untitledWhen I was 21, something interesting happened to me: I met a boy. And he liked me.

I know what you’re thinking: wow, Beth, you really live on the edge.

Well, here’s the thing. I was kinda with my long-time boyfriend at the time, kinda not. We were post-broken-engagement-still-trying-to-date-with-no-commitment-after-being-darn-near-completely-committed, and it was a recipe for disaster. I was a vulnerable, hurting, bottomless little girl who was crawling out of her skin from rejection and abandonment and attempting to cling and claw and not knowing how to keep loving this man with abandon all the while no longer having any commitment at all.

It was a mess. Okay, better put: I was a mess.

And then I met this other boy. And he liked me. And I was gone.

He said I was beautiful. Like, a lot. And he wrote about me in his journal. And then he would read it to me. Umm, yeah.

But then another something interesting happened to me.

I realized ten weeks in that I missed my ex-boyfriend/ex-fiancee.  And so I ended things with the boy-I-was-gone-over and went back to my ex.

And the road not taken dangled in front of me for twenty years, and I had to sit with two questions:

“Why did I willingly walk back into a relationship that was mutually difficult?”

and

“Why did I willingly walk away from ease and intimacy and abundant love?”

The answer to the first is sadly simple. It’s what I knew. It’s what I had come to expect. It’s what I believed I deserved. It’s what I was comfortable with. Dysfunction and conflict and tears and struggling were not just my norm, they were home to me.

But the answer to the second question – why did I walk away from good – plagued me well past my divorce was final.

Because I wondered, deep down, if I didn’t have it in me to attract a man who would like me for me and treat me well and not fight with me. I wondered, deep down, if all I really deserved were either the uphill fight, the begging for affection, or worse I thought, no fight and no affection at all.  And I wondered, deep down, if I had it in me to move past forty-something years of woundings to become healthy enough to recognize something good when I saw it and to enter into a friendship and to, just maybe, someday, let myself be cherished.

When I was 21-years-old, I didn’t know myself. I didn’t understand men. I didn’t believe in love. And I didn’t trust God.

But a lot has happened since then.  And now I do know myself. And now I kinda understand men. And now I do believe in love. And now I do trust God.

But how about you, sweet girl? Can you say all those things?  Because that is what has healed me.  That is what is different.  That is why, next time..…if there is to be a next time..…I’m ready and willing and will walk toward and not run away from the good.


If this post encouraged you, you would benefit from “Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage”, found here.