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Hope and Reconciliation.

The Spirit is a reconciliatory Spirit.

Despite the pain and brokenness, I am immensely hopeful.

Right now I’m excited. I am mesmerized at the bigness of God. Convinced that His plan is a reconciliatory one. It may not reconcile romantically, that’s unlikely, however it can reconcile relationally, and it could be an amazing story. It could become a film, a book, story worth retelling across multiple mediums. We could be business partners. I could be a producer. There’s no limits!

I feel quite bipolar in this heartbreak and brokenness – sometimes the heartbreak is immeasurable. Sometimes the hugs are awkward. But we’re in this, doing this, healing separately but nonetheless together through tribe. We have good people in our corner. We are friends. Our friends are friends. It has the capacity to be quite beautiful in its time.

My challenge is to be present where I am. I love living in the future, but I am realizing my motives for being future-minded is because sometimes I am unhappy with my present; I live there because living in the world of “things will get better” is more encouraging than encountering the reality of “but I’m not there yet.”

I share here unapologetically because I can’t contain it — I want to write. I must write. I want to create. I want to write. I have rediscovered it in this brokenness. I love it.

I can’t wait to reconcile… not because I want to rekindle romantic passion and kiss her again (that wouldn’t be all bad), but because I want my friend back. She agreed to let me pursue her romantically; now that that phase has been experienced and completed, now I want to pursue the friendship. When I met her I knew she would color my life, shape me for the better, and through those possibilities she has immense value in my life still. Her status as my girlfriend wasn’t the reason why I wanted her. I wanted her in my life because she was a fascinating human. Discovering her and relating with her was an undeniable pleasure; unpacking her mystery and wonder brought me joy that God would create a story within such a human. I wasn’t scared of anything that was unearthed. I kissed every scar she let me see, covering the scar tissue with the assurance that I wasn’t going anywhere. And… So what if she doesn’t want a romantic relationship — there is still so much life to live. The story isn’t over. There’s plenty of work to be done.

We were clean. We were innocent. I hold my head up high and in the light in the way that I treated her. She treated me amazingly. She respected me, even in the breakup she was honest! Our relationship was fun, holy, one I can be proud to admit. We proved it was possible to love and break up all in the light, in the witness of the ones we love. The communication, though difficult, was honest. Despite the brokenness, I am full. I AM FULL!

Also highly caffeinated as I write this, to be honest.

Regardless, I am taking every moment as it comes… celebrating happiness when I feel it, pain when I feel it, sadness when I feel it… It’s all part of the process.

I hope to read these words whenever I am down again, because this hope I feel is genuine. I can’t, I must not, let it go.

67 Degrees.

I’ll never forget the feeling of that frigid air.

It was right before 9pm when I walked out of that door and heard it close behind me. That was the second time. The first time was botched because as the door stayed open, her french bulldog made a break for it… begrudgingly I broke our intimate and possibly last ever embrace and chased him down the street making sure this dog was okay. Yes I wanted him safe and in my arms, returned back to her safely, but to be honest I wanted to be running for that dog forever, I wanted him to never stop, because I did not want to have to return to her and finally say goodbye.

But I caught him, returned him, and we hugged again, this time indoors, tears streaming from her face and warming my shoulder with an affection I hadn’t felt from her in weeks; tears streaming down my face and into her hair whose scent I can still recall on demand. I hugged her for as long as I felt allowed, pressing her into me as if to keep our promises and future from slipping through.

But I had to let go. It’s what she wanted.

I turned the knob and walked out. Normally, I would turn around at the last second, steal one more kiss, sneak in one more “I love you” and walk away fuzzy. I didn’t turn around this time. And I heard the door close.

And I felt that frigid air.

I couldn’t move — in fact I stayed. I sat down in their outdoor sofa, leaned my head back, and looked at the stars. It was such a clear night. Thoughts of us emerged. Things we’ve said. Futures we spoke about. All of that now an offering to the Creator of the Universe, the only source of hope I had left. Rivers of tears kept flowing.

I sat there for probably 45 minutes, leaving only because her roommate was walking up to the front door.

I couldn’t believe we were no longer together.

I am such a packrat. I keep everything. It’s cute when you’re in a relationship, and fodder for amazing moments to look back and be grateful. But it’s hard to look at it when it’s over. I don’t want to throw any of it away… but I can’t go into my room without stopping to look at it and then be overwhelmed by grief to the point where I have to hit the floor and sob. A year and a week. All summed up into one jar of ticket stubs and receipts.

