• Kim Q. Ivey

Old Fashioned Courtship

Updated: Jun 13

I just saw something so sweet - and really quite nostalgic. Makes me believe that all is right with our younger generation.

As I stepped off the balcony, after a long day working outside (which makes a long day working so much more pleasant), I noticed a young woman, probably no more than 20, cutely dressed in today's fashion (maybe a bit tight, but she was covered from the neck down, which was nice to see) walk up to a young gentleman, also smartly dressed, who was standing next to a shiny new Honda Civic, sports model. He stood, besotten, with a bouquet of flowers. Seeing the flowers, she excitedly threw her arms around him. Being the gentleman that he was already showing himself to be, he walked to her side of the car and opened the door for her and proceeded to close it once she was safely inside. They then drove off. I'm pretty sure I saw doves and butterflies fluttering in the air as they rounded the corner and disappeared.

To be honest, I've had a man bring me flowers. Bill, my 2nd of 4 official boyfriends, was a wonderful gift giver and brought me fresh flowers as well as an arrangement of dried flowers in a beautiful green vase that I still have some 20 years later (and I can't believe that we dated and were engaged over 20 years ago).

Joel, my last official boyfriend (age 37-38) also brought me a beautiful plant when I invited him over for dinner. Sort of our 3rd official date and his first time at my place.

So, I can't say I've never been courted in that way. However, there was something about the tenderness of their young love that struck me. That's something I never experienced. In High School I did stupid stuff with boys - never officially dating anyone. I was the 2nd wheel when my oldest friend April needed to smooch with her boyfriend Michael (who years later she married and divorced). He would bring his pal, Phil along, who I kinda liked, though I really liked this other boy, Marti, who would have nothing to do with me. Phil and I would make out. Later, for some stupid reason, on graduation night, it was Phil to whom I willingly and stupidly gave up my virginity, starting a lifelong battle with slipping up sexually and dealing with the regrets of my actions later (no time to go into that here -- I'll post about it later).

No one actually asked me out on a date and thus I never went on one until I was 37 years old, when Joel Hodge asked me to have sushi with him. Even then, I wasn't sure if it was a date date, as I'd never officially been on one up to that point - an official first date, so to speak. I actually had to ask him: "Are we on a date, Joel?" He laughed and responded: "I sure hope so, or I really messed up!"

Joel, Joel, Joel. That's the one if we had just been able to remain on the same wavelength could've been the one for life -- but it just wasn't meant to be. Once I ended my Americorps VISTA assignment and returned to corporate life at IBM, I came back to earth and abandoned my dream of living with him off the grid and doing missionary work. However, he was still committed to pursuing that life - which he apparently finally did, based on a cryptic email I received from him last year.

However, I digress.

This post is about the ennui of young love and how I wish I had navigated that area of my life much better when I had the opportunity to do so.

Seeing that young Black couple and the sweetness of his courting her reminds me that love like that is extremely rare -- a young man's regard for his young lady in that way, even rarer.

I still envy the beautiful way that my former Pastor's daughter, Whitney, was courted by her now husband of over 13 years (and father of her three beautiful children). He remained in the states while she embarked on a life as a missionary in Ecuador. With grit, determination and enormous creativity, he managed to surprise Whitney, on her birthday, by flying to Ecuador, walking into her classroom (she was teaching during her time there) with a bouquet of blood read roses, to bend down on his knee and ask for her hand in marriage (after already dutifully securing permission to do so from her parents, stateside). Whitney was Gobsmacked! Just utterly overwhelmed. Of course she said yes.

When I reflect further on this event, I realize that a lot of the women who I'm aware of who were courted in this fashion were generally, very pretty girls but even more so, they had incredibly pretty, kind hearts. They were just good natured, friendly, warm and inviting, loving people.

While I was typing this, Jonathan, who should have already been in and out of the shower, as I requested him to do about 20 minutes ago, came downstairs with the nightlight I use in the bathroom cause the main light is too bright and shows every error on my body, from head to toe. I despise that light. Anyway, the nightlight bulb went out. Jonathan wanted to show me it's because there is hair on the bulb. I'm in the middle of writing this and really want to finish it, so, like I tend to do with him, I'm impatient and irritated and just want him to leave me alone. It's wrong and so unloving and so unkind. And I do this all the time.

The contrast of my attitude with what i know of young ladies like Whitney makes it clear WHY I'm not now dating anyone or has anyone even looked in my direction to ask me out in 7 years. I can be callous, controlling, judgemental and really just outright mean and not nice. Not attractive qualities in the least.

I wasn't always like this though. In my teens and early 20s, I was that sweet-natured, open young lady. Shy and maybe reserved - my introverted self who enjoyed time alone more than with others - but there was a gentleness to my personality that I don't feel I genuinely have anymore. I have to force it to the surface and even then it feels contrived, fake.

So, not cool being here, at 54, all youth gone, only to find myself a bit hard-hearted and simply, well, hardened.

Father, is there hope for me? Can You work a work of transformation and renewal so that Your light of joy flows through me and out of me to others - especially Jonathan...that there be a clear change in my demeanor and how I treat others? Father, bring to the surface the fruits of kindness and gentleness. Make these the traits that are remembered about me when someone new comes into my life and what even old friends and family members find great about me. I continue to declare that my youth is being renewed. That maybe even me, a woman in her 50s, can find herself being courted like a 20 year old...a nice gentleman, welcoming me with a bouquet of flowers on our first date, opening and closing doors for me in his dapper vehicle (a nice Chevy Pickup Truck -- one of the bigguns -- would be really cool), who then, if we fall in love and choose to spend the rest of what's left of our lives together, creatively, and wondrously asks for my hand in marriage.

Yes, it can happen. Father, thank You for making it happen.

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