Mar 23, 2015

'Just as I am'

The other day, I was furiously hunting for caption  for my presentation on the college Women’s Cell when I overheard a bunch of my male colleagues talking about being an ‘ideal man’ for girls.  One colleague said, “You just have to accept them just the way they are. Just let them be however they want to be. After all, every woman wants a man who accepts them just as they are!!”

I was up to my neck with work for the upcoming program but curiosity got the best of me. And without me realizing it, that old thinking cap flew out of nowhere and snugly fits itself into my well groomed-formal- Monday-hair. Statistics and the inspirational speeches on International Women’s Day flew out of the window as four words kept plaguing my mind. JUST AS I AM.

If you ask any girl about her ideal man, there is one line which you must always brace yourself to hear. “Someone who accepts me just as I am”

I don’t beg to differ and I’m no rebel without a cause. But need I wash my dirty linen in public and stress on the fact that I failed (humiliatingly so!) on a relationship (of five years) with a person who accepts me ‘just as I am’?

I was once the starry-eyed girl who dreamt of finding a man who accepts me ‘just as I am’. But after the relationship headed for a doom, I buried that girl on wounded knees. Burying her was the best decision I have made in my life.

Looking back, I never fully blamed the failure of our relationship on him because the ‘just as I am’ me wasn't someone you would want to spend the rest of your life with. The ‘just as I am’ me was an 'unnegotiably' proud individual inflicted with the disease of self-righteousness. Even I would never settle for the ‘just as I am’ me. ‘Just as I am’ refuses to compromise, refuses to budge or walk in the other person’s shoes. ‘Just as I am’ refuses to grow up or change for the better because she believes that she is already the best just as she is. Pride never allows progress with ‘just as I am’. 'Just as I am' is an island. She's not fit for a relationship. 

It takes a fatal heartbreak and hitting rockbottom to make me realize that I never want to spent the rest of my life with someone who accepts me ‘just as I am’. Because ‘just as I am’ me has never been matured enough, responsible enough and selfless enough to be a half of a whole.

I told myself, if I ever fall in love again, I would fall for someone who inspires the ‘best I can be’; someone who will work with me to grow into a better, responsible and a more matured person.

I don’t remember falling ‘head over heels’ in love with my husband. In fact, I don’t remember ‘falling’ ever. I do remember growing in love with him. In fact, we still are, every day. Each new day rises with a tiny new reason for me to love him.

My husband deserves my best. He doesn't deserve a stagnant person who’s hell bent on being accepted ‘just as she is’.  My husband deserves a selfless wife whose attitude and world is not limited to her ‘queendom’.

I am not perfect ‘just as i am’. I know I’ll never be; yet I can still work on changing myself for the better. ‘Best I can be’ accepts that change because she is selfless and matured and is strong enough to bend with the wind. I’d be ‘best i can be’ anyday.

‘Best I can be’ is selfless while ‘Just as I am’ is self centric.
‘Best I can be’ makes a better half while ‘Just as I am’ makes a bitter half.

So I turned to my colleagues and bluntly told them so. In my opinion, an ideal man is someone who inspires the ‘best I can be’ in any girl rather than someone who accepts the ‘just as I am’ girl.

They all look at me.
Flabbergasted .

A second of eerie silence.

Then all of them started speaking at the same time.
“But it doesn’t always work that way”
“You really think so???”
“But you have always been the weird one with the weird outlook!!”
“Dang! I should’ve married you instead!”

I went back to my laptop. Smug. Nose in the air.

I took the last comment as a compliment.

Who would you be or who would you choose? 

Jan 12, 2015

Six Months: A Love Story

It all started on an icy Delhi morning in January a couple of years ago. I was up all night praying on the hostel rooftop, my blanket firmly wrapped around me. My life, at that instant, was in a deep turmoil. It had been a year after I went through a deep heartbreak and mourning the death of a relationship that I invested my heart and soul upon. After a year, the mourning still couldn't stop and I still didn't have the strength to pick up my pieces and get on my feet. I had given up entirely on relationships and it was that morning that I announced my plans to my God. My prayers were personal and quiet; a deep cry from the depths of a broken soul to her Maker. It was at that moment when God spoke to me through Genesis 24; a Promise that God gave me when my skies were dark and gray. I buried the Promise in my heart while I was staunch on living my whole life as a single woman. 

