It has been 351 days since I watched the man I thought I loved walk out of my room for the last time.
351 sunrises and sunsets.
351 twenty-four hour periods.
351 times I’ve caught myself wondering if it was real life.
I’ve been quiet these last 8 weeks. Really quiet. Intentionally so. Because well, you know, I started dating someone new. And I’ve been so terrified it will end and I will have to relive the pain both in real life and in my social world that I just sort of shut it down.
So I went dark. Because the echoes of 351 days ago still haunt me.
He doesn’t haunt me.
But the pain haunts me.
The funny thing about love is that it can’t fit into a box. Just because I don’t want him or us or the girl I was doesn’t mean it doesn’t try to creep into my moments. My life. My dreams. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t whisper on the edges of my days and try to take me prisoner, promising to keep me safe.
I always thought love to be more black and white.
You’re in love or out of love. You want someone or you don’t want someone. You fight for it or you walk away. But what I’ve come to find is that you don’t necessarily come out of love or back it into. It’s more vivid colors than one or the other. You fight for yourself and walk away from the lies. It’s all of the things and none of the things.
It matters but it doesn’t.
There are pieces of the past that find their way into my new relationship. We brush up against them when I withdraw or shut down or get upset. He carefully walks around fighting to find me and not the landmines waiting to go off. And I do the same. Watching for the wounds from his past, expectations that might be unclear and unexpressed.
I’ve found the fear of falling in love again to be paralyzing. He asks me to trust him. Something I would have done without reservation 351 days ago. And yet in the quiet moments my chest gets tight. I start to think about the nights I sobbed in my bed, alone, with pain beyond anything I had ever experienced before.
I wrestle through choosing to trust. To not hold the sins of another against him. Because he has consistently been different. He has consistently been trustworthy. He has consistently shown up. He has consistently sought Papa. He has consistently fought to choose Papa instead of himself.
So we look to Him. We choose Him. We fight to find Him so we can find each other.
Slowly but surely I see He’s taking the in-love’s and out-of-love’s, the full spectrum of colors, the fight and defeat, the fear and past, and He’s turning a fractured mess into a reflection of His beauty.
And I start to realize that 351 days is enough time. 351 days is 350 too many to let my heart stay captive. It’s time to sing my fight song. It’s time to break off the remaining pieces, step out of my shell, the shadow of what was, and trust. It’s time to uncurl my fist and let the world see what a mending broken heart looks like, what it feels like, what it’s capable of.
Because my mending broken heart is now capable of loving so much more than it ever was before it shattered. And that will always be worth the shattering process.