(or, in other words, why some people have expressed in plain terms that I am way too picky when it comes to men.)
I don't trust my own judgment.
Really I don't. I make pretty good choices, I stay out of trouble (for the most part), but I don't trust my own judgment, especially when it comes to men.
Men, well honestly I don't know how much I get them as a species. I get individual men, adore individual men, the way I adore women. I just tend to adore all women, with few exceptions, and men... not so much. I have to have a pretty good feel for a man before I will adore him.
Like my friend Miguel (name used by permission... well actually he was like "Why didn't you use my full name?!). I love Miguel. I adore Miguel. He is the sweetest guy. There is absolutely no guile in him. His heart is open, he gives until he bleeds, he works really hard at being a good person. He's cute too, even... okay especially... when he forgets to shave, it sets off that sparkling smile, the laughter in his eyes. I love to watch him laugh. Miguel has a light in him that warms everyone he touches, and he gives the best hugs. I wish I could just put him in my backpack and carry him around with me all day.
So if I like him so much, why don't we date? Well first off because he's like my little bro and that would just be weird. Really though, it's because he's not My Best. He's one of my best friends, but he's not My Best.
What is "My Best"? How do I know who is "My Best" if I don't trust my own judgment?
Well those are excellent questions, my dear reader.
I believe that in life there are many courses we can take. For instance, if we have to teach a lesson next month in church. We can start the lesson a month prior and work on it day by day. We can read through the lesson a month before and then just throw the thoughts on the back burner until the night before. We could start preparing the week before. We could not crack the book until the night before. We could even get up early the day of, open the book, and then just let the lesson happen as it may.
All of these are good choices. After all, at the end we have read the material and given the lesson, right? We learned, our students learned, and most importantly we felt the Spirit.
Some of those choices are better choices. These choices prepare us better, inform us better, sink into our soul better. They change us through the lesson before it is given, so that our testimony of the power of the principle can touch our students.
Somewhere, in the infinite list of choices we can make about how to prepare a lesson is the Best choice for us to make. This is the choice we should be making all the time. This is the choice that does the MOST good. This is the choice that tips the balance between the lesson teaching us and the lesson changing the rest of our lives.
Which choice we end up making is determined by our own style of teaching, commitment, and need for preparation. Not everyone has the same Best choice. One of my best friends and I debated this topic a bit this week, and while we both had excellent points we didn't really bother with a consensus. Why didn't we hammer it out to the end? Well because we are different people, and we quickly saw that we have different Bests and it wasn't worth pursuing some mythical mutually-agreeable answer.
So My Best, when it comes to men, will be the man who doesn't just help me be better, who doesn't just influence me for good, he'll be the man who changes my Eternity.
That's kind of a hard thing to judge, right? I mean I could go with any number of measures for this. I could go with twitterpation, stability, creativity, spontaneity, physical prowess, career choice, number of Temple visits in a month, dating track record, sense of humor, or any combination of those things.
Of course, for most women it's a list, right? "He must have this, this, this and this or there is no way I will ever date him." You know what? I really don't blame them. It must be nice knowing exactly what you want. They know what to look for.
Me, I don't trust lists like that. "Long walks on the beach," could be fun or torture depending on who you are with. "Strong testimony," can often equal "enormous big-head who thinks he knows everything about the gospel." "Elder's Quorum President," can just as quickly mean "popular with the guys and needs a lesson in love and service" as it can "put together, spiritual, and only single because he's been waiting for you."
No, I don't have a list.
Well, okay, I have a short list. Want to hear what's on it? Oh good, I'm so glad, because I was going to type it out anyway.
Thora's list of MUSTS in a man:
Honors his Priesthood
Loves his family
Honors his mother
Has "The nod from God"
There's a lot implied in that little list. The real deal clincher is the last one, and it has stopped me from going on several first dates. I know, what on earth am I thinking? Why am I talking to God about a guy before the first date? Isn't that a little... early?
Well not really, not in my mind. Like I said, I don't trust my own judgment.
What I do trust is my ability to listen to The Spirit. I uprooted myself from one of the best support networks I had ever known, sold pretty much everything I owned, crossed the country three times in one summer, and completely re-wrote my life story based on answers to prayer, and that's just a tiny portion of the recent list. A long time ago, long before I got divorced, long before the separation, long before I moved hours away from my family, I figured out that God was the only thing in the world I could trust.
That trust has been put to the test, time and time again. I follow each "Yes" and "No" as faithfully as I can. It's the "you decide" answer that I hate. Just give it to me straight, I don't have the energy for this.
Of course, I kind of have to laugh, because the more I get those "you decide" answers the more I look back and see why it wasn't a "Yes" or a "No. Like today. I prayed earlier this week about what I should do with my time today. I asked about stopping by each of the singles wards and felt no urge to go to any of them, which was a little confusing because previously I've gotten pretty clear answers. Well, what I didn't ask was, am I going to be laying sick in bed most of the day? I'd have gotten a "Yes" on that for sure.
I didn't ask that though. I didn't think to ask. There are a lot of things I don't think to ask. I don't think to ask them because I have such limited vision. I don't see. I can't see. I'm pretty smart, but not smart enough to know which set of joys and trials is going to make the Best out of me.
That's why I pray all the time. That's why I stay faithful to those answers even when they don't make sense, because I know that God is infinitely more wise that I am and I'm tired of screwing up.
So if you are a good guy that has hit on me and didn't get anywhere, please don't take it personally. I'm not judging you. I'm not really even trying to judge you. I didn't look at you and think, "Oh no, he doesn't go to the temple enough" or "his abs aren't up to snuff."
No, chances are I thought about it and didn't feel a "Yes." I'm not into wasting men's time, money, and emotional investment. I'm not into making the women out there that are their Bests wait a minute longer just so I can get the same answer next week, next month, next year, that I could have gotten right away.
I'm not here looking for a Good man. There are thousands of Good men out there, and my marrying them would just end up hurting people.
I'm not here looking for a Better man. There are hundreds of Better men out there, and my marrying any of them would just end up hurting people.
I'm here looking for My Best, or I just won't get married at all. I can handle that.