John Eldredge in Wild at Heart says that “the deep cry of a little girl’s heart is am I lovely? Will you pursue me? Do you delight in me? Will you fight for me?”
I was raised by my mother to be independent and never to rely on anyone, especially a man. I was coached early in my professional career to be successful, to take charge and get things done. My aggressive business skills have damaged all my personal relationships. How can someone pursue me if I’m always in charge? Why would anyone delight in me when I can take care of myself? And fight for me, why? I can win my own battles.
Two chance meetings tell the story of my transformed heart. This past week, a friend asked me to an art show and reception. A delightful guy struck up a conversation with me in one gallery. We talked for 15 minutes or so about one particular painting that spoke to him of the inner voices that we hear of despair and sadness and how we protect ourselves from harm. We toured the rest of the galleries together engaging in thoughtful interpretations of the art. It was a delightful conversation with another art lover. In the past, I would have offered my name, a handshake, a business card with my cell phone number and a “call me sometime, I’d love to continue this discussion about art with you.” I would have justified my forwardness as “hospitable”, or “friendly”, after all, why shouldn’t a woman feel comfortable making the first move?
I’ve been kidding myself all these years. It was outright aggression on my part, meeting a guy who I wanted to know more and going after them. This time I didn’t offer my false “hospitality”. The introduction never came; he didn’t ask me for my phone number, either.
This morning I was grocery shopping at the fresh fish market. A guy struck up a conversation about salmon and the emblem on my shirt. As we were departing with our salmon, he asked, “Are you married? Would you like to go to dinner sometime?” As he extended his business card, he said, “Here’s my name and phone number, I’d like to call you for dinner.” There was a pause as I said, “That would be nice; here’s my name and number.”
John Eldredge says that the number one problem between men and their women is that men, when asked to truly fight for us….hesitate. Men are still seeking to save themselves; they’ve forgotten the deep pleasure of spilling their life for another person, a woman.
Two chance encounters. They’ve taught me how much I’ve changed. After all, it is just one future dinner date. But now I know which man has the potential to win my heart.
(Artwork: The Escape of a Heretic, John Everett Millais, 1559)