Mission Trip Love
I am pretty sure we were the loveliest ladies at the game! The Ducks lost by like a gagillion points, but fun was had by all.
The game was fun and all and I love my friends, but the best part of the night for me came while we were standing in line. The line to get in was really long and extremely slow. It gave me a lot of time to look around and see what kind of a crowd a free, rookie hockey game would draw. I then looked behind me and my eye caught a Captain America t-shirt. That's strange I thought to myself, I liked a man who had a shirt that looks just like that. Why did I like a grown man who wore a Captain America shirt? Then I looked up to see what other man could possibly wear this shirt and BAM our eyes meet. I was standing face to face with my mission trip love and his new wife.
I was about to say hello, but he looked away so quickly I think he gave himself whiplash. I just stood in line with my friends and coyly tried to look behind me a few times to make sure it really was him. I was a little doubtful at first, but by the time I was out of line I knew it for sure it was him. Even though he had gained 20 pounds in a year and had a doopey look on his face I knew he indeed the man I fell for in Costa Rica last summer.
In case you want to read about my mission trip to Costa Rica, I wrote about it here. I really loved this trip and I was so glad I went, for reasons beyond meeting a single pastor. I went with a group of people who lived in Kansas City that I had never even meet before. In many ways this is one of the most adventurous things I had ever done and I was beyond proud of myself for going, helping people in need, and making what I thought were permeant connections.
The person I clicked with the most was the pastor of the church that went. After a few days we were always hanging out with each other, working on the same projects, making inside jokes, and sharing personal stories. Most people on the trip said something to me about our budding relationship and many asked me when I was moving to Kansas City. I was getting to know this guy and there was a lot that he was processing in his own life. He was married before and had a child with his first wife. Not really the relationship I had in mind for myself if I am being honest. I wasn't sure what I thought of all this, but I did recognize, as did everyone else, that there was a connection there.
While we were in Costa Rica everything was really great, I even thought that God was working in all of it to bring us together. I mean really how often do you go on a trip with a group of strangers and meet someone that in many ways was what you were looking for that just happened to be single at the same time? Not that often my friends. Even though he was a pastor in Kansas City he was from Southern California and comes here to visit spend time with his family in Southern California. It could have worked.... maybe.... OK probably not.
After the trip he told me he was going to be in California in December and he wanted to get together with me. I wrote him a letter telling him how happy I was to meet him and then we said good bye. I came home and we Facebooked a little here and there. He liked my photos and statuses for like a week and we would exchange emails. Then after a month I never heard from him again. He unfriended me from Facebook, his profile picture changed to a photo of him and some chick, and every mutual friend we had quit talking to me. I later found out that he was dating this girl while we were in Costa Rica. I am pretty sure they got married this summer. Real classy. Real. Classy.
|The group from Costa Rica.|
I realized after I had been back and we quite talking that I had a case of mission trip love. Mission trip love is a strong love and can be compared to summer camp love, Christian college love, or even terminal illness love. It is love that develops with someone you never would have expected to like because the circumstances you are in create the perfect breeding ground for love.
I have been immune to all of the afore mentioned types of love in my life. I worked at a summer camp and didn't even make out with anyone. I went to a Christian college and escaped without a ring by spring. Terminal illness love may strike at some point, but if A Fault in Our Stars taught me anything it is that terminal illness love is the worst.
Even though I have been able to withstand many of the love traps this world has set for us I seem to be extremely susceptible to mission trip love. I have been on three mission trips and twice i left with some sort of a non-committed relationship with a guy I would never have even looked at twice back at home.
In case you wanted to know I have come up with some signs. that you may be in mission trip love. These signs also apply to the Peace Corps or any humanitarian trip to make the world a better place.
Your friends and or family tell you that you are going to fall in love on your trip.
You thought this person was a troll the first time you saw them, but after watching them help others you found them attractive.
Your defenses are down because you are in a new enviornment and you bond with others faster as a survival tactic.
People keep telling you that God or the Universe sent you on the trip for a reason. You think you know what that reason is and it has little to do with building a home for a poor family.
When you return home the facade of goodness slowly fades away. Not all at once, but day by day that person you knew on the mission trip is no longer recognizable.
You continue to date/communicate because you know that the person you fell for is still in there somewhere, I mean how could you have been so deceived?
You realize that they are a good person in good circumstances, but there is more to them than the glow one gets from a mission trip.
After some time you leave the relationship. You may be disillusioned after you find that the man or woman you knew in the foreign land is not the man or woman you are with right now.
You swear you will never fall for another person on a mission trip again
You go on a mission trip with your deep woodsman bug spray and your eyes lock with some pastor type and the cycle starts all over again.
I have known plenty of couples who met on this type of trip and I think that is part of what fuels the cycle. Knowing that it can and has happened is some powerful stuff. I do think that the conditions are right for romance. I also think the conditions are right to be the best version of yourself possible. If you return from the trip and that good person is no where to be found you know that it was a case of mission trip love. You fell for the the allure of helping the world with a somewhat OK looking guy who seemed to love Jesus a whole lot, and probably does love Jesus a whole lot. There is something very alluring and attractive about that.
After I realized that I suffered from a case of mission trip love I was a little hurt and disillusioned about mission trips and pastors. I soon got over it and I haven't thought of him all year until last night. I was actually really happy that I saw him and his wife. I looked so cute last night and I was having a great time with my friends. He saw me and it was clear that I did not change when I came home, that I was still a lovely, joyful person. He, on the other hand, looked terrible. He had gained weight and as soon as he realized it was me he quit talking to his wife and looked really uncomfortable and miserable.
The aspect of seeing him last night that I am most grateful for was that I realized that I did not miss anything by not being in a relationship with him. I have a full and happy life. Even though I am not married to the rich, hunk of a future husband I know is waiting for me, I am in a good place. I am glad that Costa Rica only brought me mission trip love and not real love. I am glad that I went on the trip and pushed myself to be brave and meet new people. I am glad that I helped others who needed help. And I am glad I learned more about myself and my susceptibility to mission trip love.