The past 6 or 8 weeks have been rather interesting for me.
I began dating a man named Keith. I met him online and despite all of my initials worries and fears I found myself enjoying being in a relationship again. The weeks I shared wtih Keith were so positive for me in many ways. I once again felt beautiful and lovable. I felt that, despite being an overweight and frumpy momma to three children, I was once again attractive to someone ... that I was a worth the effort and desirable enough to be sought after. I began to see myself in a different light.
Additionally, time spent talking to Keith and being with him in person taught me a lot about honesty in relationships. While I never lied to Matt about my feelings, but I left a whole lot out. I never ever told him much of how I felt or what my desires were for my life or our marriage. We didn't dream together. I never spoke up and voiced my concerns or my opinions or my thoughts. While our marriage wasn't all bad, the last 7 years of it were really rough. I lived life with a constant knot in my stomach. For so long, I felt unlovable and unforgivable ... and, the worst of it is that I felt unworthy of either of those things.
But with Keith, I always felt like I was a likable and lovable and wonderful person. His fun wild-at-heart kind of spirit made me appreciate all those masculine qualities that have been absent from my life. I'd forgotten what it is like to be protected and cherished. I felt heard and not just listened to ... like what I was saying was important, if for no other reason than it was on my mind. This precious time has given me a tiny glimpse into how sweet that kind of relationship can be for a couple who puts God at the center of a relationship.
Sadly, Keith began to feel like he needed to let go of our relationship. He felt like he needed to focus on other things that God had laid on his heart, and to allow me to focus on things here that perhaps I should spend more time focusing on. Even though it makes me sad that he felt like he needed to end things between us, even the break up has taught me so much. Keith handled it poorly in the beginning. His round about, vague actions hurt me and caused me a lot of pain, even though that wasn't what he intended to do at all. He was just trying to save me hurt. Normally, in my life, I tend to let things like that go ... harbor my thoughts and feelings, nursing my wounds alone. I never have felt like anyone cared enough to hear about my hurts. But, thanks to a year's worth of marriage counseling and to a lot of lessons the Lord has taught me in the past two years, I knew I couldn't let things end like this.
So last night, I was able to share those things all of those things with Keith ... to express my hurt to him about how this played out, and how I felt and what was going on in my head and my heart. It was another wonderful gift to spend that time talking to Keith ... knowing he was hearing me. It helped me to begin healing when he asked for my forgiveness, and for me to be able to extend that forgiveness to him did me a world of good as well. In the end, I think that we are both grieving the loss of what we had, but we are in a place of peace about what has happened. I know that we will be able to proceed as friends without holding onto bitterness and or hard feelings over what happened ... and that he will always hold a special place in my heart.
Thanks to Keith, I now have a precious view of what a future relationship might look like for me. I saw how wonderful it is to be able to love someone in a pure and honest way, to work through conflict and the harder issues in a manner of love and forgivenes. I now can see what I'm looking for in a husband someday ... those wonderful qualities that Keith showed me over the past several weeks are etched into my mind. It is wonderful to know that I am capable of loving someone again, but more importantly that I am worthy of being loved by someone, too. I have felt more beautiful than ever, and I know that someday that right man will come along. It will just be in God's time. As hard as it is today and even thought the tears are still falling so often, I can let go of this and wait for what is to come someday.
The time I spent getting to know Keith is a time I will always cherish. It was a beautiful thing for me to experience and has no doubt changed me in many ways. I got nothing but joy from those days ... even though it was very short. I wish it didn't have to end. I am extremely saddened over the loss of our relationship. I was not really ready to let it go, though God is giving me a peace about what has happened.
Joy and sadness ... how strange to feel both over the same experience.