A(nother) Goodbye Love Letter

I’m terrible with goodbyes. Like terrible. I avoid them at all costs. In fact, in every breakup I’ve had, I’ve ended with something like… “well, I’ll see ya when I see ya” because I just can’t.

There’s something so final about saying goodbye. I haven’t been ready for final for a long time. I haven’t been ready to permanently untangle the experiences from my life. But now… now I am.

I’ve been reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I cannot recommend this book enough. It has been life-changing. But part of what she talks about is this three part process of dealing. The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. The reckoning is the part emotions are identified. They are acknowledged and validated and alive. The rumble is the part you figure out what story they’re telling you. What the truth is.

And you know what?? I get stuck after the reckoning. I don’t rumble. I don’t get into the messy and the dark and go after what the story is telling me and what the truth is. I take my sh*tty first draft (SFD) and make it my final product.

So I’ve been doing some rumbling lately. Rumbling with the Jock and the Missionary and some of the men I went out with in 2015. ‘Cause can we just talk about the fact that I was either dating someone or on a date with someone every month from February 2014? So yeah… let’s just let that be there for a second. Anyway. I’ve rumbled and re-written my SFD’s and this is what I’ve come up with, my another final goodbye.

The Jock — You… you were the greatest surprise of my life. You were movie moments and dancing in the kitchen. You were adventure and laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder with anyone than with you. You understood the nuances of my humor. You enjoyed the outrageous things I’d say and the middle-school boy humor.

You let me fall apart on your living room floor because I was so afraid of what was happening between us. You took me fishing because you heard me say I wanted to go again. You bought my favorite water even though you thought it was ridiculous. You were certain and strong and reassuring. You wrecked my life before you ever wrecked my heart.

When you left I actually thought life was over. I didn’t want to exist in a world that you were in but not part of. I didn’t know that my heart could feel pain like that. I cried more tears when we were dating and after you left than I ever knew I could cry.

I lost myself in you. I lost the girl I thought I was, the one I vowed to be, and the one I knew. I failed you when I lost myself. But you failed me. You hurt me. You left me. You asked for my heart and then threw it away like it was trash.

When you came back, I thought it would be better. I thought we would be better. But the cracks in us became chasms that we couldn’t cross. You broke my trust once and I was afraid to trust you again. I asked for grace in that process and you weren’t able to give it to me.

That very last night you used every word and phrase you knew to wound me. You took the most precious things I had ever told you, twisted them into weapons, and went after my heart.

But, I forgive you. I truly believe you were doing the best you could do.

I know you are capable of more. I believe you are the man I fell in love with. I believe in your strength and humility and tenderness. I believe in the power of the story you have to tell. I believe in you still. I believe you will be better. With someone else.

You changed my life, in some ways for the better, in some ways for the worse, but you left a very indelible mark on my life. I know that it ended up sending me on the journey I am on today… the one I’m fighting to know Jesus first and most. The one I’m fighting for freedom. The one I’m fighting for love. The one I’m fighting to look ahead. And for that, I will be forever grateful to you.

The Missionary — I didn’t want you. Not at first. You were intentional and real and kind. You were all the things I didn’t think I deserved. It felt like you came alongside of me, took my hand, and asked if you could walk awhile. You let me learn how to be ready for you.

I will never forget that moment when I realized I was all of myself. And that you liked me still. I wasn’t hiding or trying or fighting. I was just being. You allowed me to just be. You took your thumb and traced my cheek and looked into my eyes and helped me believe kindness was a possibility in a relationship. It didn’t have to be gasoline and fire to be interesting.

The more I fought to love Jesus first, the more you seemed to fight your fears and keep choosing me. You listened to my words and you heard me. You listened past the syllables and sounds and heard pain, joy, love, uncertainty.

But you weren’t ready.

You went left when I stayed straight. You couldn’t choose trust over fear. The one thing I asked you not to do, is exactly what you did. Even after the words you spoke comparing the two. My hope was that you felt valued and loved and cared for. That you could rest in the certainty of not wondering every other day if I was going to choose you that day. But you wanted what you could never be sure you had. The fatal flaw in your personality.

You hurt me.

You, above all, invited and coaxed my heart out of the place it had been hiding. You went searching high and low, convincing it that you were trustworthy. You asked my secrets and you asked my fears. You talked about a life together and invited me in to your story. But you pulled the rug out from under me. You had no good reasons and no good answers.

You left me to sort the pieces out without any explanation or processing, the very thing you promised to give me.

But, I forgive you. I truly believe you were doing the best you could.

I believe you wanted to be better. I believe you tried to choose trust. I believe your heart for me was good. I believe you wanted that life as much as I did. I believe you are capable of all the things you have hoped for. I believe you will make a great dad someday. I believe you will find love and continue to choose love, day after day. I believe you will be better and that you are better. With someone else.

You helped me understand the beauty in steadiness. You helped me understand that the whole of me is worth loving and knowing. You took a very bad day with very bad memories and turned it into a story of restoration. Even down to the pink roses that you didn’t even know he gave me. Your gentleness, and kindness, and love was a salve to a deep angry wound. For that I will always be grateful.

You both have moved on. And I have too, in almost every way. But I realized I was living in the SFD of our relationship…. the one that made me the bad guy and the one who was too much and not enough. And regardless of the truth of our time together, I was never the bad guy. Neither were either of you. So I’ve rumbled through that… and I want to leave it in 2015. You both existed in 2015 and that’s where I’d like to leave you.

I’m giving you up
I’ve forgiven it all
you set me free

Goodbye dear hearts.


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