“The Elevator Incident”
He glides with grace from the table toward the door, without ever turning his back on his hosts. He’s very slow with his goodbyes, I think to myself. I’m thinking a lot of things… He’s certainly not good-bye-ing me. He never even looked my way during the entire meeting, which is a good thing because I would have been a dead giveaway; I shudder just thinking about how embarrassing it would’ve been if he’d caught me staring.
I notice he’s hardly touched his plate. But his wine glass is empty. I just know if he did make any eye contact with me, he would see it; my attraction- like a magnet to a hunk of steel. I find it increasingly difficult to take my eyes off him. This guy even pushes his chair back with style. As he walks, his saffron suit jacket swings and sways like a classic jazz standard in time with his long, flowing jet black hair.
Maybe he works for one of our overseas branches. Is he Native American? Hispanic? European? I can’t tell. All I do know is- the man is exquisite. Some kind of exotic gorgeous mix of DNA: some kind of magic… And his English is flawless, just like the rest of him. When I’m not entranced, I’m utterly self conscious. Oh gosh, Am I staring again?
I could ask around about his backstory. I’m sure one of my many colleagues in this group knows something… but I can’t seem to recall any of their names at the moment.
This is a critical stage in our company- there are major changes affecting every department on a global level. This time of speed dating style interfacing was arranged to give employees an opportunity to build relationships with colaborers in faraway locations.
But I can’t think about that right now; Mr. Beautiful is about to slip away and I’m on a mission to find him. As he’s making his long, drawn out exit, I interrupt an important conversation with a business associate. My work here is far from over, but I grab my purse and proceed to follow Mr. Adonis out the door.
Which way did he go? I start off down the hall to the left and hear a ding behind me so I make a 180. Other way. Walk faster. I turn on a dime and I’m practically sprinting now. I see a glimpse of black hair and saffron stepping into the elevator. I can’t believe the magnitude of this adrenaline rush- I have this strong desire, this need, to be near him!
Just as the door is about to close, I reach my hand out to press the glowing red arrow. I picture myself stepping into the elevator, standing inches away from him in all his saffron beauty.. I bet his hair feels like silk. Maybe I’ll let my arm accidentally brush up against the long flowing black locks of this picture perfect specimen, whose real name I don’t even know.
That’s when it hits me— I’m a married woman.
For a pair of minutes, while in hot pursuit mode, I’d forgotten this ultra important detail. My reality is that I’m willingly and happily bound by covenant to another soul in a long term, till-death-do-us-part-type relationship. I can’t go chasing other men down hotel halls. What am I thinking????
I guess what I’m feeling is… grief? There’s a gravity here; a real sense of loss. I pull my ring clad hand back and stand still a while, watching the elevator door close, along with any other flirting/dating opportunities for the rest of my married days.
Then, my awakening leaves me feeling embarrassed. Foolish- like I’d lost my mind temporarily.
Over the years, I’ve heard even wise people say “Go with your heart.” But in this moment, my heart is more than willing to lead me astray. I can’t follow my heart. My marriage isn’t perfect but I’m not willing to throw it all away for the thrill of a chase. I’m free to make a wise choice. I turn around and walk back into my business meeting with a renewed assurance. This is where I belong.
This story could’ve easily had a very different ending. I wrote about it in my journal just after it all happened as a newly married 29 year old. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit whispered to me in the middle of my temptation. It was one of the very first times I heard Him speak directly to me (not through someone else.) AND it was one of the very first times I actually listened to what He was saying.
I guess somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I had this notion that when my marital status went from “single” to “married,” there would be an internal switch that would render all men (other than my husband,) instantaneously invisible to me.
Well, there was no such shift naturally occurring here and I felt like I’d failed terribly that day in that business meeting (and in a few other scenes since then.) I’ve kept my crush-guilt to myself for years…. till just recently. I shared my tendency with my husband and to my amazement, he seems to trust me even MORE after I told him about it. I’m so perplexed by his response.
After receiving Blair’s forgiveness and understanding, I’ve found it easier to extend a little more grace on that distractible young newlywed woman in the elevator story and the subsequent close calls that followed. There was nothing wrong with the temptation itself. The point at which she (I) entertained the thought of pursuing the other man— THAT was the point at which I sinned and THAT is the thing of which I needed to repent. I’m so glad I chose to turn away from that elevator that day. I was one little touch away from danger.
Countless women (and men) who’ve suffered the effects of infidelity say that their respective affairs often started with a small thing first… A little glance, a little touch, a playful little laugh.. a certain little nuance that led to another and another…
I am no better than anyone who’s actually acted out on a temptation. According to scripture, I’d already committed the sin by thinking it. Now, 25 years into the marriage I almost threw away, I am more thankful than ever for the Father’s Grace, for the Holy Spirit’s counsel in these moments, that I’m no longer a slave to wrong choices. Neither are you.
It is for freedom that Christ set you free so if you believe Him, you’re free to choose well too.
I’ve come close to falling a few times, but keeping my heart in check and confessing my weak knees to a close friend always makes me stronger when tempted. Confession is strange like that- the more you confess something out loud to another person, the more it loses its power over you. Sometimes, just knowing I’ll have to tell my accountability partner – most often, it’s Steph- is enough to help me turn away before I get in too deep.
Here are a few takeaways to glean from my close call at the elevator;
- Temptation itself is not sin. Everyone (even Jesus) has faced temptation. It’s part of the human condition.
Another important thing to note; Repentance is more than confession. It’s an act of actually turning away from the temptation. If the magazine subscription causes you to lust after material things, cancel it. If the strip club is on A Street, take B Street home…
Stay above reproach. Billy Graham has always had a policy of never meeting with a woman alone. For lunch, for business, for anything. That’s not that far out. It’s doable.
Your marriage is worth protecting. Remember you’re free to choose to do the right thing. You’re free to choose wisely.
If you’ve found any value in this post, let me know. I want to provide content that is helpful to you- especially if it encourages you in your relationships. Come visit me on instagram @heylovepodcast or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time,