Now as I write this, we would have been coming home from a play in Ventura. In this reality, I came home from watching the Lego Batman movie with my roommates, and she is out at Santa Monica Pier with her roommates. The loneliness must be mutual, and I am thankful for our respective friends.

But God, do I miss her.

She was my love. She still currently is. Letting go of her is climbing up to be the hardest thing I have ever done. Respecting her desire to end the relationship and to respect her request for me to stop pursuing her is the single greatest act of humanity I am trying to do. Her future happiness and success have been my sincerest prayers and the only ones that I ever want to have God answer. She was everything to me. And she’s gone.

It doesn’t feel fair. I treated her so well. I respected her body, her wishes, her desires. I was innocent in how I treated her. However, at least I had the opportunity to treat her that way. There have been plenty who may have tried but blew it. I had tried before with previous relationships and I blew it. At least I had the opportunity to treasure her. I didn’t leave regretting that I should have kissed more passionately the days before, because I treated every kiss that way. I didn’t leave anything unsaid, because I said how much I loved her every chance I could.

I loved her. And being able to love her was God’s greatest gift to me so far. I hurt this deeply because it reflects that love I never held back in giving.

I pray  one day soon to have the courage to love deeply again.

Breaking up, together.

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It is pretty crazy how collectively as a group there is some serious battles going on in the relationships realm of people’s lives.

Today is the toughest so far (only day three), but there is a sort of comfort in knowing that I am not alone. The ironic part of a breakup is that even though the relationship fell apart, you are not alone in that brokenness; we are both in that same space, and while we’re healing separately, it’s being done in unison, traveling at different speeds but nonetheless toward a shared hope that we find in Jesus. So there is still unity.

I am finding comfort as I discover more about my value. Strength that I find through prayer I am happy to share with her. She no longer needs to be explicitly encouraged by me in the fact I pray for her, she just gets to feel the fruit of it. Conversely I believe that I get through my days without her in large part due to her prayers for me. So we are still relational toward each other, but on paper and officially we are no longer a couple.

I already know there are no shortcuts to the healing, only coverups and distraction. Me not fully going through this process will rob my future girlfriend of the best parts of me that will only emerge through this perseverance. My hope can only be in Jesus and the future He has for me, alone. To think that we may get back together in the future will only undermine the process. She has always needed the space that this boundary is now forcing me to give her.

I desire for her to be her best self at the end of this struggle. The world needs her, her story, her triumph, her future.

She is persistent, mighty, fierce, independent, inspiring, and a beautiful human – reasons why I loved her in the first place. She will always remain these things in my mind, and I need to be ready to accept a life that has moved on without me. I hope I get there one day. My comfort is that though separate, currently and in this moment, we are in this still, together.

That is enough for me.

I will never be mad at her.

I will never resent her.

I will refuse bitterness.

I will exercise gratitude.

I will pray for the God of the universe to pull her closer to His wonder, and that even though she no longer wanted to be pulled by me, that she will one day embrace God’s pull on her.

I have never loved God more than now, and it is because of the way I had been taught to love her. I hope on hope on hope that I don’t change this posture.

Hope and Space.

“Something changes in the universe when you confess, admit, and declare truth. It seems that when you speak it out, truth is invited in.”
– Jamie George, Love Well

I’m a broken man… I want to acknowledge this. To you.

I know that I can vein vulnerability pretty well, I know that I can essentially hide the things that really bother me and divert the cause to something more menial.

But I know you’re more wise and keen than that.

So I want to own up. I want to share. I can’t heal what I can’t acknowledge. And I want to do this because I want to restore my hope in us again. I want to return to the place of beautiful, mutual vulnerability, and make those moments the cornerstones of what we are building together.

I want a relationship that is thriving, healthy, authentic, unstuck. One where we have access to each other without feeling like we have over-extended, where we are each getting what we are putting in. One that is brimming with hope, wonder, excitement, butterflies; one where guilt is put into perspective and is dealt with swiftly; one where even the simplest and faintest of communication is teeming with life-giving, game-changing love.

I want to believe that we can create that. I want to have hope again. I want to cling onto that hope and grip tightly until my knuckles are white.

This month I’ve found myself growing more numb. It started when I started sensing distance from you during the trip and couldn’t put my finger on it. And there was no space to acknowledge or talk about it. We have talked since, and while we have moved past it, truthfully I have to admit that even after much reflection, I still cannot pinpoint where I miscommunicated my gratitude for you on the trip. I would very much like to know this, I want to grow, I want to learn. I need help discovering where that was so I have the wisdom and awareness to deal with it.

