Saturday, April 4, 2015

Processing the pain...........

This is an extremely personal and very difficult post for me to share, but since you have were invited into my personal life a few months ago when someone very publicly declared his love to me and then a few months ago with the announcement of our engagement, I feel I must share my thoughts about a recent development in my personal life,  regardless of how painful they may be. It is part of the healing process, I suppose, and Good Friday and the Easter weekend seems like a perfect time to reflect and write as I process the pain and betrayal.

Most of you are aware that I recently announced my wedding engagement. Just two weeks ago I was happily preparing for a future with a wonderful man, but for some reason that I do not yet know,  Bruce has decided that he no longer wants to get married.  Although he has not yet shared the reason for the breakup, and I may never have that privilege, the “whys’ and “what happened” does not really matter at this point. I must simply surrender all of this confusion, heartache, and pain to God, trusting that it was really His intervention that is at work, even if I don’t understand it.  Still, I have been left with a boatload of emotions ranging from disbelief, frustration, embarrassment, shame, anger, but mostly sadness because regardless of what happened, I have lost a friendship with a wonderful man; a friendship that began a long time ago and on that has changed my life. I hope that someday that friendship will be restored and I move forward with only feelings of unconditional love and friendship for a person who changed my life and brought me such joy for a brief time.

And so today…. after two weeks of thinking, hoping, and praying that this is all a bad dream… I have to publicly admit that it really isn’t a dream and that yes, it has happened….and that without an explanation, my engagement has ended.  More important than what happened, however, is the reality that I am okay and peaceful; God has a plan; and that there is much to be learned from these past few months.  This really is an opportunity for me to “walk the walk that is so freely talk” and try to uncover the presence of God in this situation. 

And so… I think…..about how often I say and write, “We cannot control the behavior of others or the things that happen TO us; we must merely control our reaction and response to them.”  The 5-minute conversation ending the engagement is one of those events in life that sometimes “just happen’. We don’t see them coming. There is no explanation. We don’t’ understand and we are simply left shell-shocked saying, “What the hell just happened?”  I’ve been there before when my mother died suddenly at age 54; when I lost my job of 15 years; when I watched my grandparent’s summer home burn to the ground; and when  I received the phone call that my 24 year old cousin died in a car accident.  You’ve been there before too….perhaps with devastating news of illness, death, accident or tragedy.  These are things that sometimes “just happen’ without warning; without explanation; without making any sense and they leave us devastated, hurt, and confused. These events have the power to destroy us….if we allow it…..or to strengthen and empower us…..if we can work through the pain and surrender it to God, seeking His grace and strength. 

Oftentimes, it is these losses that set us on a downward spiral and become the root of our addictive behavior because we try to numb the pain with food, drink, shopping, bitterness, and a whole plethora of other behavior that ultimately does more harm than good. I know; I’ve been there – done that, and admittedly did again the past two weeks when I ate 7 protein bars in two days. (NOT GOOD….even though it wasn’t cookies, ice cream, potato chips, or candy…it was still a classic situation of emotional eating. This stops now…because I’m certainly not going to let anything sabotage my entire journey!) In the days of “OLD THERESA” I used food to numb the pain of incredible loss and buried feelings of shame, unworthiness, and sadness with chips and soda. I lost control and I ended up at 400 pounds and unable to walk. You know the story…..perhaps you have one of your own. Fortunately, God set me free from that life and I have better tools in my toolbox now and better ways to cope with heartache and loss.  Be assured that THIS will not destroy me; that I will be back in the game soon; that God’s grace will prevail; and that, in time, I will be OKAY!!!

I realize that I cannot control this situation. I cannot make it go away. I cannot change Bruce’s mind or make him talk to me. I cannot do anything to change this situation other than to offer my friendship, seek God’s strength, and pick up the pieces and move on….but I can control THERESA….and how she responds, and I can CHOOSE how I am going to react.  While it would be easy to choose anger, bitterness, and negativity, that will only hinder my journey and compound the sorrow, so instead, I choose GRATITUDE…..sincere, simply, gratitude, both to God and to Bruce for the wonderful moments of these past several months.

First….. I am grateful to God for allowing our paths to cross and for the ways in which my life was changed over the past year or so. God used this relationship to teach me how to love and to accept love in return after years of building a wall so high around my heart that kept others at a distance.  I learned a lot about myself and am a better person today as a result of this experience.  Second…. I am grateful to Bruce. Regardless of what happened….I have nothing but love and respect for him. He treated me like a princess, showered me with love and affection, wined and dined me, and gave me experiences that I never would have had.  He was able to break down barriers that were preventing me from allowing others to be close to me and helped me accept myself, my body with its imperfections and flaws, and realize that I am okay; I am lovable; I am worthy.  We spent hours and hours laughing, talking, and simply being together. His generosity and kindness were beyond words; his companionship, encouragement, and friendship will be missed; and his presence in my life has left a void……but I am incredibly grateful for the time we did have together. He is a good man and I wish him nothing but peace and happiness in his life.

I am also grateful for each of you who have been a part of this story and my journey.  Your words of support, encouragement, love, and wisdom regarding my relationship have been deeply appreciated, as were all the private notes expressing happiness and good cheer. Mostly, your prayers….then….and NOW as I begin the healing process are welcome and needed.  Please don’t post any NEGATIVE comments or opinions as they will not help. No one is to blame; this is simply God’s will even though I don’t’ see it that way right now.

And so…..on this Holy Weekend of reflection on the pain of the crucifixion and in anticipation of the new life of Easter, I remind you that  yes, indeed, life is sometimes very difficult and our journey sometimes takes us on rocky roads, but the story doesn’t have to end that way.  We get to decide if heartache and pain will win or if we will fight it.  Jesus did not remain in that tomb…..he did not let death destroy Him; He rose again…..and I, too, shall rise from this…and you, too, shall rise from anything that threatens to overcome you!

Am I sad today?  Absolutely heartbroken.  Do I miss Bruce? Immensely.  Am I confused and hurt?  You bet.  Will it destroy me?  No way……because I know and believe…..in spite of the pain….that Romans 8:28 says  “  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.”  I don’t know why…but I know that God has a plan for my life, and therefore, I must simply trust, believe, and be grateful, and continually seek His will.

 

Be blessed today on your own journey and know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers.