule, but they do not do a good job helping non traditional students get through school as fast as possible. I took a look at my schedule and how my advisor had it layed out for me and I realized that it would take me three years to get through UNDERGRAD if I wanted to go that route. It looks like I won't have to go through all the undergrad anyway, but I completely overhauled my schedule yesterday so that I could make it through in two years if I end up going that route.
12:00-12:50 Motivation and Emotion (Psychology)
4:00-5:15 Elementary Spanish I
6:00-8:40 Personality (Psychology)
12:45-2:00 Foundations of Catholicism
12:00-12:50 Motivation and Emotion (Psychology)
4:00-5:15 Elementary Spanish I
12:45-2:00 Foundations of Catholicism
12:00-12:50 Motivation and Emotion (Psychology)
Monday, August 27, 2007
I was walking around campus talking with Kathleen this evening and she asked me if I was homesick at all. The answer to that is that I’m not at all home sick. I’ve even thought about not going home every month, but I think I will end up doing that just so I can keep in touch with a few special friends of mine.
I thought more about her question while I was in the Eucharistic Chapel praying tonight, and I realized that my transition from Lansing to Steubenville has been so easy for me because God used the events of this summer to detach me from home. Even the emotional roller coaster ride with Maria at the end was totally worth it. Part of me feels like I should be more attached to home and especially to her, but I know that I shouldn’t because God wants me in Steubenville right now.
I am feeling really blessed because of all the people I’ve been able to get connected with during Orientation Weekend. I even had my first get together at my apartment today when Devon, Ricardo, Aaron, Amanda, Sarah, Andrea, and Mario came over to have pizza for dinner. That’s something I would have done back in Lansing and I feel completely at home doing it here.
After our little dinner get together, we all headed over to Campus for the ‘Sundae On Your Sunday’ ice cream social. We had a large table full of all the GNTs and I was talking to Aaron and Devon mostly. Kathleen showed up late because she had sixteen freshman girls over at her place for dinner and she had to clean up afterwards.
Kathleen and I already have a special ‘bond’ going on between us. Neither of us tried to force it, it just sort of happened. I first met her at the table where I picked up my orientation packet. All of the GNT workers there were friendly, but she was the only one who went out of her way to shake my hand and look me in the eyes and welcome me to the university. Because of that, she’s the only person who’s name has stuck with me from the beginning.
The next time that I saw her was later that day at dinner. She was sitting next to Mary and she came down to sit by me after I finished dripping sweat all over the place. I saw her again at Damon’s later that evening, although the only thing we talked about was Mass the next morning. I was asking if the GNTs would be sitting together in the same section. She didn’t know if we’d be in the same section, but she told me to look for the signs being held up. I asked if she’d have a sign and she said "No way, that’s the guys job. I’m too short for anyone to see the sign even if I’m holding it up".
I walked in about 10 minutes before Mass the next morning and there was Kathleen holding up the sign. That gave me a good laugh, so I went over to her and gave her a hard time about holding the sign after saying that she wouldn’t be. I offered to hold it for her and she didn’t hesitate to give it to me. That’s about the time that the special bond between us formed.
I saw her around at the different meals, but we weren’t usually sitting near each other or talking together. I had a chance to talk to her for a while at the house party last night, which again wasn’t planned. She came over to talk to Kristen and I. and she asked if she could do anything for me. I jokingly said "You could find me some more friends". She offered to take me around the house and introduce me to everyone. She was kidding, so I laughed and told her she didn’t have too, but that I would go with her if she was willing. Somehow we actually decided to do it, so off into the house we went to meet people. I didn’t end up meeting too many people, but I did end up out back talking to her.
That’s about the time that she called me Josh three times in a row. I knew she knew my name, so I decided to point that little mistake out to her A LOT. I gave her a hard time about it for the rest of the evening and again today when I saw her.
She sat down next to me this evening even though there was no room between myself and the next person. She quietly told me that there was something she wanted to invite me to, but it would have to wait because it wasn’t for everyone. Later in the evening when the rest of the table was talking, she told me that her and a few of her closest friends were having a Friday night dinner party and that I was invited. It sounds like only fifteen people were invited and everyone but myself was a returning grad student. I felt pretty special that I was one of the people who were invited. She also invited me to come out to her house anytime that I wanted. She lives ten minutes away in Toronto, and apparently no one ever wants to go out there because people think it’s such a far drive.
