Letter #600: The Bachelor

Dear The Bachelor,

First of all, how are you still a show?! Secondly, how do you also have two successful spin off shows in The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad?! (*1)

You’ve had 17 seasons. 17 men have attempted to find “love’ through your show. Oh, and they all just happen to be very good-looking and end up famous on some level during and after their stint. You can’t tell me that on some level these “contestants’ aren’t also looking for fame”…I digress. In 17 seasons, 16 of the fairytale ending season finale selections have ended in broken relationships. (*2) The 17th only became public last night, so the jury’s still out. Sean and Catherine, “may the odds ever be in your favor.’

Just for the fun of it, I looked up the stats on your counterpart, The Bachelorette. 8 seasons, 2 couples still “happily’ married. Trista and Ryan (I will never forget watching their fairytale wedding as a junior in high school!) and Ashley and J.P. The Bachelorette has a 25% success rate while you sit at maximum of a 5.6% and potentially even a giant goose egg. Do women have better discernment? Can men think clearly with 25 women throwing themselves at him? These are answers we will never truly know!

Honestly, neither percentage is too notable. Yet every season millions of viewers spend countless hours getting sucked into the fantasy world you create. Whether people watch because they have nothing else to do, to escape their own reality, to make fun of others or because they believe in love and are helpless romantics doesn’t matter. Bottom line, you are a great window into our culture. We are obsessed with love no matter the lengths people are willing to go to find it.

So what’s this mean for us. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t watch this season and I can often be quite the hater. I’ve seen you before and pretty much know every detail of you simply by opening my Twitter feed. I’m not saying love can’t be found on you. I guess anything is possible. My concern is a culture creating and believing fake realities of what love looks like. Lavish date outings, endless adventure, knowing somebody is “the one’ after knowing them for a total of 12 hours”…hmmm, fine two weeks.

You display false expectations. I watch single girls sit around eating “Will you accept this rose?’ cookie cake so emotionally invested they’re at the edge of the couch tweeting irrational things all over the outcome of three people they don’t even know. I watch married women coerce significant others into watching as well as becoming dissatisfied with themselves and their spouse because of what’s displayed. I watch teens long to believe you are what a real relationship looks like and that it is acceptable for a man to tell two to five women he’s falling in love with them at the same time. My fear is in a quest to publicly find love on national TV, you are subliminally distorting love in real life.

Nearly everyone wants to find the “perfect’ person to spend the rest of their lives with. People put their hearts on the line daily around the globe looking for love. It’s at our very core”…we want to be loved. We are built to love. I hope Sean and Catherine work out. I hope Trista, Ryan, Ashley and J.P. grow old together. I hope things work out for Desiree on The Bachelorette. I pray I get to experience true love in my life at some point.

Until then, don’t believe the ZERO PERCENT success rate on television is reality. Have realistic expectations for your own life. If you are people’s guilty pleasures and girls’ nights, I’m great with that, but friends, take the blinders off and set your “love life’ up for realistic success.

No, I don’t accept your rose of false reality,

True love advocate

 

(*1) And we wonder how and why America’s getting dumber compared to the rest of the world?!

(*2) In season 13, the bachelor ended up marrying his runner-up choice”…take five seconds to think through how those conversations that played out. “Uhhh”…I made a mistake. I know I chose her on national TV and borderline humiliated you, but”…”

Letter #592: Haters Gonna Hate

Dear haters,

It’s sure easy for you to show up today. Valentine’s Day: the most commercialized holiday ever. Some really love it. Others dread February 14th more than a dieter dreads ice cream.

Chocolate. Flowers. Romantic movies. A giant influx of on-line dating advertisements (anybody notice that but me?!). Valentine’s Day is hilarious. A whole day to celebrate love. A whole day to remind every single person what they don’t have.

That’s where you come in. National Singles Awareness Day. People, I’m as single as they come, but don’t be cynical. Enjoy and celebrate today. Just because you don’t have someone writing you poems, sending you Pitch Perfect style telegrams and kissing you goodnight doesn’t mean today can’t be great.

Embrace it. Celebrate the love you do have in your life. Family. Friends. Co-workers. Insert the people who love you here. Allow the people around you who are excited to celebrate with their loved one enjoy it. Don’t be the obnoxious cynic. Just be and appreciate the love you get to witness and observe from afar. Be thankful for the stories and people who have been knitted together.

Don’t sulk about what you don’t have. Be confident in what you do and more importantly in who you are. Focus on striving to be the woman or man you’ve been called to be. Don’t dwell on what you see as an absence; embrace the moment and be fully present in the now.

They say “haters gonna hate,’ but let’s be better than that today. Let’s love well and allow others to express their love as commercially as they see fit. After all, love truly never fails.

And when putting you aside becomes too much and you’ve had more love than you can handle, take a couple seconds to think about all the money you’re saving today!

Haters gonna hate but instead choose to embrace and love,

Could Be Hater, Chosen Lover

Letter #182: My Love Language

Dear love languages,

I’ve never taken your test, however, in the past month, I’ve realized something. I’m about 98% sure the way I give love is through one of your methods. It’s words of affirmation. Sure, I give other ways as well such as acts of service and quality time, but I’ve noticed words exceed all else.

