It’s been two years.
At times it seems a lifetime ago. At times, yesterday. At times, like it never happened.
I’m writing this on the eve of July 13. If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know that July 13 is a “day who must not be named” of sorts.
Didn’t want a day without you
but somehow I’ve lived through another one
But tonight is a little bit different. I’m sitting in the high backed chair at my kitchen island. The apartment a tiny bit smoky due to my cooking. I had to laugh to myself a bit — the irony of my smoky apartment while I attempt salmon, asparagus, and a sweet potato hash. The Jock would be proud of me. And probably eye-rolling a bit at the thick smoke. He was always trying to teach me to cook while secretly loving this brilliant skill he had which I sorely lacked.
In fact, the last night I spoke to him was when I called him about an epic kitchen fail, knowing he was the only person who would truly understand the humor. I heard his deep belly laugh and could almost see his eyes crinkle in delight. He happened to be on the way home from a date that night, a date with the woman who will become his wife.
And so here I sit, two years past a day that changed my life.
I’ve found that I no longer mourn for him, the intimacy we shared, or having him in my life. In fact, most days go by and I give barely a passing thought, as I assume it should be. Occasionally I’ll wonder what he’s up to, how he is, what is going on his life, but with no more regard than anyone else from my past.
Though my longing and grief and pain subside, I notice that I am decidedly marked by that experience. It set me on a trajectory of growth, healing, strength, and mistakes (if I’m honest), I hadn’t known myself capable of.
The Jock told me one time I would look back at our time together like a photograph. Something that captured a beautiful moment but fades with time. I was angry at the time he said it, accusing him of sentencing our relationship to death before its time. I don’t know that I agree with him anymore two years later than I did at the time.
Didn’t want a year without you
but somehow I’ve live through another one
Last year as I reflected after having survived a year, the Missionary sent me flowers, in my favorite color, to love me well. It was probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me, the most redeeming if nothing else. When he ended things roughly two weeks later, I grimaced at the irony of July.
This July has no impending break-ups. It has no horizon of love lost. And yet, it still makes me feel on edge. I don’t understand why. At least, I didn’t understand why until I started listening to a podcast on Anger.
I’ve not been intentional in my time with Jesus lately. Months of disappointment, patterns of sin, feelings of betrayal, but most of all, shame, have kept me from bowing my knee. I cringe to admit this. Cringe. But it’s the truth. I allowed myself to grow lazy and distant from my Papa. Slowly though, He’s been whispering against my shell of protection.
I’ve needed someone to blame, not knowing how to deal with my anger, and He was the most logical (read: illogical) choice. In my sin and immaturity I threw a months-long temper tantrum. Until the past few weeks when I’ve felt my frigid heart thawing and a longing for intimacy with Him.
And the heart she feared frozen
still beats and still marches on
Like I said, I listened to a podcast on Anger the other day. I felt my heart cry out in sorrow and repentance, ashamed of my own sin. Not realizing I needed to admit that wrong was committed (by others and by myself), I started to crumble as I heard the words “it mattered.” There was wrong done by others and forgiveness has been acknowledged. There was wrong done by me to me and I have not even been cognizant of it. Which has caused me uncertainty whether my cloak of shame can be taken off. I’ve been living out of an identity of shame. Making decisions out of my shame shadow. Fighting for my life out of my shame shadow.
The problem with the shame shadow is that it convinces you that you are beyond saving, beyond repair, unloved and unwanted. So you make more decisions to validate the lies. You start to taken on the identity of shame, forgetting your real name, your real favorite color. Your eyes filtering every encounter through your shame.
I realized I traded being held captive in the land of my ex-boyfriends to being held captive in the land of shame. Trading chains of one type of grief for another. Losing sight of my identity as beloved, chosen, wanted, redeemed, new.
Today I asked my Papa for His forgiveness and then He asked me to offer myself the same forgiveness He has already and freely given.
It seems fitting on this eve of Two that my heart is moving towards forgiveness, no? Last year I was moving towards redemption and this year I’m moving towards reconciliation, with the promise of restoration ahead.
Didn’t want a life without you
But here I am, living one
Oh, and if you’re wondering, the salmon turned out just fine.