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Time for a post-mortem. You know what I'm talking about.
How easy it was to stick with the status quo, even when the quo involved distance and graduate school. How tempting it was, when I lapsed into doubt, to return to the relationship resume, the one that made us perfect together on paper, the one that argued why in today's kiss-and-run dating world, we had all the ingredients for long-term success.
In this sense, Break-Up, you were wily. You always skipped around the back of my mind after hard conversations. Your ears perked up when warning bells chimed during everyday moments. And you had the absolute hubris to play devil's advocate: "Look at the values you share." "That shouldn't annoy you." "You need to be more understanding."
Be honest: You liked to play the fear card too. "I don't want to hurt someone I care about." "I'm afraid of having to date again." "The love of novels and rom-coms doesn't exist."
Then your own better half -- the still, small voice -- made herself known. She'd been gently prodding me for months, you know. She sensed what lay outside my rational arguments. And she asked questions. Hard ones. Ones I plugged my ears against and cried about at night. I have journal pages packed with half-answers and half-lies, all in response to her.
She played the fear card too, though in a different way. "I can't spend my whole life with someone who doesn't make my heart leap." "I don't want a marriage that dies by death of a thousand paper cuts." "I don't want to miss out on everything I am supposed to become."
When the internal dialogue reached the breaking point, she stepped out from her shadowy corner and took my hand.
Do you trust me? she asked.
Not really, I said.
Can you try? she asked.
Do I have a choice? I replied.
Not really, she shrugged. But don't worry. I've got ya.
Then you swooped in for the kill, Break-Up. And we did the deed.
I say to people now, "I'm the one that initiated it." But I know that you know that we both know someone else did. It's whoever owns the still, small voice in my gut. It's that kind but persistent nag. She did it.
So, thanks to the two of you, I'm back to wondering what and who I'm meant for. Unlike past forays into lovelorn daydreams, though, I have new fortifications. For example, I'm recommitted to what love means for and to me. I accept that ending a relationship, especially the un-right ones, counts as success, not failure. I'm tuning out my uterus and thinking of my soul.
For all this, I thank you, Break-Up. And please pass an even bigger thank you along to your better half. Despite my grousing, I appreciate your efforts now, and will probably appreciate them even more in the future.
Take care (of me and others) --
P.S. Also tell her I won't be so stubborn next time.
P.P.S. On second thought, I can't promise that. Just tell her I will do my best. Thanks.
Prayer #206: Catch Me (If I Let You)
You prompt, You cajole, You urge, You demand that I jump ... yet You don't show me the net.
Fair? I think not.
I'm not giving You the satisfaction of my abject fear and terror. I'm staying right here on my ledge. I have a pillow and some snacks. I'm good to go. You'll just have to sit there, somewhere below me in the mist, holding a net I can't see, waiting.
I hope You brought water, because this could take awhile.
I'm fine with talking while we sit here. We can talk the whole damn day. Why don't we talk about the fact You want me to pitch forward on a mere whim, with the vague reassurance of "it'll be ok" as my parachute?
No, I'm not misunderstanding the situation. You want me to JUMP. Laws of gravity dictate that I will plummet once my feet leave this ledge. I will fall down. Most likely in a hard and splattering fashion.
Well, have you ever seen anybody fall up?
So gravity doesn't apply? I just jump, stretch my arms up, and grab onto You?
Hmm. That does remove the need for a net I can't see. Though I'm struggling with the whole 'lack of gravity and other natural laws' part of this ...
Just let me think about it, ok? This is a rather different proposition. I need to mull it over. And eat some snacks.
But I do hear You. I could buy into that, I think. Just stay close by, and we'll keep talking. That will help. Thanks.
Want a Cheez-It?