Back to the Shadows

Take all the time you need to heal emotionally.
Moving on doesn’t take a day, it takes lots of little
steps to be able to break free of your broken self.
— Tere Arigo

No matter how bad you want a person, if your hearts are
in two different places, you’ll have to pass and move on.
— Alexandra Elle

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.
— Lao Tzu

This post has been a long time in coming mainly, I think, because I didn't want to really admit its content to myself. You'll understand if you read on. But fair warning, dear reader. This is one of those "this is my online diary" type of posts and it's all about the catharsis for me. So if you don't want to read about the flawed inner workings of my mind, I won't blame you a bit if you bail out here. That said, here's the latest on the situation with Len…

…There is no situation with Len. In the words of Inigo Montoya, "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

First, though, let me say that it is impossible for me to overstate how much I would love to have this woman in my life. There's a reason she remained on my mind all those years. There is something very special about her and I truly believe that, given the chance, we could build something amazing together. But that's all beside the point.

A little over a year ago, Len's life was pretty much upended. I won't go into detail but it will suffice to say there was a lot of hurt. It was a short few months later that she contacted me and we renewed our friendship. Having gone through a similar hurt myself, I was glad to be a sounding board and a safe place to vent if needed. I tried to avoid the typical male response of wanting to "fix" everything but I hated seeing my friend being hurt by people who should want to do anything but that. I honestly had no intention of being anything more than that.

As the weeks went on, though, I was somewhat blindsided by my own feelings — even by the fact that I could feel them to begin with (if you're new here, go back and read some past posts to get caught up) — and I got swept up in the idea that something more might someday develop. I knew that it was a long-term prospect and that she needed time to heal before even considering the possibility but the idea was there.

And that's where I screwed up. All the while when I was trying to build her up and be her understanding friend, there was a hint of selfish desire for more that lied beneath it all. It wasn't the primary motivation for anything I did but it was there nonetheless. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't aware of it at all. Some little part of me was always hoping that by being constant and reliable, it might lay a foundation for more to be built upon later. A prime example is the text messages that I would send her every morning. My purpose in sending them was to (hopefully) help start her day off with a smile, a nice thought, sometimes a meaningful scripture or a fun song here and there. But if I'm honest about it, part of me wanted to keep myself at the front of her mind. Instead of simply — selflessly — being her friend, I was subconsciously trying to manipulate the situation for my benefit if I could.

I'm a cad.

I truly, fully understand that Len and I are in different places emotionally and it will take time for her to be where I am. I've had a few more years to deal with things, after all. And almost everything I've done over the past few months was in an honest effort to make it easier for her to work through things and get to that place. But here's the part I didn't understand. She may not even want to be at that place. At least not yet. I was projecting my own desires and process on her, expecting that she wanted to deal with things the same way I had wanted to. Wow! Talk about clueless and insensitive!

I've continually said that I have to give this whole situation to God. My focus should be on Him and not on my own desires but I'm nothing if not a flawed human being. Far too often I struggle to get out of God's way and let Him do the amazing work He so wants to do. I thought I could give it to Him and continue to have a hand in running it. "Hey God. You're in control but I want to help steer, ok? Gee, God, let's go over there. See how amazing that is over there? We ought to at least go check it out, huh?" Um, no. It doesn't work that way. I have to let go. Let……go. Totally. I have to park my selfish desires — to walk away from the thing I want — and go where He takes me. And I have to accept that it's better even if it doesn't seem like it to my human mind. He sees a greater landscape than we can possibly even know exists. I don't know what God has in store for me, whether it involves Len or not — whether it involves anyone or not — but I do know that I won't fully experience it until I stop trying to force His will into my own.

When I realized that I had been trying to put Len's feelings into my own mold — and then she made a comment that reinforced that — I knew that the only way I can really give it up to God is to fade gently back into the background. I can't keep trying to be a daily part of her life no matter how small. I can't try to shoehorn myself into her consciousness. As someone I care about deeply, I have to want for her what she wants for herself and right now that has nothing to do with me.

I will continue to pray for Len daily — for her kids and her family. I will always be her friend and, should she ever need anything at all, she only needs to ask. My hope that we might find more someday hasn't changed. But I have to trust that God will make that clear to us if and when the time comes. I have to trust that whatever brought me to the forefront of her mind after so many years might do the same again if it is meant to be. If I'm totally honest, there's a part of me that thinks — maybe fears — that I'll never hear from her again. The much larger part of me really hopes that other part is full of crap.

But more than anything, I want her to find incredible peace and true happiness in our loving heavenly Father.

They say when you really love someone, you should be willing to set them free. So that is what I am doing.
I will step back and you will move on. I will let you go… Your happiness means everything to me.
I will listen for your voice in the distance. I will look at the moon. I will keep you in my pocket.
I will carry your smile with me everywhere, like a warm and comforting glow.
—Tabitha Suzuma