Friday, February 16, 2007

252. a confession

I believe it was, I know it was Sting. He said in an interview right before (or maybe it was after) his CD, The Soul Cages, that sometimes when you can't write, it's because there's something you want to say but don't want to or you're afraid to...something like that.

Well all this week, I've been trying to write a blog entry but it's like drawing blood from a stone, like pulling teeth, like trying to get George W to listen to military advice (sorry, I couldn't help myself...more on this in another blog perhaps). I've started a couple and some of them have the potential to be really entertaining (and embarrassing for me, but often, I can't do one without the other), but they all felt forced and wrong and just plain bad.

I'm stalling, of course, because I still don't want to write what I suppose I have to write.

And so,

I'll just come right to it.

These past few weeks, I've been writing about someone I've come to refer to as Quest Girl (see blog 240, 246, 247, and 249). Basically, she's a girl i've been eyeing at my church - a girl I've been unable to ask out for what I believe are a myriad of reasons, but I'm sure most people just think I'm just too shy and/or scared to...and maybe they're right. Regardless, here I am, two months since I first noticed her and nothing to show for it.

That's all old news, and I'm about to get to the bit that I need to confess, but there's some back-story that needs to be covered in order to get the whole picture...but let me get to it and then I'll go back and let you in on all the history.

So a few weeks ago, I was at work (I work at a records storage warehouse, pulling boxes and files) and my supervisor had me working on a special project. See, we house millions of files and, of course, sometimes files get misplaced (don't call them lost, they hate that) and one of the only ways to find them is to go to each box that had files placed in them on the days around the time when the files got los...misplaced.

Here's what I mean (and no, I'm not stalling again, this is the thing I'm going to'll see). My special project was to find two files. I was given two things to accomplish this: 1, they gave me the numbers that referenced the target files and 2, they gave me a list that was probably seven or eight pages long. This was a list of each box that had any kind of file re-filed into it. The idea is, the misplaced files were miss-placed into the wrong box and so the wrong box must be one of the hundreds of boxes that were touched a few days before and a few days after the file was supposed to have been put away.

Unfortunately, that means going to each and every one of those hundreds of boxes and flipping through the dozens of files inside those boxes to see if the missing files were misplaced there.

Not. Fun.

Now a project like this isn't exactly brain surgery and so it's easy to let your mind wander. At the time, I found my mind wandering to thoughts of Quest Girl and about whether or not I would man up and ask her out. As I went from box to box, I wavered back and forth between deciding to just go for it and deciding to remain comfortably single. After looking through a hundred or so boxes, it became clear that my chances of finding these files were going from slim to shady.

See, the farther you get from the box where the files were supposed to be, the less likely you are to find the files because the most common way that a file gets misplaced is when you accidentally grab two files instead of just the one that belongs in the box. In that case, the missing files will be in the box before or the box after the target box. Another mistake that can cause this is for the files to be sorted wrong before they are put away. In this case, you'll usually find the file in the aisle or at least the floor where they were supposed to be.

I had already looked into all the boxes on the aisle as well as the floor where they should have been. I was five nines sure (99.999 percent...see the five nines?) that I was never going to find these files because not only was I on an entirely different floor from where the files should have been, I also learned from another co-worker that I was the SECOND person to search through these boxes for these files. Oh, and I forgot to mention that these files have been missing for six or seven months.

Anyway, I'm flipping through yet another box when I casually (carelessly?) pray to God. At first, I just asked that God would help me find the files so that I could stop looking for them (I still had one more entire floor to search through after the one I was already on) but then I decided to have some fun. And so I prayed this prayer: "Lord, if you help me find these files, I'll ask Quest Girl out the next time I see her."

It wasn't the next box, or the box after that, or even the one after that. I don't know how many more boxes I looked through, but I do know that I didn't even make it to the end of the aisle I was in before I found those damn files (both of them were in the same box, but that was to be expected - we knew if we found them that they would be together).

I was elated, ecstatic, euphoric because not only did I find these files that no one believed would be found, I had a mandate to ask Quest Girl out - no more waffling, just do it because that was the deal. I was pumped because I felt like I had God's stamp of approval for asking her out and how confident do you think that made me?

Well, not confident enough, because I believe I found those files on a Wednesday afternoon and by the time that Sunday rolled around, I was pleading with God for Quest Girl to not be there because once again, I didn't want to go through with it. But she was there.

And I didn't ask her out.

And I felt awful.

And I asked God to forgive me for being such a wuss.

And then another Sunday came and went without me asking her out.

And then another.

And each time I asked for forgiveness.


But I haven't been able to forget about it. I've been trying to rationalize my way out of the deal, but it's like an itch that won't go away and now it's gotten to the point where I can't write a blog worth reading even when I've got material aplenty. I've got lost of stuff I want to write about but this week, each time I tried, I knew it wasn't worth posting. Believe me, if I had posted anything I started this week, you would have been crying tears of boredom before finishing the first paragraph.

And I don't know if this blog has been worth reading, but it's the best thing by far that I've written this week. It's certainly the most effortless blog of the week. And I suppose that confessing this was what I needed to write.

But there's more to it than this prayer and those files and that girl.

But I've written too much already. I'll try to get to the other stuff tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your comments. I know I have readers across the Christian spectrum from Pentecostals to more conservative types and everywhere in between and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


mitchell said...

You seem pretty dang confident that it was your prayer that enabled you to find the files. That's quite a fair amount of pride, don't you think? YOU said something to God that CAUSED him to reveal the files to you. How the heck do you know it wasn't either God's immeasurable grace (completely independent of any "deal" you offer) or just dumb luck?

And then to think you're obligated to asking a girl out because you offered it in a deal with God...that's a bit strange, don't you think? Aren't you assuming that asking the girl out is what God wants you to do? How do you know it's not exactly what he does NOT want you to do? You cannot (well, you CAN, but I don't think it's sound) link two completely separate, different things like that unless you are SURE you found those files BECAUSE of your prayer. And as I said: It takes a lot of pride to be convinced that God did something just because you asked for it.

mitchell said...

That sounded really derisive and that's not how I meant it. Sorry.

The LoneTomato said...

Don't sweat it, M.

I find your candor welcome and refreshing.

In fact, I was hoping you'd say something.

So thanks,