Through that experience and later on in the month, I have started to feel in my soul that I had started to withdraw and change up my values to feel less pain. My speech and texts were cold. I realize that the danger in numbing myself was making me miss and appreciate the moments that you did give me, ones that were plainly you making the effort and giving your all. But I had numbed myself to the point where I couldn’t even acknowledge the sacrifices you were making. I was only concerned and focused on the sacrifices that I was making. I was glorifying my own efforts in my own thoughts, I was stoking my own ego, and I was taking back affirmation that I felt I was being denied. I know that these are huge unattractive qualities and I know how allergic you are to ego. And I see it developing in my life. I am acknowledging it’s presence, confirming it’s ugliness, and understanding the distance it can cause. I want it gone, and the way to get it out is to bring it to light and hit it with Truth.

I want to be clear and honest — my encouragement to you is real, it is authentic. It is the version of me that I am choosing in faith and doing the work so that I can believe it with my feelings too. And believe me, whenever I have told you that I have prayed for you, I did it. Every time.

I am also sorry that I have plagued our conversations with frameworks around “love languages” that clearly are not helping the conversation, nor do I feel that they apply to our communication. I want to apologize for this and say sorry for trying to put our uniqueness in a box and for continuing to try to explain us in that context. I want to tell you that I’m rejecting that attempt and I will simply just “be” and pay more attention to your sacrifices, your efforts. I no longer want to be blind to them and so affixed on my needs and the way I need to feel loved. We are unique individuals with our own method and brand of love and communication, and I need to pay more attention to you and discover the value in the way you communicate with me on my own.

I want to acknowledge that I have been sensing distance… avoidance, even.. I want to acknowledge this and create a space to talk about that. I’ve noticed that it’s tricky to schedule face-to-face time with you. I am wondering if it’s because of a fear of what is on my mind or what I want to discuss. The truth is that I’m just at a point where I just want to have a relationship, and I don’t care if we talk about us at all — I just want to “be” with you. I know you are hustling, making it work, and I have been respecting your time as best as I could. I will say though that not spending time with you is creating more numbness about our whole situation, and I find myself losing hope.

I do not want to lose hope. I do not want to go numb.

I want life. I want relationship. I want communication. I want fun. I want to be myself and fight for hope in us again. I want to fight. I want to be battle ready for the other hardships that will come. I want to talk. I want us to fight because that vulnerability is the soil where connection blooms. I want my girlfriend. I want to be real. I want Truth to be invited back into our space….

Space.

Space… huh. (please wait while brain switches gears…. *krrrrzzztt*)

In experiencing the love of God more intensely this week alone, I am now understanding that I do not love you well. We don’t love each other well. I am constantly trying to throw my words and support at you as if to goad you into loving me the way I want to, and getting frustrated when it doesn’t work. You withdraw from the pressure and feeling  inadequacy. Until this moment I have lived in denial — denying that perhaps you too are in just as much pain, but in a different way. We’re both sensing that something isn’t right, that there is a disconnection. And maybe space gives us time to recollect ourselves. It worked for you toward me, it allowed you to forgive me, the only issue was that I did not know that that was going on at the time when we were having space and I didn’t get a chance to utilize it simultaneously.

But I do see the value in it.

“Harassed by life, exhausted, we look about us for somewhere to be quiet, to be genuine, a place of refreshment. We yearn to restore our spirits in God.”
– Hars Urs von Balthasar

I’ve been a coward this whole time..  deep within me there is a deep fear of disappointing you, of not being enough too, of disapproval. of not speaking up about how I really feel whenever things change or plans fall through. the facade that keeps me from being real. the fear of losing you.

But if in the end if I lose you, there is a faithful God – He is good. He has a beautiful, full future for both of us.

Regardless, in the same way that spaces in this sentence allows room for understanding, maybe I need to give my soul some space to grow up and appreciate you for who you really are, what you really do for me. The way you cause me to grow. The way you make me see how Beautiful God can be. I want to know your thoughts on this.

On Tuesday I want to celebrate what we have done right. And I wanted to give us space after the celebration. I want to practice how to actively wait. How to reset and be okay. How to miss you properly without injecting guilt. How it feels to limit access to you and get my life together. I see you are already getting yours together, and I have much to learn.

I would love this to be our launching off point when we talk. OR we can just be and celebrate. Either way, I have something for you.

Choosing you always,

Joseph