June, Last year. Seventeen months after God gave me the Promise. I was waiting for my turn at a job interview at a small town, 5 hours away from home. My life had changed rapidly during the past year. I packed up my bags and left the city I called home for seven years. I moved back with my family and spend a year seeking the Lord on what was supposed to be my next step. I believed God called me for this job – a teaching job in a college run by the church. My heart has always been for the unreached and I’ve set my heart to go on a full time mission. But for what reason did God call me for this job, I didn’t know; I’ve always loved teaching, yet why this town and this college I didn’t know. The pay isn’t great, I didn’t have family in this town and my dad was against me moving away from home, yet again. In fact, the previous evening, I reached Lunglei with a backpack, a phone number of the parents of an old college friend and a hope soaring in my heart that God will lead my way. I sat quietly looking around at the other candidates, some confident and some looking pale and nervous. I prayed quietly, reassuring myself that nothing will stand in my way if God leads it. There I was, stepping out in blind faith.

I met the man who would be my husband that evening.

An old friend, knowing I was in town, paid me a visit and he brought his friend along. Not because he wanted to introduce us, but because he didn’t have a ride! If you expect sparks to fly or a very clich├ęd “Love at first sight”, you’d be deeply disappointed. The only thing I remembered about him was that he was tall and he wore spects. We however exchanged phone numbers out of cordiality and never used it or even tried. I left for home the next day after I got rejected for the job. My dad was happy while my pride was hurt. I’ve never taken rejection lightly and quietly prepared myself for the next move, still not understanding why I would get rejected when I was so sure that it was God himself who led me to that place.

The tall person I met in Lunglei was the very last thing on my mind.

Two weeks later, on a rainy Sunday morning, I received a phone call from a person who politely told me that the Committee had decided to open a new post for the very same job I applied for and that they wanted me to fill the post. God made a way when there seems to be no way. 

The very next day, I received yet another phone call from the tall person nervously telling me that God told him during his quiet time the previous night that I am going to be his wife....


I flew into rage.

In my anger, told my cousin that I’d reject the job and that I’d never move to Lunglei. I remember my exact words, “The guts he has. We met once and he had the nerves to say such things to me. If what he said is really true, then God will speak to me too. I will never never never be another case of ‘gospel-blackmail’ ”. In fact, mentally I cancelled all my plans. Committing myself to another relationship is the very last thing on my mind. I’ve already accepted the fact that I will be single and spend my days somewhere in a mission field.

However during my quiet time two days later, God renewed the Promise that I buried in my heart a year ago. Genesis 24 came alive. It was our very own story. At that moment, I knew I was Rebekah – an answer to a servant’s prayer. 

However, God gave me a choice.

Then they said,” Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” Genesis 24:57

I stepped out in faith.

This time, it was my turn to make a phone call.

I moved to Lunglei, joined work and he took me to meet his family. By late October, we were planning a wedding. Both our families couldn’t be more contented. We met in June, we married in December. And we both knew without God we would never make a whole. In fact, I believe, this is and will forever be our biggest strength. Friends often ask me if I've ever doubted him. After all, I knew him for only six months. God created my husband, He made him and He knew him before the beginning of time. Just like He knew me. And God, in all His wisdom, presented a man before me and spoke to both of us. Who am I to say otherwise??? 

Now, we are making a home in a little white house on a hill; facing challenges together everyday. We are both imperfect humans. He has had his past and I have mine. And it’s hardly anything to be proud of. But we both believe we can overcome our past demons with God on our side.

Like I’ve said, I arrived in Lunglei six months ago believing I heard God’s voice. My bank account was on minimum balance and I had no one to call my own. Today, I have a husband, a home, a family, a job and I’ve made this town my home.

Two weeks before our wedding, my cousin called me up and asked what he’s like. I described him as best as I could.

 She squealed with delight “U Sen, he literally ticked off your list.”
“List? What list?”
“The list you made back in college on the qualities you wanted for a partner. I remember you used to pray about it”

I froze.

He.Did. Tick.Out.the.List.

Allow God to write your story. Most importantly, you love story. 

Believe me, He’s a better Author than you ever will be.