The hubs and I went on what I call a ‘date night’ walk this evening. We needed some alone time, a quiet moment to breathe and just be together. We live out in the country where there are dirt roads and wide open spaces…The perfect place to get lost in God’s beauty. As we held hands (and I stopped to take a few pics) we talked about the crisis happening all around us right now, and as we talked we both felt all of our anxieties and worries lifting off of our shoulders. In this quiet world, where the future is unknown and all of our lives have been upended we decided this is the perfect time for us to press the reset button. I think God is giving us an opportunity to slow down, to look up and finally see what we have. I don’t know about you but I feel like this could be a time of great blessings. We are going to let this time, this worldly pause, reveal to us how we can be better, how we can do better and I hope our new normal will look nothing like the old one. Take it two ways, this time can either cause you stress and panic or it can be a time of paving a new road into a much needed change.
Sitting in the downpour, it felt like the world was falling apart around me.
That wet wooden bench was my foundation but it felt like it might melt into the earth and take me along with it.
How did I even get to this moment?
Once upon a time, the sun was shining and my heart was full.
The clouds were bright and the sky was the color of the ocean.
Possibilities seemed endless and hope was abundant.
Like birds flying through the air, full of freedom and grace, was my life.
Most days I felt not like I was walking but that I was dancing, floating above the ground.
Now I sit in the rain, soaking wet and completely broken.
You took with you the sun.
I raise my face to the darkening heavens and a million little tears fall upon my already wet skin.
Let this rain cleanse me so that I can be made new.
Let it fill in the cracks so that I can feel whole again.
I am tired of feeling so heavyhearted.
I shiver a little as the air around me grows colder and I take a deep breath.
I feel the weight of myself collapse so that I am lying on this bench and I give up.
I give up you. I give up us. I give up the promises and hopes we once said we had.
I give them up to whoever will take them and I let myself drown in my misery.
Like a seed that has just been planted, this water will help me grow, from something so small and buried and unnoticed to something that rises above the surface for the entire world to behold.
From this ugliness will bloom beauty.
In time I can walk away from this soaking wet, wooden bench, and start down the path to a new way, a new life, a new me.
In time, this moment will be only a memory with less feeling attached to it.
But for now, I just need to be here, in the rain, letting go.
Sometimes holidays aren’t joyous. There is no anticipation of seeing parents, relatives, family. There’s no visiting people who love you and know you because they raised you.
Sometimes holidays aren’t households full of families, long tables set for dinner where love is emulated over food and stacks of presents await opening under a lit tree.
Sometimes holidays aren’t anything but empty days that remind you of all that you don’t have. As you look around you see and hear about other people’s plans and you feel like you have just experienced a great loss all over again.
You envy the excitement, laughter, fullness of being loved by so many and you wonder what that would even feel like. To be surrounded so that you didn’t feel so lonely. To be noticed so that you didn’t feel so invisible. To be loved so that you didn’t feel so worthless.
Every year, the holidays come and every year they take another piece of my heart. Especially when I see the sadness on my children’s faces as they too wonder why it is only us when others have so many. I try to give them all of me but I know that it isn’t enough. They will grow up never knowing the love of an extended family. If I could give them one thing it would be that.
Instead, we make do with our own little family. We put up the tree, decorate cookies, wrap presents and listen to Christmas songs. We do our best to make the best of what we do have, all the while knowing exactly what we’re missing.
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.
I grew up in a house, not a home.
Fighting was as normal as breathing.
Chaos ensued almost every day between my parents.
I had a father, not a dad. A woman who gave birth to me, not a mother.
I had two brothers but really I was an only child.
My childhood was not terrible but it was not wonderful.
It was marked by alcoholism, divorce, almost stepdads and lots of tears.
My mother didn’t give her love away unconditionally and my father didn’t know how to give away love unless it was attached to a dollar sign.
In fact, money was what my parents lived for. My father worked endless hours to provide a life that my mother pretty much demanded…diamonds, fur coats, nice cars, a nice house, clothes, maids, lots of “stuff”. My mother’s happiness was always tied up to things. Money was the root of everything in our home and my mother spent more than was coming in. Hence, all the fighting going on between her and my father.