Around 11:00 the lights went out in the tent where the social was being held. Kathleen mentioned that she was going to head over to the Adoration Chapel so see if it was open and I hadn’t had a chance to go to Adoration since I left Lansing so I asked if I could go with her. It gave us a little more time to talk before going our separate ways once we went into the Chapel. She’s definitely a cool girl and I’m very thankful that God has used the start of our friendship to help me get connected with people here in Steubenville.
I’m really excited to see what else He has planned for me this semester.
I went to my first house party in Steubenville last night and I had a chance to meet and talk to people who have been living here for a few years already. I felt a whole lot better about the town before going to the party.
I had a few glasses of water over my first few days here and the water tastes horrible. I drank it because I was thirsty, but I’m never drinking or cooking with the tap water here again. Apparently the water pipes aren’t exactly in good shape and there are multiple poisonous chemicals in the tap water. The city of Steubenville periodically sends out mail to everyone in town to warn them of this and to tell them not to drink the water. Some of the side affects if the water is regularly consumed are: Cancer, permanent damage to your central nervous system, and kidney damage, and a pickled liver. Those are all things I can do without out.
I also found out about just how ‘safe’ Steubenville really is. I met two guys who both sleep with 9mm handguns under their pillow at night. Someone was gunned down a month ago in the middle of the street just four houses down from where one of the guys lived and there is a lot of other drug related violence where he lives. My friend Josh lived in a place with a crack house on either side and the two apartments below him had been broken into multiple times.
I left the party at 1:00AM to head home and there were a bunch of shady guys hanging around outside of my apartment. I made it in safe, but after hearing all the stories throughout the night I didn’t exactly feel comfortable.
Maria called me tonight.
"I’m still getting used to things."
"What sort of things are you talking about?"
"You being gone."
Maybe those words shouldn’t have shocked me, but they surprised me because I never expected to hear them from Maria. Over the last two days her and I have both thinking the same thing, "the other person has already forgotten about me."
Our conversation was short tonight, but it was good because we both realized that we haven’t forgotten each other. She called to tell me that she was rereading the letter I wrote to her and that she wanted to thank me for it because it really meant a lot to her. That alone showed me that she hadn’t forgotten about me, and the words she spoke, which I wrote above, reinforced that.
I was thanking her for calling and telling her that I was worried about not having a chance to call her last night because of how busy my schedule was. I sent her a text message the night I arrived in Steubenville and let her know I’d call on Thursday. When Thursday actually came around I found out how busy I was and I knew that she’d think that I forgot about her if I didn’t call. It wasn’t until 11:30PM that I was able to give her a call, and she admitted tonight that for a while she thought I might have forgotten about her. I assured her that it wasn’t the case and I let her know that she is the only person from Michigan that I’ve talked to since I’ve been down here. I also let her know that I’ve been thinking about her and praying for her ever since I saw her last. She was really glad to hear that and it was very reassuring for both of us to know that the other person hasn’t forgotten what our friendship means.
Not yet, anyway.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Day two was a whole lot better than day one; that’s for sure. I woke up for morning Mass and then said goodbye to David as he took off for school in Florida. He ran across three people that he knew from Totus Tuus after Mass, which left me feeling like a loser. I go to school here and he knew as many people as I did this morning.
That would change as soon as orientation started for me. I had to sign in on campus at 1:30PM and parking was almost impossible to find. All of the freshman and their families were working on moving them in and over 100 current students were working on helping people out so campus was full of people. Once I finally found parking way out in the boonies I started making my way towards where I was supposed to check in. I was surprised to find that there is a Graduate and Non Traditional Undergrad (GNT) group on campus and they were right there to give me information about themselves while I was receiving my orientation materials.
They have been doing a great job of reaching out to people and making it easy for us GNTs to get connected. They have an area set up at all of the meals and events so that we can get sit together. Dinner was the first event and I made it up there and sat down next to a girl I didn’t know. The heat index reached 104 degrees today and our seats just happened to be right by a window that the sun was shining through and I had just walked across campus before sitting down to eat and I had a dark shirt on. I was feeling okay until I sat down to eat, and then I started dripping sweat.
Not the best first impression, but a great lesson in humility.
One of the leaders of the group, Mary, broke the ice by commenting on how hot it was by the windows. She was trying to make me feel better, but I felt like it drew more attention to me. Either way, it did allow me to get involved in the conversation and I was able to meet the girl next to me. No one mentioned her name to me and I didn’t ask because I felt like I should know it since everyone else did. I talked to Mary, the nameless girl, and a girl named Kathleen while I ate and wiped the sweat off my forehead.
