Tag Archive: forgiveness

Reaching Out

ImageI must admit I am completely stunned and humbled by the response to yesterday’s post.  I never imagined how many of my friends would be affected by my story.  I also never realized how many people cared for me during that time in my life (and years afterward) and never found a way to share their feelings with me.  As youngsters, most of us had insecurities that prevented us from sharing such sentiments.  But what is our excuse as adults?  What drives us to bury our thoughts, feelings, desires from those we cherish the most?  

Many of you know that I was blessed to marry one of my best friends, Christian.  Before we dated, we shared everything with each other.  I knew all of his secrets (yes, he had plenty) and he preserved all of mine.  As friends, we hurt each other with selfish actions, but we never doubted our love for each other.  As we grew older and our relationship changed to one of intimacy, we became more guarded with our feelings.  We were hesitant to share our moments of sadness, fear, regret, temptation, etc.  Eventually, our conversations grew less meaningful, our silences became more profound.  When I felt Christian withdraw emotionally from me, I responded by building a concrete foundation to secure my own doubts and pain.  After a  time, when Christian found that he needed to reach out to me, he was unable to cross the barriers I had erected and I was too stubborn and prideful to tear them down myself.   We lived in the same house, but there was an ocean dividing us.  

It wasn’t until Christian’s dreadful diagnosis of lymphoma in 2002 that we were forced to “get real” with other.  We had an infant to think about.  We had to put aside the years of mistrust and decide how to move forward to secure a future for our son.  There were attempts at complete reconciliation, but the time for us to mend our internal wounds for a successful marriage had passed.  We poured our hearts out to each other, claiming responsibility for our marital carnage.  We extended a friendly truce to each other, not just for David’s sake, but for the sake of two kids that had once been the best of friends.  When Christian died in 2003, I was distraught.  I was unsure how to make it through the days without hearing his easy-going voice or endless jokes.  The one thought that made Christian’s death more bearable, was knowing that he and I had made peace with each other.  I have never had a single night of regret that Christian did not know how I felt about him or that I would have to live on this earth without his forgiveness.  He and I had overcome the worst of circumstances to become the best of friends again.  But we had to throw away our insecurities with each other, open wide the doorway to our vulnerabilities and lay claim to the love we could resurrect from all of our years together.  

A life-threatening illness, an innocent child and a wrecked marriage motivated our conversations.  You would think that I would have taken that to heart and used that as a learning opportunity to never let another day pass by without telling everyone I love — on whatever level — how much they mean to me.  I should know not to overlook an opportunity to express gratitude, extend a congratulations, share heart-felt sympathy, say a simple “Love you”.  But that childish fear holds me back, makes me question how my sentiments will be taken.  Will they be embraced or thrown back in my face?  Will I be laughed at or turned away?  Looking into that 12 year old girl’s face yesterday, I realize that I have faced much worse in my life.  No one can make me feel as small, lonely, and terrified as I did 28 years ago.  I have nothing to lose by reaching out to those around me.  And honestly, neither do you. 


Tattered Tapestry

I recently posted on my Facebook status “How do you move forward if you don’t know what is holding you back?”  None of my Facebook friends offered me an answer, but one of my novel characters that currently resides in my head did reply.  He told me that my past was holding me back.  He told me I had to let the past go.  Well, it took a few days for his message to truly sink in because I allowed myself to get lost in his beautiful mocha chocolate eyes and I was absolutely mesmerized by the deep dimples that appeared as parentheses around his boyish grin.  Thankfully, I was able to snap out of his seductive trance before my fingers found their way to his black strands of hair that curled provocatively at the collar of his turquoise jersey t-shirt.  Anyway, when I finally allowed myself to concentrate on the meaning of his words I understood what he was trying to tell me; however, I find myself disagreeing, at least partially.  (Now that is perfectly normal Dana behavior!) 

There are parts of my past that I threw away quicker than Blake Shelton can sing “Chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit”.  Obviously, those moments were the ones of regret, questionable decision making or drunken blunders.  But there are parts of my past, or more accurately, people of my past that I don’t want to let go.  There are relationships that ended but with no closure.  These “lost” friends have created patches of emptiness in the tapestry of my life.  In some cases, I am unable to weave these friends back into my life because of death or trauma.  In some cases, I am unable to weave them back into my life because I am afraid I am not made of strong enough fiber to swallow my pride, face my fears or expose my vulnerabilities to them.  I often look at the picture of my life and it is those blank spaces that fill me with so much angst that I allow myself to become stagnant.  I yearn to tie up those loose threads and create a beautiful rendering of what I want my life to look like but since I never learned how to sew, crochet, knit, weave, or patch I find myself unable to do so. 

I know many people would say that for the friends that left by choice, then they weren’t true friends to begin with.  I think we resort to that so-called wisdom when we don’t want to force ourselves into action to right a wrong or to simply communicate an apology or request for an apology.  For many people, letting go is simply far easier than throwing a lifeline and struggling to maintain that hold when we are weary, hungry or in pain.  For me, letting go was easier at the time.  But as time goes on, my soul begs for the second chance, or perhaps even third. 

Maybe I can move forward after attempting to rescue the lost friendships that “incomplete” me.  Maybe if my honest efforts are rebuked, then I can move forward knowing I have at least attempted to put my tapestry through a sewing machine.  Fortunately, I have many fine tailors among my current friends. They will help me learn how to snip those frayed edges.