Imagine you are underwater on a treasure hunt for diamonds.
(Because that’s an everyday occurrence to which we can all relate …)
Anyway – imagine you are under there enjoying yourself, seeking treasure, avoiding sharks and praying your oxygen tank lasts. Silently swimming along, you high-five the sea turtles and give a thumbs-up to Nemo while continuing to look left and right for the shiny and elusive diamonds.
You’ve heard there are diamonds down there; in fact, you have friends who have discovered some. Yet you have never seen any yourself. Might it be this time? Has your luck finally changed? Perhaps the boat finally stopped at the perfect diamond treasure trove, and you will be the one celebrating tonight.
Keeping an eagle eye on your diminishing oxygen tank, you notice your hope seems irretrievably linked to the rate at which the oxygen depletes; therefore — you finally conclude once more — you have run out of time to find that elusive diamond, and you begin your ascent back to the surface.
Arriving back to base disappointed, you are amazed to see your friends walking in celebrating, laughing and hugging one another on their find: gold. Pure gold. Intense gold. The most beautiful gold ever seen. After masking your jealousy and asking where they found it, you are shocked to discover it was in the exact same spot you had been previously! They came immediately after you had left, and within an hour had secured their treasure.
The difference? You only had eyes for diamonds – so you couldn’t see the gold.
What we see is inevitably linked to what we desire.
For example, have you ever noticed that after you buy a new car, you suddenly see that car and color everywhere you go? It’s ingrained in us – we see what we are looking for.
The opposite is also true: We won’t find what we can’t see.
I remember in my teenage years I had a penchant for the mysterious. Therefore, I was attracted to someone who was confusing and undependable — someone who liked to keep me on edge about whether I was in his good book that day or not. Clearly I was very insecure and allowed myself to be emotionally abused in this way, but it proved this statement true: What we seek, we will find.
If you were on a treasure hunt of sorts to find a mate, what would you be seeking? In other words, how would you define a diamond? Because, as we are often told, knowing the answer to that type of question will give clarity to your search.
Or will it?
How many of us have heard someone say they’ve married a person completely different from what they originally thought they wanted? I’m not talking about values and morals here, but more the superficial parameters of height, weight, hair color and clothing style. The world is filled with couples who found what they weren’t looking for. And maybe that’s part of our problem as singles:
We are so busy looking for what we want that we can’t find what we need.
Let’s revisit the top of the article. You are swimming in the sea of possibilities enjoying yourself (dating), seeking treasure (looking for a mate), avoiding sharks (self-explanatory!) and praying your oxygen lasts (not giving up). One thing is on your mind: the diamond. You reach the point of exasperation after numerous emails to online dating potentials, hopeful dates, disappointed nights out and the ticking clock. It is time to resurface and re-evaluate. To your shock, some of your friends are finding exactly what they are looking for … and in the same pool in which you’ve been swimming nonetheless! How is this possible?
One suggestion, though not a panacea, is that you are only looking for diamonds. And he (she) is gold.
I’ve often joked that over so many years of waiting, my list has radically reduced down to two things: Does he put the toilet seat down and does he brush his teeth? Everything else can be worked around.
While said slightly tongue-in-cheek (slightly!), it does ring with a thread of truth in that perspective changes after time and experience. What once was a non-negotiable (he’s hot) has become a preference, and what was preferred (he is honorable) is now a non-negotiable. With maturity and time, we see gold as being just as beautiful as diamonds and rubies — a treasure to behold alongside pearls. Limiting ourselves to one will only lessen the chances of finding a real treasure.
Are there standards of perfection holding you back from seeing the treasure right in front of you?
Might God want to open your eyes and reveal what you weren’t even looking for? How realistic are your non-negotiables?
As I type this, I have a sense that you are considering walking away from someone with whom you are in a relationship right now because he or she isn’t a diamond. And because you are set on finding a diamond, you are missing the gold right in front of you.
The person may not look exactly like the mate you’ve always imagined, but you are attracted to him (her), and if you could lay down pre-conceived ideas of who you’ve always seen yourself with, you might find gold transforming itself into something much different …
… a treasure worth holding onto.