When a symbol is not a symbol

We live in a world full of symbols. Even without the word displayed on it we all knowt what the red octagon means.

We know what the stick figure wearing a dress means

and we know know what this sign and many others mean.

We know the difference between waving and beckoning which is a fairly subtle difference.

We know what this sign means.

So I am a little frustrated when something that i thought was supposed to mean something in some cases doesn’t.

You see in the culture I grew up in, men don’t wear wedding rings. But then they don’t really need to. As a symbol that you are married… well the ring doesn’t symbolize much in a polygamist community. At least for men, who for all intents and purposes are perpetually single.

Or at least available.

I never once even thought to perform a ring check. Until I joined the LDS church and started having to date…only single men.

For those few of you who may not know what I am referring to when I say that, You know, when you are talking to a guy and you start to think “Hey he’s kind of cute” so you try to very subtly get a look at that ring finger to see if he is single or not.

Your hard work pays off when you see that he isn’t wearing a wedding ring so you smile and proceed to do a little flirting.

Its usually just after you have opened up and made yourself a little vulnerable that he up and mentions….

that he was at the Gynocologists affice the other day with HIS WIFE when…..

and you zone out feeling entirely stupid and wishing there was some designated spot for idiots like yourself to go beat your head on the wall.

In my opinon he is the one who should feel dumb. After all he was the one who decided to not use the symbol that most of America uses to indicate that they are in fact already taken. I mean seriously if wearing one means you are taken its only natural to assume that not wearing one means you are available.

What would happen if I decided that since I wear pants I can go in the door with the little stick figure of the person in pants.

Boy I bet all those guys would feel stupid when I walked in that door…

And that police officer, he didnt like it too much when I decided that in my world a yellow light means go faster so you can make it through before the light turns red. Yeah, he didn’t even crack a smile.

Neither did the guy that was trying to pass me the other day when I suddenly changed lanes. I tryed to explain that I dont really like using my blinker… you know it makes that annoying little clicking sound… yeah he didn’t like that much either and I was left once again feeling like an idiot.

So why is it that when some guy decides to ignore a symbol that to the rest of the world means he’s taken, it’s the girl who finds herself flirting with him who ends up feeling stupid? I would love to know your opinions on this.

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Time Will Heal

Yesterday I jumped into the pool with my non water proof watch on. My heart sank. Not because it was a fancy expensive watch or anything but because of what it represented. You see one day several months ago, as I was walking across the parking lot on my way to teach a class, my watch fell from my wrist and the face shattered on the concrete. It was a $10 watch from Walmart so it shouldn’t have been a big deal… but it was.

I have come to see my watch as something of a measure of how I am doing in my life. Just a few days before the shattering of this important symbol, my room mate commented to me on the fact that I actually wear my watch now, which is something that I have never done. “I think its symbolic” she said. “You seem settled and happy with your life, you seem like you are living in the moment. It’s like you are really HERE”

As a little girl I thought that life revolved around being married, around having children and a family. I thought that life wouldn’t start until the day I crossed the threshold. I found myself always wishing time away and longing for what I didn’t have.

One of my favorite authors,Elizabeth Elliot left me with a quote that has changed my life. She said, “let not your longing slay your passion for living.” I have tried to live by that, not always successfully, but I am doing better. At that moment my life was great, I loved my job, I was in school doing well, I had a boyfriend I was crazy about and life seemed good. I expected a proposal any day.

Then the watch shattered.

I looked at the jagged lines crisscrossing the face and I laughed, although there was something inside me that wondered if I should cry.

The next day my boyfriend of a year and a half, and I went for a walk to talk. I stood on a trail on the side of the mountain with my back turned to him and sobbed as he explained to me that he just couldn’t marry me. Apparently for him it just wasn’t there enough for him to marry me. CRACK…

That weekend, perhaps not thinking as clearly as I should have I made other decisions that I would almost instantly regret and it made the shattering complete.

Then one night I came home to find a gift box on my bed. It was a new watch with a note from my roommate that simply said. “Be HERE.” She might as well have reminded me of my motto to “Let not my longing slay my passion for living.”

That’s why when I looked at the water droplets on the face of the watch and the hands that stood still, waiting…just like me. I wanted to cry. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away so I just left it on the counter in my bathroom. Today when I picked it up, the hands had started moving again. Somehow my resilient little watch had found a way to keep going.

Life moves on you just pickup the pieces and hold on to a belief that time will heal a broken heart.