A Gibson Girl Leaves Stars Hollow

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I stumbled into Stars Hollow by accident. It was season two and I needed an escape. I had left my home of Milford, Michigan, for the big city of Chicago. Within weeks of arriving, the Twin Towers were hit and my new home went silent, people were more cautious, classes were cancelled, and plans were made “just in case” something were to happen. I needed to return to the safety of a small town where everyone knew everyone, where Main Street was real and people stopped to talk to each other. I needed to be in the quirky and oddly familiar world of the Gilmore Girls.

I spent a lot of time with the three, sometimes four, generations of Gilmore; their witty banter and pop-cultural references made me smile knowingly. When we would gather—there were several of us who would watch together—we brought snacks and laid down our studies for an hour to visit the snow globe of American idealism. I spent all four years of college retreating to the beauty of the gazebo in the center of town, rolling my eyes at the shenanigans of Taylor Doose, and being carried away by the melodies of Sam Phillips (as a side note, during my childhood she was a well-known CCM musician who went by Leslie Phillips, who my mom loved, so even she harkens back to a simpler time).

Where I grew up we had town festivals, great high school sports and a “down town” where people strolled, stopped at the local bakery, nodded to the meter maid, and stopped in to see Tim Twiss, who was basically our town Troubadour. It might sound like I am making this up, but if you read the works of Thomas Lynch, Milford’s undertaker and bestselling author, you will know that Milford is Norman Rockwell set in motion, and that Stars Hollow was the perfect escape for this Gibson Girl.

I continued on with the Rory, Lorelai, and Emily in my post-college life as I moved from Chicago to the Philly area. I watched Rory navigate college, relieved those years were done, yet also desperately missing the friends who I had lived with for that period of my life. As I entered adulthood, I found comfort in dormroom drama and awkward first dates of Rory’s Yale experience. Once again I found an escape with the girls Gilmore.

When the show finished, I would still watch it on DVD. I realized that I was relating less and less to Rory and more to the plus-sized sidekick, Sookie, who never allowed her size or weight to affect her life. She never talked about needing to lose pounds or struggling to find a pair of jeans that fit right. No one tried to change her, no one called her fat, or told her to hit the gym, she was loved and accepted for who she was. So, I took cues from Sookie and her body positive life—I embraced my curves and style the way she and her community did.

But now several years later, and after watching the reboot, I do not know how I feel about returning to Luke’s. I wonder if I have outgrown it. I feel the same way when I visit my hometown, like I do not fit there anymore. Milford Bakery might have the best donuts in the world, but they are no longer my donuts, just like Gilmore Girls is no longer my comfort food. I have surrounded myself with, in the words of Rory, “supremely real characters.” The cast of my community makes my day-to-day fun and the unexpected beautiful. Home is not a place I return to, it is where I am, and I have moved on to living in the unknown of my own life rather than the safety of the snow globe.

Hopes Dashed

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Recently I told a friend I was going to join E-Harmony; she was not unsupportive, but she wondered why I wasn’t finding anyone in the local church. And, to be totally honest, I have always thought that someday the man for me would show up at church, and we would get to know each other in the context of service and Christian community. But alas it has been 35 active years in the church and no such blessing has been bestowed upon me. So, at some point this year I am joining a dating site.

My dear friend was not going to take this sitting down, so out came her phone, and she texted a single guy she knew. He was open to meeting someone and so was I, so we met at church and went out to lunch with our mutual married couple friends.

He was a total gentleman, fully committed to the Lord, and active in his church—a church I love. I thought he was handsome and enjoyed our post-church lunch; it was a bit awkward, but in the  good first date way. After lunch we exchanged numbers, he walked me to my car, opened the door and suggested we go out again. I said that I would love that.

He texted just the right amount. Over the course of that afternoon we were both involved in our Sunday afternoon plans, he was fishing, I was caffeinating. It was lovely getting to know bits of his life before our next outing; there was the right amount of disclosure without oversharing. And then I read the words I feared, “I come from a big family and someday I want a big family.”

I sighed; my hopes were dashed. We had been so transparent from the get-go that I knew I had to be honest with him; I had to break the post first meeting spell. “I do not want to shut down what could be, but I do not want kids.” My reply was the end of any future with this man.

I want to be clear: I would not want him to change his God-given desire for a family, just like I would not want someone to expect me to change my childfree desires. Neither is wrong and neither is right, they are simply different.

I know this conversation will happen again and again, but I did not expect it this quickly. We both wanted this to lead to more and yet our long term desires displaced the existing chemistry. And that is the Lord’s work in His children—there are missionaries the world over who choose singleness every day for the sake of the Gospel, there are men and women who part ways because of separate callings and desires.

Ultimately, this is what dating is all about: getting to know the ins and outs of another person’s desires, thoughts and plans. Seeing if things might grow together or if they are meant to be separate. You get to see the hope of something begin and end, over and over again. But one day there will be one that the hope only has room to grow—the desires match and the thoughts are valued and the plans are encouraged.                                                  
That day will be beautiful, but until then I am open to the adventure and the occasional set up.