To explain to you my current issue of letting go, I needed you to understand my sixth sense, and that I tend to trust it. Now you do. Or if you don't, go read it and then come back to this.
I wrote the following paragraph in the last entry:
I wrote a friend recently that it's a fine line between faith and foolishness, in particular reference to holding onto the hope of a relationship. When our faith is "rewarded" we look good. When it's not, it is quick to be dismissed as foolishness. I don't like that the wisdom in these choices can only be decided in hindsight and based upon results, but even as I type that, I recognize there are a lot of situations where our wisdom can only be seen when what we anticipate comes to fruition.
I am a big fan of romance. I love Nicholas Sparks. The Notebook is both my favorite book and my favorite movie. I recently watched The Vow and The Lucky One, and another favorite movie of mine is The Time Traveler's Wife. I love the idea that "true love" wins in the end. Against all odds. Against separation. I am a sap.
I don't think I believe in "The One" although I do have moments while in love, that I believe in soul mates. I think there are a series of "ones". I am too cynical to think that in a world of 7 billion, there is only ONE and that many of us are fortunate enough to find it. Although I did find comforting Plato's description of us initially as hermaphrodites, separated and then always looking for our other half. Again, I am a hopeless romantic.
It gets me in trouble.
When I was with my wife, particularly towards the end with her volatility I had at some level come to peace with the possibility that we would separate at some point. That one day she would push me away and she would run away. But like all good romances, I had determined that I would stay true to her and wait for her to get herself together and come back to me. That I made a vow to her and I had every intention of keeping it. I would continue to wear my ring and wait.
There's a country song that talks about leaving every light in the house on to let one's love know that they were waiting for them. There's another country song about someone leaving and moving to Austin a year before and this guy leaving a message for her at on his answering machine message which he changed frequently, but always ended: "If this is Austin, I still love you".
There is something "noble" in waiting.
In the end, my wife crossed a line I couldn't have even imagined. I didn't know I had such lines, but when she did it, my reaction was immediate, and I pulled off the rings I swore I would always wear. Not in anger, not in outrage, not in the middle of an argument - as she had done several times - but in acceptance. It was over. And I could never trust her and be with her again after what she had done.
(A friend just texted me completely apropos and completely unrelated, but amusing, nonetheless in this context, as if she were reading over my shoulder: "She's an evil bitch". I'm not sure I would go that far, but again, in context, I thought it was amusing...).
That decision haunted me. In fact, it still haunts me. But I trust it. (That sixth sense trust your gut thing) I do not expect that one day she will come riding in on her white horse and that she will have done the very hard work that she needs to do to be healthy and that she'll want me back. I do not want that. I want her to be healthy, and it would be nice to know that she was well, but I have let go and I know better than to go back.
You would think that experience might teach me something about this ideal of waiting. But it doesn't.
I was very fortunate that an old friend came riding in on her white horse to help me pick up the pieces of my life. As was completely natural, I fell in love with her, even though she wasn't available. It was impossible not to. But, at the moment, she remains unavailable. (Love those qualifiers).
We became close in that period of time and we shared practically everything. She told me multiple times - almost with surprise - that I was the best friend she'd ever had, and that she had never been closer to anyone else. She told me that she could imagine sharing her life with me. But circumstances changed, and she is gone.
My feelings for her are unchanged. And despite new interests and distractions, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her and miss her. A lot of really hard things would have to happen in her life for us to be together. And I don't want her to experience that pain. So I have not pushed. I am not pushing. But I am waiting.
I don't believe I should have my life on hold, and I don't believe that I shouldn't be with others, necessarily, while I wait. And perhaps in that process - moving forward in my life - I might find that I do move on. I accept that possibility, and at moments, I hope that it will happen. But I feel this strong feeling in my gut, deep down in my bones, that in the end, we'll be together - or at the very least, we still have more in our future together, and I can't seem to let go of that. As that one guy said to the other in Brokeback Mountain, I just can't seem to quit her.
But I have moments - LOTS of them - when I wonder whether I'm listening to the voice of God pushing me to remain open, or just my own strong, stubborn will. And whether I should start letting go.
I loved this scene from The Notebook back when I was still with my wife - the arguing part struck me then. The "pain-in-the ass" 99% of the time resonated loudly!
Young Noah: Would you just stay with me?
Young Allie: Stay with you? What for? Look at us, we're already fightin'
Young Noah: Well that's what we do, we fight... You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are a pain in the ass. Which you are, 99% of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a 2 second rebound rate, then you're back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing.Young Allie: So what?
Young Noah: So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What's it look like? If it's with him, go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that's what you really wanted.Today, what resonates from me as I read this passage, is the last part: "I lost you once, I think I can do it again." The idea that we can withstand the loss, and yet, not let go.
Because that is where I am today. Maybe my faith is foolish. Apparently, only time will tell. But right now, apparently, I'm not yet ready to let go...
And this is what I was really thinking about when I started the Endings entry with: "Letting go is never easy. Figuring out when to and how to make it harder still."
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