For many people, today has probably been a pretty normal (if not a low-key) day outside of a few major news items. Today, disco icon Donna Summers passed away. Tomorrow, Facebook drops its I.P.O. and reaps a whirlwind of capital. Those are the highs and lows of the news day for today, a Thursday which is leaning into a Friday. The workweek is nearing its end, and the weekend sits in queue, ready to share its rest and relaxation.
In the quiet of my private life, though, today is an anniversary for me that has been somber and heavy on my heart . The anniversary is a tipping point moment, when it is very clear that what has passed has passed, and that what lies ahead requires a shuttling of what has been, or what I wished might be.
Six months ago today, I turned in my resignation to co-lead a growth group at my church because a woman I had become close to over four years had come to a place where she needed to get away from me.
Things grew to what they became that day because seven months earlier, I had shared with her, a good friend at the time, that I had developed feelings for her- that I was in love with her. She didn’t feel the same way, and for much of the following half-year, we struggled to remain friends. We cooled off communicating over the summer months, but for whatever reasons, we still took time to teach a few cycles of a money management course together at church. However, in October, there was what I thought was a break in the ice, and a thaw in our friendship as we reconnected on a warmer level through a few celebration dinners and casual get-togethers. And just as quickly as things warmed up between us, the thaw was replaced with a new freeze within a few days- because I restated my enduring feelings for her. And with that, she began to withdraw from communicating with me, on any level, about anything in life except the class.
And so for a number of weeks, I continued to go help co-teach the class every Thursday night with a woman who once was a pretty good friend, but who clearly no longer wanted to let me into her life. And so for a few months, every afternoon for the three or four hours before I would go help with the class, my palms would sweat and my stomach would turn, and I wondered how I would get through that evening.
Classes would inevitably go fine, but once over, my friend would slip me back into my isolation chamber and forgot me for the week.
As a result of this relationship change, on November 17, 2011, I sent her and another gal who was helping out with the class a brief note stating that, “due to personal reasons, I could no longer continue to help lead the class.”
And I never received a response back from her- or from anyone else at the church- about my absence.
And I have not heard a word from her since, for six months.
A melancholy, I often let music talk to me about experiences in my life, and for whatever reason, of all the songs that drifted around me at this moment in life, S Club 7′s song “Never Had A Dream Come True” has been on my mind heavily the last few days, if only because it talks about having to move on down the road in life, and yet having someone in your past who left an indelible mark on your imagination and heart. The song is light and poppy and sappy and saccharine, but it contains some words that said many of my sentiments pretty well, particularly:
“I never found the words to say,
you’re the one I think about each day,
and I know no matter where life takes me to,
a part of me will always be with you.”
I am grateful, however, that I did get a chance to say the words to her that I needed to say.
These days, I miss her for a thousand different reasons, which are mostly all contained in little memories of her words and behaviors that I collected when we spent time together. And despite how we ended, I still think about her and know that the heart that beats within her is so ardent about wanting to please her Father and to glorify her Savior. It’s that heart that I, by hanging around her, saw in action and became captivated by. It’s her heart that I came to love, and it’s that heart that pulled me over the edge and seized my hopes and longings.
The last six months have been an ebb and tide of feelings and memories of her which have flooded the quieter moments of my life each day since, sending me swimming in a sea of questions and reflections and hurts and hopes and usually, a pleading with the Father for a happy ending. I continued to hope that a door would be opened, that the planet would shift, that God would open His magic box and sprinkle my life with pixie dust, and that the desired would somehow miraculously happen.
Instead, there has been silence.
Reality has spoken, and the silence affirms what He has had to say, and what He still says today about this relationship: it’s one I have to let go of. It’s one I’ve had to let go of. It’s one that you have to put into the ground, like a seed, and let it die, and forget about it- and let Him have it.
It’s, well, done.
He has said “No.”
And I need to grab His hand and go on with that.
Because of her, though, I can say I am a better person for having been around her. I have been made aware of a number of areas in my life that I need to put some work in. I know better what exceptional possibilities there still are out there for love, because she is one of those exceptional women. Because of her, I took some risks with my heart that I have not taken in years- if ever, in some cases. She has helped me to refine what it is I need to look for in a mate and a friend. And she has helped me to think about what I need to refine in myself to become a better potential mate, a more faithful disciple of Jesus, a stronger man, and a better friend.
What I do know is I need to move forward in life, and follow Him more wholeheartedly, and let Him lead the way again, and I need to mature more. And give Him the reins.
I love you, and I miss you. I am not bitter, and I can understand some of why things had to go the way they did. Still, I miss you, and I will for a while. You have been an important friend to me. Take care.
Lord, I love you, and thank you for my time with her. Bless her life and fill it full with light and love. You are my Father, the Giver of all good things, and I praise you for your kindness.