I wake up to a chill in the air and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees just outside my window. It’s a Monday, the start of a brand new week, full of brand new possibilities. At this early hour, the house is quiet, beds still hold sleeping bodies lulled with dreams. I breathe in the coolness of the house and wrap my favorite soft blanket tightly around my shoulders as I make my way downstairs to the smell of coffee brewing. I see the darkness fading as the sun begins to rise and greet the day, lighting up the entire world. And I can feel it in my bones. It’s going to be a good, good day.
In these troubling times, when uncertainty is more abundant than ever,
she finds that her faith remains strong and loyal.
She knows that there will always be two sets of footprints in the sand,
no matter where she ends up or what the outcome.
She will never be alone.
She will hold onto the only truth that is constant, God.
He is her anchor, grounding her in the unsteady waves and storms of life.
She will hold tight to His unconditional love and mercy and she will not drown.
Our trip started off perfect.
We traveled across the world and experienced a sort of freedom I’d only dreamed about.
We stopped at state lines to pose for pictures and stayed in dingy motels to sleep away the nights.
We had our whole lives ahead of us.
We were young and had no idea what we wanted out of life.
We thought we knew but isn’t that how most young people feel?
I cared about you so much but as the miles passed, so, it seemed, did our future together.
Instead of music blaring from the radio, the sound of happiness, the car began to fill with the noise of us yelling at each other in angry, bitter tones.
I suddenly felt trapped, like I’d rather be anywhere than here, next to you, on these strange roads, in this car.
Maybe if we would’ve just stayed friends… but I guess we thought that we could have more.
We used to have so much fun together, laughing ourselves into tears.
Staying out late, not in any hurry to get home.
Our friendship suddenly caught fire.
Those times, those memories, are faraway.
They seem like a lifetime ago.
By the time we reached our final destination, we tried to smooth things over but some things can’t be ironed out.
I ended up leaving you in the cold, as the snow fell.
Taking a flight back home.
We never really spoke again, although I’ve seen through social media that you are doing well, still living in the place where we last saw each other.
You were once a giant part of my days and now I hardly know you.
It’s strange how life ends up,
Someone you knew so intimately now a total stranger.
That road trip took us downturns we never saw coming and left us at a dead-end,
but I guess that was the plan all along,
or else I wouldn’t have met him, my now-husband.
You were just a part of my life where he is now my whole life.
You were just passing through, where he will stay a lifetime.
I sometimes think about you and the good times we had.
I hope you are out there, still doing great.
And in case you didn’t know I really once, cared a lot about you.
What we had…it was once something real to me.
Seeing you, so happy and free, it sets a smile on my face but in my heart, I feel a deep sorrow. We were once in pictures together, and I used to kiss those smiling lips often. Every day with you was never too much. I honestly would never have grown tired of you by my side. You filled a void in me. You shined a light into my dark places and made me glow. I honestly believed it would never end. How foolish.
All things in life have an ending – A starting point and a finish line. Why did I think we would be any different? Perhaps it’s because you forced me to believe in something I never believed in before – Love, forever, family, a future. You shaped me into someone better. Before you I was blind and with you I could see. Like a blanket perfectly stretched across soft grass, no parts unseen, my future was also perfectly laid out. For once I could imagine everlasting joy.
It’s been years now and maybe you don’t even remember me. Maybe you can hardly recall my face or what my voice sounded like, but I could never forget you. Even if I didn’t have pictures to remind me, I would still be able to picture your face, all of your soft features, and hear you’re laugh. I still do.
Do you remember what we once were, what we once shared? Was it as real to you as it was to me? It may have been only a moment in your life but it was so much longer, so much more for me. Oh’ how I loved you.
I tell myself I need to stop looking for you and searching you online to view your present life, because every time I do I’m reminded of how much I lost and it’s like saying goodbye to you over and over again. You are not mine any longer. I need this pain, that still has a rawness, to go away so that I can begin anew.
You don’t live in the past as I do because you have created a new life for yourself. One filled with all of the things I once dreamed we would have together.
You were the love of my life and you maybe didn’t even know it. I was naive enough to think I had enough time to tell you everything you meant to me. They say that ‘what’s meant to be will always find a way’ but I disagree. I sense, deep in my soul, it was supposed to turn out to be you and I. I reckon it was all the little things I didn’t do that added up to be the big things that you needed. I was young and clueless and didn’t even know what I had. I didn’t even know what regret felt like yet.
I would give anything to be able to go back and do it all again but life just doesn’t work that way. You can’t rewind time and get years back. I have no choice but to go forward. To finally get over you, us.
I will forever remember my time with you and I will forever grieve not trying harder to keep you and my heart will always be a little bit broken. For, once someone steals a piece of it, you never truly get it back, it can’t ever be whole again. But it can be healed.
We were strangers.
And in all of the places we could be that night and of all of the times,
what were the odds that we should be in the exact place at the exact time?
Our eyes meeting, our hearts pounding, something inside of us stirring.
You smiled and I melted.
I didn’t know it at the time but my life would never be the same.
A handsome stranger would become the best part of my life.