It’s no wonder that growing up, I began to lack some of the tools I’d need to get through life. Life lessons were screwed up and my understanding of what love meant was blurry and confusing. I began to wonder if I was even worthy of any kind of love so I began to date the “bad boys”. I had relationships that mimicked my parents…..lots of fighting, no respect and anger. It was I who was causing all of this turmoil. I was picking fights, pointing out faults. I was saying mean things because it was what I thought this whole relationship thing was about. It was what I had seen first hand in my parent’s marriage.
It wasn’t until I met a boy that wouldn’t put up with my insanity, that I began to change. This person called me out on my crap. Left me (literally) to see if I could get it together and then came back and taught me what real love truly is and what it’s not. This man, who is now my husband, is my lifesaver. The someone who struggled with me but stood by me and has always been my rock. He came into my life at the perfect time and with him, I have become who I needed to be. Our relationship started out thorny but has blossomed over the years into something beautiful. Even though we are polar opposites we are perfect together. We are best friends. We finish each other’s sentences. Over the years we have built a home. This home is full of love, understanding, faith, and all things that a family should be. My husband gave me a gift for which I could never repay. He saved me from all the wrong roads I most likely would’ve gone down. He saved me from repeating the pattern.
I will always have tangled, messy memories of my broken childhood, but with my husband, building a family with him, the love he gives me so freely, I have finally found my home.
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.
I wake to the sound of music blaring. My alarm clock telling me the day has started. I steal a quick glance at the red blare that is the time and hit the snooze button. I lie back down, my head sinking once again in the soft, grey pillow. It’s still dark outside and I want to go back to sleep more than anything, but I have things to do. I have no other option but to wake up. My eyes feel groggy and my mind feels heavy. I didn’t sleep well last night. My mind kept racing over events of the day and it kept me from finding any peace in the quietness of the night. Now I am at once, thinking over things again, not even 2 minutes after I awake.
Life sometimes feels so heavy and burdensome. I feel like I’m given way more than I can handle and not the proper tools to handle them with. There is this life I want, the one I am trying to build and then there is the life I have, my past, that I can’t seem to shake. I think maybe because I keep revisiting what already happened and I keep trying to fix it, make it different now, in the future. Why can’t I realize that I can’t change things, it’s not within my power. I’m tired of feeling a lack of worth. I’m tired of having this hole inside of me that I keep trying to fill. I’m tired of punishing myself with what I did, what I should’ve done and a thousand regrets.
Often I look at my age and wonder how I got to be this old already and things are still going on like this. I want to make you love me like I needed all these years. I want to help you see how you wronged me and I want you to apologize. I want to be able to have a relationship with you that is healthy and good. I reach out to you, I try to talk to you, I let you back in again and again and again but still you are unchanged. I love you because you raised me and there are some good parts of you I remember but I can’t keep subjecting myself to you. Every time we try, the pieces of me I have built, all the hard work I have done, start crumbling down. These years we have been apart I have become someone else, a person that is stronger, more confident, less angry. I have discovered things about myself I never knew before. I have bloomed and grown into a life I love. I have no room for toxic people, negativity, manipulation, guilt, and lies. You can choose to not see the truth and create your own reality but I want no part of it. I know what happened, I know the truth. For most of my life, I have been dragging you along, hoping to change you, now I see how much of a burden that has been and how impossible a feat. I am tired and my life is not being lived the way it should. You are older. You may not have a lot of years left on this earth and I hate to think of years going by, with us not speaking, and one day getting the call that you have passed. I wish more than anything, we could have a relationship. I will miss you like I have been. I will grieve for the mother I never had but always wanted. This is the last time I will try. This is the last time I will say goodbye. I will always love you but, from afar and quietly.
Blaring music once again fills the room and I quickly shut it off. I can do this. I need to do this. It is time once again to let you go. This time for good. So I rise up, out of bed, and begin to take back my life. Little by little. Piece by piece.