Monday, September 16, 2013

Promiscuous Words

Within the past 6 months, I was told by two men that they loved me - rather - that they were in love with me. Both of these men had expressed to others that they thought that I was the one whom they would marry. One I loved as a best friend, the other was a friend whom I fell in love with. Of those two men, one is now married and the other is engaged - and neither one to me.

I wish I was making this up. Because, in my mind, this is the kind of thing that happens in movies, or TV shows, or books, or...soap operas. I suppose truth is the basis from where we get our fiction.

It's hard because these two men were, in my opinion at the time, some of the "best men" that I knew. Each of them had some of the kindest, biggest hearts out of anybody that I knew. They were amazing listeners with quirks that stemmed from their unique personalities and interests. I pointed to them as exemplary characters among my engagements with other people. They each stood, at points in time, as a best friend.

Allow me to clarify: there is no sense of conquest here. There is no sense of "men broke themselves for me." Instead, I feel a deep sense of loss, of betrayal, of sadness at seeing people whom I care for make decisions that I sense to be so unwise. I have lost relationships that served as bedrocks in my life. These were men whom I trusted, and whom I trusted with my heart.

I think there is a tale of caution in here of how we use our words. I was promised love at a time that was too soon. When we are not careful in discerning when is the proper time to speak, we whore out our speech; we make promises that we do not realize we are incapable of fulfilling; we say things we do not really mean; we hurt others in our rashness; we say things that we later regret. And although we may be filled with all sincerity when we speak in the moment, time and follow-through (or lack thereof) either prove our character or make us look like liars.
I say "we" because I also let my words run away before I think about them. While it is not always so terrible as above described, "Letting one's words run away with them" is not always as benign as it sounds, either.

Professing love before the right time takes something of deep value and reduces it in meaning and does deep damage to the trusting and the unguarded. Our mouths become whore's mouths - promiscuously speaking of things that lack depth, connection and honesty under the veneer of something that is real.

I do not mean to say that the relationships of those men lack authenticity. I think they lack wisdom. They rushed to tell me something just as they rushed into life-long commitments with other women. But, time will test and time will tell; and time will prove the depth of their words. And, honestly, I wish them well. I wish them marriages filled with blessing and strength. I wish them growth.

Personally problematic for me is that I respected those men. I trusted them. So, when they spoke, I took them at their word.
And for me, love is a deep thing.

And it is a deeply painful thing to be told that a person is in love with you, that he has marriage in mind with you...only six months later to see him finalizing that offer with another woman.
It makes it very hard to trust. And I find myself stuck there right now. I suppose, and hope, that it is only a "phase" - just a step in the grief cycle. Because, I do not want to be here the rest of my life - crippled at the inability to trust. But, I'm not really sure how one overcomes that either. It's not like I can just say, "Those men were some of the best examples of men that I had. They completely broke my trust and my heart. But I will continue to trust!"

This has to be where the work of Christ comes in. And by "has" I mean "must." Only God can fix this. Only God can take my now suspicious, deeply wounded heart and restore it to a place where it can trust again. I really see no other options.

In the meantime, I am thankful. I am thankful at these - not bullets - cannon balls that I dodged. I would have willingly embraced them had Providence not intervened. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to start doing self-reflection and analysis. These hard slaps of reality have me thinking about how I jump into and engage in relationships. This pain has sent me reeling back to my family, where I have experienced healing in familial ties and there found some excellent examples of beautiful, flawed, trustworthy men. I have inner work to do. I can be proactive. I do not have to sit and stay as a victim. I can also grow.

And even if I remain single for the rest of my life, I will be a bigger person as a result. I will hopefully have more to offer. I can serve others as a wounded healer.

And I thank God for that. And I suppose that's the promise of the Cross: that out of desolation springs new life. Spring follows the even the harshest of winters.

In perusing through a book, I came across this text:

  1. Grief should permit newness. 
  2. Holiness should give hope.
  3. Memory should allow possibility.
    All three affirmations argue that life comes out of death." 
 ~ Walter Brueggemann, Hopeful Imagination: Prophetic Voices in Exile. Philedelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 132.

So, let it be:
Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Let time and touch heal my heart: help me to trust. Help me learn to set proper boundaries. Let me see and learn from my mistakes. And forgive me, as I forgive those who trespass against me. Help me to forgive. Yes.

There is a song to leave with. A song of promise, praise, and hope; sung at Tribe of Los Angeles; based off of Psalm 92:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

We will flourish like a tree.
We will grow strong and green.
We are planted by the water
In the garden of our King.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah.