It was a bit awkward. This morning, my best friend, N. my “friend”, Mr. Man, and I were chatting in a Puerto Rican Bakery downtown. The long line wasn’t moving, the donuts smelled delicious, and everybody was talking in Spanish. We were talking about rattails, because almost every man in the bakery sported one with flair.
Without warning, I heard a knock on the window, and saw C. I hadn’t seen C. in a minute. We amicably parted ways, he stayed around in my life, but then I met and nearly dated one of his friends, who I met at a completely different event. It was a messy situation for everybody involved. I avoided both men and after a lot of prayer, decided to focus on being friends with Mr. Man. Mr. Man and I have a long and complicated history that only he, Jesus and me understand. He is also an ex of mine. God revived our friendship and it’s been great.
But this was still an awkward moment. 2 ex-es + me in a Puerto Rican Bakery, which all of a sudden felt too small. I left the bakery to greet C. I was happy to see him, of course. We chatted. I called N. to meet him.
And then I walked back in to join Mr. Man.
All day long, my friends and I chatted about how in friendships and in all relationships, we make choices to show how we value those we love. I choose to have tea with my friends, to travel for hours to see those who are farther away. I make time in my busy schedule for family and friends I love.
For a lot of my ex-es, I didn’t consistently show them love through my actions. And talk is cheap. I know I love someone when I will wake up at the crack of dawn to spend time with them, when I want to cook for them for absolutely no reason at all, and when talking to them doesn’t feel like a chore or an obligation, but a joy.
Both C. and Mr. Man are wonderful men. They both love Jesus. They are attractive, they are intelligent. In different seasons of both relationships, they each did their best to protect my heart. Both men invested in me and supported me in my career. And both relationships moved me closer toward the Lord.
But there are a lot of reasons why I stayed in the bakery with Mr. Man, and bid C. a farewell. It’s not only about how I feel, or what I think about Mr. Man. Ultimately, God clearly spoke to both me and Mr. Man about resuming our friendship. A part of that meant walking away from C., from J., from B., from the men that would holla. It meant trading in my brief flirtations with unknown men and being present in a friendship with one man who loves the Lord and loves me. I have been so blessed by Mr. Man, whose love for the Lord makes me strive to grow closer to God. Mr. Man is my closest friend, and he always has my back as I deal with the stress of being a grad student writing a dissertation, being a black woman in a mainly white program and being a Christian in an area that is anything but. Mr. Man encourages me to be the woman of God I’m supposed to be.
All of this has taught me that obeying God brings me the most joy. It is challenging to trust the Lord with my heart, but that’s the only way for me to grow. Being at a small bakery with two men who once expressed the desire to marry me was a little strange. But seeing them both reminded me that God’s choice is ALWAYS the best choice.
At the end of it all, choosing a donut was harder than choosing a man. God told me which man to roll with; He never said anything to me about glazed vs. powdered.