Of long goodbyes and short lives

Until recently, I had been dating a wonderful girl for 11 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days (at least as far as I can figure).

Have you ever heard that love is a drug? That’s truer than I knew. It is both frustrating to realize how attached you can become to another person, and yet also liberating to share your life with someone who genuinely wants to take part in it. Not for any reason we can justify or merit we can earn, but just for us. It is simply because we are theirs. Love is blind in its reckless abandon.

There’s a great mystery in relationships, isn’t there? I don’t yet understand them. Why is it that we have deep, cavernous holes in our spirits? They are the kind of vacuums that ache for others, for community, in the chance hopes that our isolation will forever be sated. Finally. At rest.

It’s a scary proposition, to succumb to vulnerability. To surrender your will to another, to tend to their pain over your own, to think of their needs more highly than yours; these are not our nature. But because of that hole in our souls, it is our need, if not our nature. Why else, if the Creator had not wanted it so?

But want and desire are not enough. The timing is not always up to us. I’ll never comprehend why those who want companionship the most don’t find it. Still for others, sometimes love fails. Sometimes relationships whither.

Mine did.

And it stings. Like a gnarled skinned knee, and big salty globs of hyperventilation. But oddly… I don’t regret a second of it. Honestly. I loved, and I lost. And I am alive. And the morning comes, and with it the sun. And if I never walk hand-in-hand again, I will have the memory of having done that once, for 11 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days.

Deep inside of me, there is an alter ego that wants very much to be alone forever. That self has reasoned that I would be better off to never feel the pain of loss, that loneliness is a smaller price to pay for the lack of effort. It is hard for me to share my burdens in a community of fellow wanderers. Bear with me as I stumble back to my feet. Better yet, give me a hand, will you?

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  1. I may or may not have told you this before but I’m really sorry about your recent loss. James and I talked about it on the way to Constantine in the snowstorm after I had read his post about not knowing the right thing to say in these situations. As hard as it is and as much as it hurts to be in any sort of relationships with our fellow human beings it is so much better than the alternative. If God hadn’t created us with that craving for companionship we’d be in a right mess! Think of how it would be if we didn’t have that need for relationships to balance out the baser, more selfish desires. We’d be a mess. I’m glad you’re on the road to healing and talking(writing) about it will definitely help. Hopefully when you come here in March I can at least meet you and say ‘hi’ since I’ve heard about you for years. I don’t know how to end this….hang in there seems trite as does ‘I’m praying for you’, but I am and as such I’ll leave it at that.

  2. I’m glad you are sharing your heart with us. It will help. We are here for you! Time is a great healer. I wish it were faster than that. You have people who care and will walk with you until the sun shines again.

  3. Rob, I encourage you to read the Psalms. I think they will bring you hope. Read Psalm 34. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

  4. Rob, I know the voice of that isolated alter ego from my own life, too. Let me assure you that isolation is an addictive drug as well — I found myself wearing the pain of my lonliness like a shield, using it to keep back the friends who were trying to break through to love and care for me. Consider that the whole history of salvation is of God calling out again and again for a wayward people to return to Him. He, more than anyone else, has certainly known the pain of broken relationships, and is more qualified than any other to meet us in our hurt and carry us through. God Himself will restore your spirit, and He will use the love of friends around you to encourage you along the way.

  5. February 18, 2005
    Tears welled up as I read this. I understand how the deeper inner self wants to “protect” you from future hurt. But the sun does shine, you will move through this and you have learned much.

    Try having God be the One who always fills your heart. He will never hurt you. Then when your earthly relationships form, dissolve or whatever course they take, you will not feel quite as much heartache and lonliness.

    God created us first for a relationship with Him, secondly for others. There is a reason for this. We sometimes forget the order, but in His divine wisdom He protects us if only we could just follow Him.

    Just remember Psalm 23 …when we walk “through” the valley… we don’t get stuck there, we go through it.

    You are special and loved by many.

  6. Hi there

    I was just surfing on short lives and came across your writing.
    Can I have your permission to use it in my writing and sermons?
    It is so personal, but yet so well-expressed.

    Eagerly waiting for your reply.



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