You know the sunsets that make you want to run into the ocean to catch the last glimpse of breathtaking goodness? The ones that stop you in your tracks because they’re the last thing you ever expected to look at as a gift…and too soon….or not soon enough, it’s time to say good-bye.
I’ve been saying for a long time that I’m over my quarter-life crisis…and then an extra piece of the puzzle manages to find it’s way into another opening that just needed to be closed.
Some of those pieces, most recently have been my ministry. No. those puzzle pieces, they’ve been redemption. I’ll write more about my mission trip later, right now though, I can only share this part.
I am not pure.
And you probably had that figured out after I spent last summer with the darkest man I’ve ever known. There’s a quote by Mary Oliver, MY FAVORITE:
Someone once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
And like I said last night, the best part of my 2012.
I keep going back to that day, that day that still has
parts just one part of me smiling… I was sitting on the couch (with what he so kindly avoided to tell me until he left, tequila barf breath). And in his Lloyd Christmas voice he said, “How ‘bout a hug….” Where then I so appropriately responded, “I hate good-byes.”
It wasn’t good-bye though. Because for the last ten months I have racked my brain wondering why we couldn’t have our shit together enough just to be together. And I questioned this love that so quickly developed. The love that I choose to define so differently than he. The love that’s sacrificial and that deep in my heart I knew he felt for me. Why else would things end when they did? Yet, there we were.
And oh, how I’ve come a long way since. I’ve found the sweetest most beautiful redemption that knows the difference between real love and obligatory love. I choose real. I choose pure. I choose everything in between for Him.
I guess maybe I can talk about the mission trip more than I intended to. My job was to give the evening devotionals. The ones that focused on relationships forcing me to look at my past that took me there… The ones that made me focus on my own with the Lord (the second to last puzzle piece, for real…and it fit, LIKE A GLOVE). So then came purity, and the release in knowing that my heart is what makes me pure. And there I was. Realizing that his darkness is what had made me impure…but to be with a community of believers that rise you up to the break of redemption, the place where you meet beauty, the place where you meet His definition of Love.
Meet purity. Meet the laughter. Meet the sunset—you’ve made it.
And then you haven’t. That’s the thing about purity, it’s worth the fight, if only you’re strong enough to win it.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
(James 5:16-18, The Message)
I confess: I got a text…from him, reminding me of the fun that isn’t so light hearted, but as I’m finding in this great place I’m in was more like life-“hard”ed. And somehow the purity went out the window, and his darkness had a way of revealing the worst part of me. And Darkness found a way to separate me from those beautiful colors of redemption…I wasn’t strong enough…
Oh but friends, up until 34 minutes ago, He was painting something that I could never catch.
and so I asked him this:
Please, PLEASE, be honest… honest enough not to worry about my feelings: was there any part of you at all that actually loved me?
The quickest, easiest way for me to fill you in is to just repeat his, “no.” Like if he had said yes, it would have changed things; maybe defined why I held on to the impurities for the past 10 months and have been so rocked by the re-rise of that masterpiece of darkness….
But he didn’t say no. And he didn’t need to. I just needed to ask… to be sure I was ready.
And I am. Ready to return to the purity, the one that shines a brighter light on my heart that deserves so much more than the “flirty” fun that risks another 10 months of ignorance.. for that’s a beauty that I’m now grasping SO TIGHTLY.
So I told him this:
you held too much of my heart. I won’t do that to myself again. be proud and let that drum roll in my honor.
you’re amazing… but I deserve more…and believe me: I would love every bit of fun and you all over again.. and again and again and again if you were willing to give me that. that’s right, it’s still beating.
and then he agreed, because he knows I do too. But here…
That’s where I come to you darlings. I love, LOVE that you love me so much. I love that you’re protective and say things like, “YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GO SEE HIM ARE YOU?!?!!!!” But I also love that you love my heart and the rediscovered purity that is buried among many more impurities.
My purity says this. “love him anyway.”
My friends, my family, my church-mamas, and all of you that saw the love he awakened in me: pray for him, because he needs it more than I EVER will. Oh, how I just want him to accept the love he deserves as much as I do. Oh, how I just want him to know what it feels like to catch a sunset, to breathe it in for another person the way I did him, the way I do Him…and oh, oh, ohhhhh, how I just want him to believe he deserves it. Because we all do. It’s called grace. Find it.
I want to clarify too, my purity is saying one more thing…good-bye [insert name that I’m never allowed to type because his nosy ass nanny maybe spying on my blog—that’s right, I just called you out…and you won’t ever deserve him… and while we’re on it, I never should have given up my writers-chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity that you stole through your own darkness…]
Where was I… Goodbye phone number, goodbye email (no really, I just deleted his contact card), goodbye facebook (oop… and there goes that “friendship”). Goodbye my favorite what-if…
Guess what though, there are no more what-ifs with you.
Just the what-ifs of Faithfulness that honors my faithfulness.
My dad prayed these words over me the last time he gave me a redemption promise. (someday I’ll be able to open this letter without crying. I love you, Daddy.)
“We know that He works in miraculous ways to achieve His goals, and most of the time He doesn’t give us any clues about what He is doing…we do know, however, that through our faith in Him, He will provide us with what are the best things for us.”
So through the darkness, you really were the best gift, so worth my love then, so worth His love now.
And, I love you, so deeply I loved every part of you. But I choose purity. I choose redemption. I choose goodbye.