Heart of Gold (Post #35)


“Heart of Gold” (Post #35) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower


I’ll never forget panning for gold in Alaska.  What a job.  The process basically consisted of placing muddy muck into a pan and swishing it in a left to right motion under water to cause the gold, which is heavy, to work its way down toward the bottom of your pan. At the same time, the lighter materials are washed away. The process of shaking and swishing is repeated until only the heaviest of materials are left-namely the gold and heaviest black sand.

Most of the time, I swished too hard, and lost all the contents of my pan.  If you are persistent and patient, with a little bit of luck you might find a tiny nugget.  After about 30 minutes of this activity, our whole family put together our findings which amounted to a whopping $30 worth of gold (tiny nuggets the weight & size of my little finger nail).

Many of you who are reading this blog are ‘panning for gold’ using on-line dating services.   I’m not condoning their use, and I certainly am not endorsing any one specific site.

But with any of them, I believe that God and His Will CAN still be the driving force of matchmaking.  But, are there actions you can take to ensure that He IS the driving force?

When I’ve used these sites, there have been times I’ve felt like I was trying to usurp God’s control.  And there certainly were those times when I did, only to my demise.

For example, after being attracted by the gorgeous face and slender figure of the woman pictured, I’d send a message to her.  Many times I did this WITHOUT first scrutinizing their values or faith, or other important criteria (like where they lived).  I’m embarrassed to say that at one time, I had NO limits as to where they lived!  And I ended up ‘falling’ for a woman 3000 miles from my home.  And as a result, I ended up falling flat on my face!

Desperate?   Naah.   Lonely?   Definitely!

SO . . . how do you ensure that God’s Will is ‘swishing your pan’ while you search for a potential match?

First of all, PRAY!

Pray for His will to be the driving force.  Before you enroll in any site, PRAY; before you type any information describing yourself, PRAY; before you correspond with anyone you find attractive, PRAY!  Before you even log on to check potential matches, PRAY!  And pray out loud!  Satan hates that.

I’m embarrassed to admit that there were ‘more times than not’ that I used ‘ABC’ dating service without first praying.  When I do that – mistakenly I AM IN CONTROL.

Secondly, learn to let go. 

How do you ‘let go’?  You say ‘good bye’.  You ‘pull the plug’ on the relationship.  WHEN do you do that . . . before it’s too late!   You do that when you KNOW it’s wrong to pursue her.  When the red flags outnumber Godly qualities.  When you know you’re in the relationship merely for self gratification.  When you know you’re dating her just to look good (like driving a cool sports car).  When you know she doesn’t have the same values as yours.  When you realize your values would be compromised if your relationship continues.

As my friend ‘George’ reminded me, every contact I may have with a woman is a test.  Many of them are thrown at us like a satanic knuckle ball, just to see us fail.  Satan takes great joy in that.  Others I believe God allows in our life to GROW our faith and reliance on Him.  As a test of our obedience to Him.

But as a Christian, I’m convinced that ALL of them have the POTENTIAL for our good, if we let Him have the control.

Oh, by the way . . . don’t stop praying!

Thirdly, do a reality check.

If you can’t say no to another helping of potato chips… if you can’t turn off a raunchy movie … if you can’t discipline yourself with an exercise program …  if you can’t regularly have daily devotions, you might want to ask for special help.  KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES!  KNOW WHAT TEMPTATIONS BREAK YOUR WILL!  KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS!  KNOW THYSELF!!  Then with that important information, make better decisions when using the online ‘ABC’ dating service.

So you made a mistake when choosing to date that last girl.  Analyze why you mistakenly chose them, then learn from that mistake.  Do you think satan DOESN’T know what catches your eye?  Do you think he DOESN’T know your weaknesses?  Enough said.

Did I forget to mention  . . . keep praying!

Fourthly, take off your rose colored glasses!