You were strong and kind, mature beyond your years.
You were brave and fearless and I remember, when getting to know you, how much I envied the way you had lived your life.
Sixteen years later, I can still recall everything about that night, like it was yesterday.
Watching a boy, in a black leather jacket, steal my heart away with his infectious joy.
Looking at you now I see a man, your hair fallen away and parts turned silver.
I love you so much but we have grown so far apart.
The years have seen us through many ups and downs,
some crazy adventures and a lot of mistakes, but we are still here,
getting through this life as best we can.
As individuals and as a couple.
You are tired.
You have a sadness about you.
Your heart is like an anchor in your chest, a heaviness weighing you down.
Filled to overflowing with burdens and responsibilities.
The years have crept up on us, time has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?
One minute you are young, with the best days ahead of you and,
the next you are grown up with this full life, that sometimes just seems like a long list of to-do’s.
Loves grows from something wild and passionate to something steady and reasonable.
You pass each other in the hallway, never really seeing one another.
And as time goes by you once more return to being strangers.
The way things used to be, long forgotten.
God, I don’t want to be that far away from you.
Take my hand and let me help you remember who you used to be,
Who we used to be.
During these bleak winter days, when the trees stand naked stripped of their once leafy branches and the world seems to be covered in snow, where once it was flowing in the bright emerald green of the grass, it can feel as if the world is dying a little.
You might look out your window and only see what isn’t there, but like a caterpillar, the world is in a cocoon, or a state of growth.
You can’t see the changes taking place beneath the soil and deep within the roots but change is happening every day.
And if we look closely, we can see the beauty in the blankness.
Without the leaves, our views change.
We can see further, beyond what is covered up in the warmer months when shade is needed.
The stark white of the snow against the dull grey of the sky seems to shine like a thousand tiny crystals, making the entire earth glow.
There is a wonderful simplicity during this season where things are shed and things are lightened.
It can be a simple reminder for us to unpack a few things ourselves, shed our own ‘leaves’ and lighten our own loads.
We too can find beauty in letting go of the parts of ourselves that no longer serve us.
I believe God created people and seasons with change in mind.
He wants us, just like he wants this earth, to constantly be growing and changing and becoming.
Just as the caterpillar blooms into a magnificent butterfly, full of grace and freedom and courage, so will you.
So will your world.
I walked away from my old life and became someone that you wouldn’t even recognize anymore, yet you still continue to pursue me with your old tricks.
It took me years to build up the courage to find some distance from you but even with the distance, there was no escape.
You had, overtime, put me in my very own prison where you were the warden.
You controlled me and intertwined your life with mine so that there was no way to tell where I began and you ended.
It was hard to find my way out but when you are drowning you will fervently search for that small pocket of air and I found it.
I love you but I cannot have you near me.
I set myself free from the cage you put me in and I will never go back.
Freedom tastes so good and in it I have found a deep sense of peace.
I love you but I will have to love you quietly and from afar.
You will never understand how much you hurt me or how much I tried to stay.
You only see wrongdoing in me.
I can live with that because I know the truth.
I walked away from my old life and walked right into a new life, fuller and richer than I could’ve ever imagined, and I am staying here.
Do not look for me or worry about me.
I am, for once, fully alive and fully okay.
And just like that, you will one day peer out your window and notice the leaves are changing from that enviable emerald green hue to a crisp, golden orange, wildly dancing around in the breeze, looking as if they’ve caught fire. You will watch as, day by day, they shed their leaves and become bare, like tall sticks ascending from the ground, leaving behind their summer beauty. It is a wonderful reminder that we too are able to shed that which no longer serves us and begin again.
Before I was a mama I imagined that raising kids was easy.
My young mind pictured motherhood as holding babies, changing diapers, late-night feedings and early afternoon naps.
I pictured firsts. First words, first tooth, first steps.
Never did I envision mouthy toddlers, independent school-age kids, and a sulky teenager.
I didn’t foresee the days of exhaustion and thanklessness.
The heartache, doubt, regret, and irritation that sneaks in on a daily basis.
Before I was a mama I equated having a baby to instantaneous happiness.
I didn’t think my life would be any less but so much more.
And part of me was right.
Babies are hard work and in giving so much of yourself away to care for them, you might feel like you lose yourself, the person you were before.
I know at times, many times, I did.
But before my eyes, as my babies grew through the years I started to see the light in motherhood.
It comes from little messy smiles, an unexpected hug, bedtime cuddles, Eskimo and butterfly kisses, the sound of their laughter, knowing that to them you are the entire world.
As they grow it comes in the form of asking your opinion, telling you about their day, asking how your day’s been, an ‘I love you mom” in a text, wanting to sit next to you on the couch, still giving you hugs even though they are almost as tall as you.
Like life, motherhood goes through phases and they are each so precious, yet so fleeting.
Don’t rush them.
In the blink of an eye, they will be over.
Nothing about being a mama is like I pictured long ago in my youthful days, long before I could ever understand this kind of grace, this kind of sacrifice, this kind of joy.
I could never know because I had never understood this kind of love before.
Until I was a mama.