We finished dinner around 6:00, which left 90 minutes to kill before the ‘Grand Opening’ event that evening. Mary and Kathleen headed off to do some administrative tasks, which left me with the nameless girl. I could have gone home to unpack some more and then come back, but she mentioned she had nothing do to so I asked her if she wanted to walk around campus and talk since we didn’t know anyone else.
We only walked around for a few minutes before we walked into the newest dorm on campus, which actually had air conditioning. We sat down in the common room and talked for the next hour. I found out that her name was Kate, she was 21, graduated college in three years, and was at FUS for a Masters in Theology. It felt good to really talk to someone here in Steubenville and do more than exchange a quick ‘Hey, my name is Jonathan. Nice to meet you too’.
The ‘Grand Opening’ event wasn’t all that grand, except for Kate’s and my entrance. All the students that were working orientation lined up on either side of the entrance and were clapping and cheering and giving high fives to everyone who entered. I felt like a football player being introduced before the super bowl, the only difference was that I had about three times as many people to go through and give high fives too before I made it into the field house. I found my friend Andrea, who was working orientation, along the way and we grabbed each other’s hands to show we actually knew each other.
After the ‘Grand Opening’ the GNTs met for small groups. We broke up into groups of 8 to get to know each other better. There was a guy in my group who had also graduated from MSU a few years back, another guy who converted to the faith after overcoming alcoholism, and the rest of the people who were lead to FUS by other circumstances.
When our small groups finished at 10:00PM, those of us who still had energy headed down to Damon’s Grill to have a beer and share nachos. I sat at a table with a girl named Liz who spent the last few years of her life waiting tables in Chicago and decided to go back to school and get a degree. I met another guy named Chris who used to work in corrections and wanted to get into something else, so now he’s at FUS. I met Jeff who’s finishing up his Masters of Counseling degree this year, and another Chris who’s married and finishing up a graduate degree. It was an awesome night and I feel really good about how things are going right now. Meeting people is easier than I thought it was going to be, thanks to this GNT group.
I sent Maria a text message to see if she was still up when I was on my way home. I saw a guy I met walking home so I offered him a ride and dropped him off. Shortly after that, Maria called and we talked for a fifteen minutes to get caught up with what we’d each been up too since we talked last. Her neighbors just had their third miscarriage in just over a year, which is really awful. Nothing you can do for a person can make up for that. On the plus side, she did just get a new phone so I can actually talk to her when she’s in her apartment. Her old cell phone constantly broke up and hung up on me and it was really hard to have a conversation with her.
Brett came home right after I got off of the phone with Maria and he had his friend John with him. John doesn’t have a place to live right now so he’s staying at our place. We spent half an hour talking about the day and I found out that Brett was right behind Andrea in the ‘high five’ line and I totally missed him. Whoops! Brett also met a midget today and he was pretty excited about it. I’ll leave it at that because some things are better left unsaid.
It was really great to hear a familiar voice tonight even though I had such a good day. I’ve taken a step in the right direction, but my real friends are still home in Michigan for the time being. That said, I’m watching pictures from the last year of my life on my computer monitor while writing this and one thought comes to my head.
I’m glad I’m here.
The air stinks in Steubenville. Badly.
My brother has been to Paris and to Los Angeles, so he knows stinky air when he comes across it. Steubenville smells worse than both of those cities according to him, and I can already feel the lung cancer forming after moving everything into my room.
All of the electrical outlets in our apartment are old school and only support two prongs; there are no grounding prongs in any of the plugs. This would be okay except for the fact that Brett and I don’t have anything to plug in that DOESN’T have the normal two prongs AND the grounding prong. That might be a problem.
I’ve spent the day sweating in the sun at Cedar Point and it’s hot and humid here tonight. I’m dripping sweat and I smell awful. I have no soap and I have no towels. Then there was the FREAKING HUGE centipede in my shower that I chased down and killed. When I got into the shower I found out that there is a large window on the wall that the shower is on. That’s cool, except it’s the ONLY window in the whole place that doesn’t have a BLIND. If I was a girl I’d be flashing the entire world while just trying to get clean.
Oh, and I have no toilet paper. If only I hadn’t given the extra roll that I found in my car to Maria last Thursday….
My cell phone is about to die and I have no idea where my charger is. That’s at least normal.
Other than that I’m really excited to be here in Steubenville. I’ve only been in town for three hours and I’ve already met half a dozen people who were all really friendly.
Life is good.
