This year on Valentine's Day, my best friend texted me a recent picture of my high school ex-boyfriend. Something she snagged from Facebook, no doubt. Her idea of a funny joke. If you'd seen him "before" back in 1990-something then you'd understand the shock of the "after."
The feeling I had was overwhelming gratitude, the "Thank you, sweet baby Jesus in the manger!!" type of gratitude, that my long-ago fantasy of one day marrying him didn't pan out. Bullet dodged!
My friend KP, who has the most entertaining dating stories, told me about a girl who, months prior to our conversation, he was interested in. She was attractive and had a good personality, but unfortunately the situation didn't work out as he wanted. Disappointed at first, he later found out that the girl wasn't who he imagined her to be. He told me how relieved he felt that a relationship never developed. He was certain he'd dodged a bullet.
The disappointment of a dodged bullet can easily be confused with the pain of catching a bullet, particularly when it's not clear until later how fortunate you were to have gotten out of harm's way, either by force of God or force of intuition.
I've never literally been shot; however, I can make an educated guess that it's far more desirable to suffer the potential damages of ducking a bullet than to suffer the actual injuries from being wounded by one.
As dating goes, relationships won't always work out as you'd like. You'll be hurt and sometimes saddened by a friendship not rising to the hopes of your romantic expectations, but understand: you may have very well dodged a bullet. Whether or not you can see what harm was missed or even if you can see the object of your affection seemingly happy with someone else, you may have dodged a bullet.
The evidence of this is contained in the proverb: what's for you is for you. The phrase is so exact in its wisdom that it also holds strong when contrasted: what's not for you is not for you.
This assures me that when things don't work out it's probably because it's not meant to work out. For any number of reasons, it's not for me.
Bullets come in many forms: misery, abandonment, loneliness, abuse, STDs, apathy, strife, and instability, for starters. And to be fair, it could be you firing the shots and causing the misery. But if it's not, let's not get wrapped up in the illusion of who or what you thought you lost, let's just accept that it wasn't for you.
Most important, thank God that when shots were fired, you ducked!
Photo credit: Richard Roberson via CC Flickr