Is the woman in the ‘ABC’ dating pictures showing cleavage??  Enough to get your attention . . . you know what I’m talking about, men.  Ask yourself  “What’s up with that?”   Is the woman in the pictures laying on a bed??  “What’s up with that?”  Is the woman wearing more makeup than a corpse in a coffin??  Or is the woman showcasing her sexy legs??  “Come on, man!  What’s up with that?”

Or, does she mention NOTHING about her faith in her profile?  Does she admit NO love for your Lord?  Does she blatantly ignore that important requirement?  OPEN YOUR EYES and RECOGNIZE the truth about her.  By their fruit you shall know them.  Pick a bad apple, you’ll get indigestion.

Just in case I may have overlooked telling you . . . pray!

I want to live, I want to give.  I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.

It’s these expressions I never give that keep me searching for a heart of gold.

And I’m getting old.  Keeps me searching for a heart of gold.

And I’m getting old.    (partial lyrics to ‘Heart of Gold’ by  Neil Young )


Play It Again Sam (Post #21)

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“Play it Again, Sam”   (Post #21) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

Do any of you who are reading this blog have this problem too?

I mean, music speaks to my soul.  It really connects me.  It can make me beat a phantom set of drums, or it can reduce me to tears.  It can make me drive faster, or it can make me want to worship my creator.  The right song can trigger once-forgotten memories that are decades old.  And at other times, it can put me “in the mood”.

There’s this ‘Time Life’ album that ‘Ruby’ and I both enjoyed listening too.  It was loaded with songs that seemed to kindle our passion for each other.  And since she’s passed away, it’s really tough for me to listen to this album.   Since I’ve been dating, there are other albums that trigger intense memories – memories that make me miss those moments when I was dating certain girls.  It was music that I frequently played when I was dating them; but now that they are gone out of my life, once again, it’s tough for me to listen to that music.

Wow.  Music can be like looking through a photo album.

I remember my freshman year in college, my roommate and I would play LP albums of the Mystic Moods Orchestra; usually the ‘Stormy Weekend’ album.  We did it whenever we were lonely and missing our girlfriends (his in Kansas, and mine in Pennsylvania).  It didn’t make us feel any better, in fact it made us feel even more miserable.  But man, did that feel good.  We didn’t want to feel happy.  We were heartsick for our girl.

Isn’t it amazing just how comfortable we divorcees or widowers can get feeling ‘blue’.  Isn’t it crazy how when we’re feeling low, sometimes we really DON’T want to feel better.  I hurt, and doggone it, I deserve to hurt!  And I’ve done it so long I’m pretty good at it – and I’m pretty comfortable managing the melancholy madness.  It’s almost addicting.

It can happen when I listen to Ray LaMontagne , Michael Buble , Neil Young , or to Adele.  You probably have other artists that do it to you.

And there’s just some songs that I can’t listen to.   Not yet, anyway.  Too painful.

Listening to them evokes unwanted tears; unwanted longing for a relationship that I can’t have; shouldn’t have;  . . . but wish I could have.

Music moves me.  Really moves me.  Dangerously moves me!

There was one evening that I listened to one artist so long, that I longed SO much for a certain girl that I actually pulled my car over to the side of the road and I texted her.  She sure was surprised . . . since I hadn’t communicated with her in months.  She texted back “Are you all right?” like I must have lost my mind.

And that’s exactly what happened.  Music will do that to me.  It’ll make me lose my mind.  Like alcohol, it’ll make me do things that I’ll regret in the morning.

LESSON LEARNED:  Just like putting down a dessert fork when you’ve eaten too much; just like pulling your foot back off the accelerator pedal when you realize you’re speeding; just like forcing yourself to turn off the light and actually go to sleep when you’ve stayed up too late;  . . .  just like all of those examples, I’ve got to exercise self discipline when it comes to music.  I’ve got to change the playlist.  (I actually have one called ‘blue’!)  Music can serve to be my opiate, preventing me from doing anything productive.  OR, it can serve to be my savior, resurrecting my spirit and motivation.

I’ve been reminded that Satan can use music to keep us away from the joy that only our God can provide.