There are five of you: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts and physical touch. If any readers really know me, then you know I’m far from being physical touch. Don’t get me wrong, I need my love pats, but I also have a bubble I prefer not to share! Therefore, I don’t typically “touch’ to show my love nor do I want to receive love this way. This might change when there’s a special guy in my life, but I’ll still want my space. Next: receiving gifts”…who doesn’t love being surprised every once in awhile?! First of all, this tangibly can’t be the way I show love”…I’m too broke! Secondly, I think this one’s bigger than what the gift is. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how much is spent but really the thought behind it. So, if this is somebody’s you, maybe they’re more thoughtful than anything else. Still, this isn’t my strongest suit.

Then: acts of service. This one’s really fun to be part of”…especially when it’s anonymous! Truly listening to people often results in hearing their needs, and meeting a need is priceless. I should do this more, but I don’t, so this one can’t be mine either. Quality time is next. This is definitely a close second of how I give my love. I thrive on time with people. I’d rather have a 60 minute meal and solid conversation than a five minute surface chat any day of the week. I love asking deep questions and really getting to know a person. This is pretty ridiculous, but I tell people all the time I’d rather get ice cream and chat than jump out of a plane with a friend. Great, now I sound boring. I promise I’m not, at least I don’t think I am, but my point is I’m easily entertained by people and conversation.

However, truth of the matter is, time’s a commodity. Therefore, we must wisely choose how we spend it. Often times, I have to find ways to show love besides quality time. This is where words of affirmation come in. I’m a note writer, a find something good in someone and encourage them person. I’m also a realist. This means this affirmation business in my world probably looks a little different than your plan. I believe there’s value in encouraging people in their strengths while challenging their weaknesses, and I long for this in my own life. I want to know how I can be better, and I can’t always see my own faults. So, words of affirmation are my favorite way to show love, but this looks more like me coming alongside a friend, a staff girl, an interviewee, a family member, whoever, loving them well, earning the right to humbly challenge while sandwiching it with sound and truthful encouragement. I need to be better at this. I long for people to leave spending time with me built up while having direction and ways to grow.

So, I’ve self-diagnosed myself with a you of words of affirmation. Truthfully, we all need to be able to give love in every way to meet the needs of those around us. While I’m working on making my personal bubble of physical touch a bit smaller 🙂 , maybe you need to be more encouraging or actually receive a gift or act of service from someone else. We can all be better and more loving.

May love reign down,

Self-diagnosed affirmer

{photo attribution}

Letter #137: Choosing Love

Dear love,

Out of 365 days in the year, today, you are supposed to be celebrated the most. This year, I want to really love people well regardless of the day. So instead of making fun of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to choose you.

Today, I ponder the most commonly used wedding Scripture. No, I’m not getting married, but I am living in a world and a sinful state that I don’t want to love people. Today, I attempt to make you be this type of love in my life. These attributes will not just come to me. I must choose them; pray for them. Patience. Humble. Selfless. Enduring. I know I will fail greatly in this pursuit, but it doesn’t mean I will not try. I want to choose this kind of love:

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;” 1 Cor. 13:4-8

Happy Valentine’s Day family and friends! May we all love better not just today but everyday.

Chooser of you

Letter #116: Perfect Job?

Dear livelihood,

I get asked often what exactly my job entails, which really means how do I gain you. We all have to gain you somehow. We live in a day and age where everyone wants to have this perfect job where every detail is our favorite thing in life. We all want to have dream jobs. This isn’t necessarily realistic. Reality: 1) no job is perfect. 2) bill collectors don’t stop calling while they wait for us to find perfection.

At the end of the day, we have to pay the bills. We have to achieve you. Before my job with Kanakuk Kamps fell into place, I was fully prepared to make ends meet any way necessary. OK, this just sounds shady. Let me rephrase: I was prepared to eliminate my pride and take jobs my degree overqualified me for to be a responsible adult. This is a difficult concept for some because we think we should achieve our parents” status at 23. We have to start our careers somewhere friends, and I can guarantee one thing. It’s not going to be at the top.

So, here I am, making ends meet in my first “real world’ job. My title: K-West Intern. Bottom of the totem pole. If you’ve read this blog for long at all, you know I really do love my job. If not, I love my job. Somehow, I was lucky enough blessed to land something I seriously enjoy. Even still, there are parts that aren’t perfect. Nothing is. Truth is, I do the things well, or at least try to, that I don’t love about my job in order to get to do the things I love. We can’t always choose to do what we love, but we can always choose to love what we do.

It’s not about having the perfect job or making a comfortable salary. It’s about making the best out of what’s in front of you. I may have a job I currently love, but I’ve mowed yards and ran a gym’s daycare, so I’ve been at the other end of the spectrum. We all want to make a difference, have purpose in this world. We don’t have to have the perfect job to do this. I’m convinced I can impact our world in any occupation.

It’s about the people we get to interact with daily. The people our job directly affects. Gaining you is valuable, but the people involved in the pursuit of you are invaluable. While I love my job, most of it at least, I do it because I get to invest in, learn from, laugh with and be shaped by thousands of kampers, college staff, co-workers and kamp families every single day. These pictures are with a couple K-West kampers. They epitomize why I do what I do, but the truth is I could impact people and gain you doing a ton of other things besides working for kamp. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy gaining you by being at the bottom of the totem pole!

Learning to gain you one day at a time,

Base of the totem pole

(My friend, Jane, made the frame in the top photo. She is unbelievably creative…see here. This sign got me thinking about all this.)