What with the onset of July here, it was discussed and decided amongst the panelists ((panelists here meaning the multitude of voices pinging back and forth in my brain which I can only assume are budding multiple personalities and/or onset of the mild schizophrenia that tends to follow creative minds around like a bad shadow)) ((or just the fact that I think a lot which sounds more reasonable to me))…
Oh hell, where was I going with that?
Right! Basically I figured it mightn’t be such a bad idea to do a little mid-game recap of how my “One Little Word” project was going so far.
So 2013, what’s been going on with you?
Nutshell version is that 2013 has been far from what I’d have imagined when the clock struck midnight there at the turn of the calendar. And yet even with the unforeseen roughness of it all, I can’t say with any honesty that I’d really change any of it. I’d love if a few things were different, but can I really say that I’d change anything if I had that power? That I’m not too sure about. Because with that would come the undoing of so much of the good that has come from even the hardest moments. It would mean undoing the incredible leaps of faith I’ve been left with no choice but to take. It would mean the strengthening of friendships would be undone.
But mostly it would be the undoing of what I’ve learned about love. And that, in the first place, was what I set out and promised to learn the most about this year.
True to form, God has been clever with this one. Already he’s shown me more than what I deserve when it comes to unveiling a few corners of his mysteries but the lessons that have come down are not at all what I’d hoped they’d be.
I’ll take a minute here to wipe the shocked expression from my face.
But really, I mean, what did I expect? That God would carefully consider my plan for how I’d learn the lessons I need and think, “Wow kid, you’ve got a point there, what was I thinking? We’ll do it your way.”
…So then when I got down off my high horse, I was able to look to the heavens and say with all sincerity:
“Oh, the cleverness of You.”
((major points to anyone who catches that one))
So God took a roundabout way and along with learning a few things about what unconditional love really means, He decided to gently ((read: not so gently)) remind me Who was in charge here and to trust Him – even when faced with what was basically my worst nightmare.
A little more than halfway through the year here, and while I’m up to my ears with joy – honest to God joy - there is still always that touch of it all sneaking back up on me, beckoning from the darkness to lose hope and give up faith and call it all a sham because don’t-we-desreve-to-be-happy-and-why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people-and-THIS-ISN’T-FAIR-DAMMIT.
Love takes on many forms. A romantic love, surprisingly for me, was something that wasn’t exactly easy to let go of, but it made enough sense. In retrospect, I get that. But as I mentioned before, the love that comes in the form of friendship – that’s the one that’s the hardest. After all, at least to me, friendship love is one that makes the least amount of sense but often means the most. Not even “most” necessarily, but in so many ways, it transcends romance. So often you hear that the best relationships, the best marriages, are built on a foundation of friendship.
When my relationship was ending, the one thing I was – and still am to this day, regardless of how things have turned lately – grateful for was that the friendship was left relatively unscathed. I still had my best friend in there somewhere. He was still there for me, and I for him. And for two years after we closed the book on “us”, our friendship was still there. We tested it and tortured it, but at the end of the day I think we both knew there was something in the other person we were grateful for; grateful that there was at least one other person out there who knew our heart so well and would drop everything to cross heaven and hell if it meant being there for the other.
When I looked to the sky on Easter Sunday, trying so hard to keep it together in that back bedroom of Frankie and Matty’s house, trying to make heads or tails of the reality I was now facing, all I could say was “Well-played, God… You wanted to teach me something, well boy you’re doing one hell of a job of it.”
I’ll be honest with you. I miss it. I am aching for that friendship, desperately missing one of my best friends and still grappling with trying to understand why it was so unceremoniously and abruptly abandoned without so much as a word, just the hope, I guess, that I’d figure it out eventually.
It hurts. Sure it does, of course it does, but it’s become the key factor in my trusting an almighty God with what I cannot – never could – control. And somewhere in there, somewhere in the muck of it all and somewhere between the blinding tears and scalding anger, I found an even deeper reliance on the real Love I was so achingly in need of.
More and more, and with each passing day, I find myself more and more joyful in His love. The love that created all of this. The love that has been there even when other love has faded away.
On the other side of this coin of course has been the outpouring of love from my friends, the ones who were here to hold me up when the bottom fell out. The ones who reminded me that I was family and that they weren’t going anywhere. The ones who promised me on top of promises that though my trust in “promises” has been deeply shaken, that their words are indestructible. Their love is beyond promise and reason and doubt.
I fall to my knees knowing how much they love me. The ache where a friendship once was, and that hollow in my life has been buoyed and strengthened by their love. And for that, there are simply no words.
I want to fast forward. So badly I wish that I could move through time and get to that place where it gets better again, if it gets better again. And at the same time I want for nothing but to slow it all down, somehow stall time and allow things to catch back up with themselves. Not enough is changing fast enough, that’s what I keep fearing. Totally ignoring all that has already evolved and all that is still moving. But at the same time, there it is – that frantic hope that things will somehow speed up. It’s exhausting really. Some days it seems that everything I tried so hard to lay down keeps finding its way back to me and no matter how hard I try to keep my grip loose, no matter the gravity pulling it from my open hand, I keep holding onto something God will continue to make me realize was not mine to hold in the first place.
Someday I’ll get it. Someday I will pay enough attention when He says “enough… Enough now.” and allow him the full reign of my heart He so determinedly goes after.
But until then, I love Him for his patience, I love my friends for their support and I love that I find myself in the position to know the real power of love – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Because knowing that love is ultimately what it’s all about makes it a lot easier to want to know every side of it there is.