It’s my first night away from Lansing, and so far life is good. David, and I left our parents house after dinner tonight and drove down to Ohio. The only memorable part of the drive was when we got into a small town and we couldn’t go straight because their entire main street was flooded. We had to make a left hand turn and street after street was flooded in the same area. It had been raining, but not that hard. It must have been a water main that broke because it was just a strip about 100 yards wide that was flooded.
I actually have no idea where in Ohio I’m staying tonight since I just followed David, but we are staying with his friend Paul and that’s good enough for me. Paul just graduated from Ave Maria last year and he’s living at home with his family. He has two sisters who are really cool. Rene is the older of the two girls at 17, and Mary is the younger at 12. We didn’t get in until shortly before midnight, but Paul’s mom heated up left over Lasagna, made a salad, toasted some bread, and scooped ice cream for us for dessert. I think the most memorable part of dinner was when David, Paul, and I were joking around and I said ‘Ewww….she smells like girl’. Yeah, you had to be there.
Paul and David are avid NASCAR fans and I used to be a fan when I had time to sit down and watch the races. Paul had just bought a NASCAR board game, so David, Paul, Rene, Mary, and I all sat down for a competitive race. I was doing awesome for the first 3 out of 5 laps and then everything fell apart. I went from being in the lead to barely coming home with third place. It was a lot of fun playing with everyone though, so my defeat wasn’t too disheartening.
We finished around 2AM and since we have to be up early we decided to call it a night. Rene and Mary were super generous and they offered to sleep on the floor so that David and I could each have a bed. I didn’t want to accept it, but I knew it’d be rude to argue. The last thing I’m doing before going to sleep tonight is curling up with the Cinderella pillow on Mary’s…well…my bed.
Tonight I’m sleeping with a princess.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I am writing to inform you that my last day at Auto-Owners will be Tuesday August 7th, 2007. I have made the decision to go back to school full time to pursue a Masters degree.
I am thankful for having the opportunity to work in Marketing Systems over the last three years and I am committed to doing the best I can to teach and hand over my systems during the next two weeks.
I wanted to thank you again for taking a walk with me on Sunday night and for sharing about your discernment and everything else that you've gone through. I really enjoyed getting a chance to know you a bit better, and would have gladly shared more about myself, but it was late and I didn't think you'd want to be up all night.
And again I wanted to mention that I was impressed with how you acted towards Tara whether she was around or not. After Jon and I were done playing Frisbee on Sunday night I walked over to the bathroom to clean up since I was all sweaty. I ran into Tara and she came over to thank me and give me a big hug despite my smelliness. She had a really good time out on the raft, and part of that thanks goes to you.
I don't really want to admit it because its was selfish of me, but if you hadn't volunteered to go on her raft I'm not sure I would have. I was torn between getting on her raft so she would have a good time, or getting on the other raft because I thought you'd be on that one and I wanted a chance to get to know you a bit more. Really, the thanks that she gave to me on Sunday night should go to you.
Late in our conversation on Sunday I asked you what you were thinking about. You asked the same question back to me, but I didn't really answer it. There was one thing that was on my mind at the time that I didn't share. I was sitting there trying to soak in the moment - the glow of the moon in the sky, the canopy of trees above us, the peace and silence of the campground, but more than anything else: the fact that I was sitting next to you and I was given a chance to talk with you on a deeper level than 'small talk'. Part of me felt a great joy because I felt like I met a really special woman who I didn't even know existed three days before. Part of me felt sad because I knew the night was coming to a close and that I may never see you or talk to you again. I knew that no matter what happens, I can always look back on that night with fondness and say to myself "At least for those three hours, life was really good and I was exactly where I wanted to be".
Since then I've been doing some thinking and praying and I felt I should write you this letter to let you know that if it were up to me, Sunday night wouldn't be the last time I talked to you or saw you. I would enjoy the chance to get to know you better and to stay in touch.
I almost asked for your phone number before I left on Monday, but I decided to pray about it first. Now that I've done that: would you be willing to give me your number so that I could call you? Either way, you will probably be seeing me again. I was talking with Erin while packing up on Monday and she invited me to come play soccer with you guys sometime and I'm going to take her up on that once I find out where you play. Unfortunately you're going to find out that I'm not any better at playing soccer than I was at getting back into the raft.
What time did you get into Lansing? We made decent time and made it in town around 6:00. You could have almost made it to soccer in time if you arrived in town when we did. Hopefully you weren't too far behind us.
Have a wonderful week back at work and enjoy the pictures I'm sending with this letter. Hopefully I'll see you on the soccer field soon.
Your brother in Christ,