-where there is love, nothing is too much trouble, and there is always time –
For years now my love remained committed in a box that would only open for one specific person. No matter what angles or hoops or blockades we were given, I was determined to stand up to any opposition. So certain was I, that I called every reemergence a miracle and welcomed him back into my life. After all, everyone deserves a chance to make things right. But when you get one, remember that every chance you get is tethered to a past that you (and everyone around you) may not be fully able to forget. Still, we all want the ability to dive back in–in spite of our valid reservations. We want love to reign without damage and hearts to permanently mend. The truth however, is that some people want to remain broken. I am learning the hard way that the pursuit of perfection makes one blind to their own stubborn vision. That I am entitled to my perspective, but someone else may experience something entirely different. And forgiveness cannot rest while you are bleeding out from your respective chest of open wounds and passive beginnings. You cannot win anything if your answer is to run every time you face a setback or defeat. No one emerges unscathed from the tragedy of living. At the end of the day, the question will always be….Do You Love Me? Those four words have stirred in the back of stubborn minds and brought together weaker individuals than you and I. They doubled down on their investment and chose to stand and fight. And since we get to do the choosing–I pray we always get to decide–who stays, who leaves, who is ours for the rest of our lives.
This is not our story, but at least we can say we tried.
“There is nothing wrong with being alone.” I repeat this phrase silently until I am willing to accept its reality. For awhile now, I have tried to hold on to the idea of having an additional presence in my life. The one who took on part of my load and chose to share theirs equally with mine. But it is not easy eliminating parts of your narrative and allowing another person to write a combined present with you. It is difficult for me to eliminate the belief that I do not deserve happiness. Sometimes, I would rather be the only one carrying my baggage–unable to trust that another will take the time to unpack things properly with me. It is much more likely that I will be left behind. I have lived with this perspective for so long that even if someone tries to prove me wrong I sometimes self-fulfill this prophecy. Today however, I do not question if I am worthy. I question my own actions and the “why” of my tendency to sit with broken thoughts that do not help anyone–much less me. I wonder what it will take for me to feel safe enough to tell the truth honestly. But I am also wounded by my last attempts at understanding. I am aware of my contributions to this codependent cycle. Aware of the toxic environment I created that thrust me back into the pit of my undoing. But there is so much more to this than the hurt I inflicted because of the past I did not fully deal with. More to commitment than rejecting mistakes or giving up on someone when they push you away. More to the feelings of disappointment that cross the line between hating someone and loving them in spite of their shortcomings. Sometimes a person cannot give any more once their well is empty. And sometimes no matter how much you ask for their forgiveness, you may never be given the opportunity.
What do you do when someone refuses to acknowledge your pain?
I am told to walk away from anything that no longer serves me. Because it is certain that a person who is focused on themselves cannot be concerned with what I need. In the past I have been known to compromise my self worth in order to protect another person’s sensitivities. Lying through brittle teeth and losing the ability to face reality. It is easy to fall into routine and drag yourself forward because your heart is afraid of change. We blame others for our foggy vision when we are the only ones responsible for our productiveness everyday. Every single morning I wake up by God’s grace and set my feet on the ground. I get out of the comfort of my bed in total darkness because when I rise, the sun is not yet awake. I push my disappointment and frustration to the back of my mind and sacrifice sulking in my grief because I know there is another human being counting on me. I can be wrecked and broken on the inside, but this does not absolve me of my responsibilities.
It is not about me. It is not about my issues or the fact that I allowed myself to hope for forgiveness and grace. It is not about how no one seems to acknowledge my pain. I am met with silence and blank expressions when it takes two to make the same mistakes. We wander in circles because there are two heads in the wrong place. It should have been easy to commit to the cause and stay on mission in pursuit of the things we want.
But excuses are the only thing consistent when you are running.
Nothing about fighting for a purpose is easy, especially when you have a long and difficult history with someone. We want everything handed to us without putting in the work. We push away the ugly parts of people and retreat when things do not go right. Forgetting that we too have parts that we try to hide from the light. We believe we can choose differently even though our soul is in agony. Fighting against other people’s opinions and ideas about what we should do and who we should be.
I ask questions when the answers are clear–blaring at me in a neon yellow display.
It takes two to work together, but only one to walk away.
Too many steps forward and you will be forced to leap back to the beginning. In every instance of regression we feel slighted as if we did not have a say in whether or not we went all the way. It is fair to be weary. To have a heart weighed down by an irrepressible pain.
But the art of forgiveness requires us to change.
I have no stock in another person’s recovery steps. They can be silent and broken, refusing to ask for help. They can be recklessly happy and move forward with grace.
But the art of forgiveness means we do not stay the same.
Each time we “get back up” a piece falls off from our resiliency. After awhile, there is no more hopefulness. No more faith. No more peace. I have written bitter endings into my narrative so much so that now I do not know how to get rid of the ache.
But the art of forgiveness means we put old things away.
The dream died. If we are being honest it never had a chance to survive. You put two people in a story who both believe they are right and it is only a matter of time before they end up on different sides. Fighting for a future that neither can fully provide.
But the art of forgiveness means you move forward with the rest of your life.
I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.
The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.
There are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.
For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.
Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.
What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.