Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a Valentines Day adventure

Short version:
Yesterday was Valentines Day. I took a trip out to a little surfer beach town and spent the day wandering around by myself. I ended up spending some time with a random guy who was hoping to make me his valentine. I wasnt interested, and was grateful that God gave me the grace and wisdom not to be foolish. In the end, I found myself breathing a prayer of gratitude, thanking God that He really is enough for me. Of course a valentine would have been nice, but I don't need to make anything happen. I have all I need in Jesus, and in His timing, a valentine will come.

Long version:
Yesterday was Valentines Day. The holiday is really annoying when I live in the States, there is all this pressure to have a date, to do something with someone, or if all else fails, to have an anti Valentines Day party. In Korea, it was so outrageous that I was able to almost just laugh off the holiday (they extend the madness into three holidays stretching over 2 months!)

It's actually not that bad here in Chile. Granted, since most people live with their parents, a lot of yougn couples go to the public parks to make out and do what they can't quite do at home. This is uncomfortable, but that's year long. When it comes to V-day, there are a few more stands with red roses, and heart shaped candy boxes, but it is far from the madness that goes on in the states.

So yesterday I decided that I would venture out of Santiago. I didn't have any responsibilities and I knew that if I didn't I would just sit around my house lazily doing nothing. So I got up early and headed toward the bus terminal. I knew of a town called Pichilemu and figured that yesterday was as good as any day to head over there and check it out. Pichilemu is known for being a small hippie surfing town. It's not too far on a map from Santiago, so I figured it would be about a 3 hour bus ride. Which is would be, if the bus went directly there. But as we went along and stopped at every little town, I soon realized that it would be more like 5-6 hours on the bus. So I arrived at 2:30pm. I was thinking that I would go in the morning, spend the day there and then come back on the last bus. When I arrived, I went directly to the ticket counter to find out when the last bus would leave. Sadly, there were no more tickets left for the day. Ok.... So change of plans. I bought a ticket for 5:30am the next morning and set out to find a place to spend the night. Everything was too expensive. I knew that it was Valentines Day, and I had kinda thought to myself that maybe this was a little retreat with God... a little date. But as I walked around this town I knew nothing about, I felt anxious about my situation. What would I do if I couldn't find a reasonable place to stay? Try to find a bar that stayed open till 4am and then head over to the bus terminal? I had to force myself to chill and trust that God was going to provide. After all, this was a date.

And sure enough, God provided. I found a little hostal that would give me a bed for fairly cheap. I went upstairs in the hostal to see the room. And as I was in the hallway, I saw a guy go into another room. He paused when he saw me, and I could tell he was interested. I, on the other hand, was not interested. He was cute and all, but I was looking forward to spending the day alone on the beach. Well, with God.

So I just ignored the interested look and went on my merry way. I went to the beach for a while, laid out on my towel and enjoyed the scene of hundreds of families crowded on a small black sand beach. After an hour or so, I got up and walked along the beach to the other end of town (it's a small town) and wandered through the feria artensial. Very hippie.

I headed back to the hostal, took a quick nap, and decided to get a little more adventure. I took a bus to a surfers point a few miles down the road and watched little kids get surfing lessons. THe sun was gonna set soon, so I headed back to town, got some pollo y papas fritas, and sat on the grass to watch the sunset. I pulled out my bible and settled in for a nice time of devotion. After a while though, I noticed that everyone that walked by was staring. Maybe it was because I read sitting on the grass alone. Maybe it was because I was reading my bible. Maybe it was because my shoes were off and chileans are funny about bare feet. Probably it was a combination of all of the above.

So I packed up the rest of my chicken and french fries, which was still a lot of food, and headed back toward my hostal. I saw a homeless man and offered him my leftovers. He was really confused and started offering me money for it (granted it was like 40cents he was offering). I stopped him and explained it was a gift. That I just wanted to share it with him. He finally understood.

I headed over to the hostal, tired, but unwilling to call it a night. It was getting really cold, and I realized how glad I was that I had thought to bring my sweatshirt. I walked around the town, watched part of a concert in the plaza, and finally around 11pm, headed back for the hostal. I planned on waking up at 4ish to wash up and walk over to the bus terminal by 5ish.

I got ready and went downstairs to the lobby to wait till it was time to walk over. I felt really dirty (given been at the beach and walking around all day without a change of clothes, nor a toothbrush!) and I was ready to just be on a bus on my way home. Who then should come back to the hostal at this time, but Mr. interested.

He decided, along with the owner of the hostal, that it wasn't right for me to walk alone to the bus terminal. He asked if he could accompany me. I shrugged my shoulders. Of course it would be nice to have some company, especially guy company since it was still dark outside and who knows what kind of shenanagins are going on outside. But, I didn't want to give this guy the wrong impression. I would not be making out with him on the way over to the bus terminal. So I shrugged my shoulders. He took that as enough affirmation and we left to head to the bus terminal. Being about 5am, there were quite a few people on the street, heading home from their parties. It was nice to have a guy there just in case anyone thought it would be fun to bother me. But then, there was the problem of the guy himself. I knew he was interested in me, and while he was generally good looking, and seemingly nice, I was sure that I wasn't interested. I know that if I ever end up with a guy, it will be the Lord's doing. Not some guy that has nothing to do with the Lord. So when we arrived at the bus terminal, and he made it clear that he was gonna stay with me until my bus left, I tried to very politely but clearly let him know that I was not interested. He continued in his pursuits. At one point he told me I had beautiful eyes. Now remember that I have not had any makeup on for 2 days, I haven't showered or brushed my teeth, and it is 5am. I straight out told him no. I told him that I didnt want him to say that. Another 20 minutes of pursuit and my bus was ready to board. We hugged goodbye and I got on my bus, grateful to move on.
Once on board, I breathed a sigh of relief. I found myself gratefully thanking God that He is enough for me. That I dont have to be desperate for a man, because my soul is satisfied in Him. I felt so blessed in that moment. The past few years there have been some difficult vdays. I haven't always been grateful that the Lord is enough. So it was a nice relief to find that God has been growing me in His grace, teaching me to find my satisfaction in Him.
And that folks, is the loooong story.

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