October 14, 2011

I predict that this will be hard to write.

I’ve put it off for a while now.

The words may falter. And I’ve no doubt that some of them will chafe.

But I owe it to myself. I’ve come too far to just nod to this day on the calendar, take a moment to remember, and send up a hasty prayer.

I owe it to myself to acknowledge how much I’ve grown, how much God has grown me.

So here, in the stillness of the remembering of things in my past, I will write it down. The heartbreak. The lessons. The moving on and forward. I will write it down.

One year ago today, I said goodbye.

One year ago today, I said goodbye to the person whom I’d once believed would be my every hello for the rest of my life.

I remember how that word tasted in the moments after hanging up the phone. Like salt: bitter, burning. Or maybe it wasn’t the word I was tasting, but the tears I was crying.

One year ago today, I said goodbye, and I think now that I was gone for a while afterwards. I vaguely remember sobbing so hard, so late into the night, feeling a crater in my chest where someone else used to sit, where love used to fit. And I remember waking up stiffly the next day and taking the pictures down. And boxing the letters up. And trying to move in a direction that somehow might resemble forward with my life.

I will tell you that saying goodbye left me aching. It left me feeling like I was breaking. I will tell you that saying goodbye was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do.

But in the past year, that goodbye taught me how to say a few good hellos.

I said hello to a better understanding of myself. Of my strength. Of my God. Let me tell you, if your heart has not been utterly shattered yet, you may very well not know how gentle God’s hands can be as He picks up pieces. He picks them up like new mothers pick up their babies for the first time, adoringly, lovingly. So carefully, creating such beauty from the pain.

I said hello to the art of remembering. It’s a deep thing, to remember what you’ve lost. To close your eyes and think of days filled with sunshine and the smell of sidewalk chalk powder on your hands. I said hello to learning how to open my eyes and see that there were still days full of sunshine to be had. To realizing that the sun was still shining, and learning to slip off the heavy sweater of sorrow and bask in the light.

One year ago today, I began to learn so much.

I have learned in the past year how to deal with my regrets. Because, I’ll promise you, I have them. But I have learned that these things which I often regret have made me stronger, they’ve grown me bigger, pushed me further. And today, although you may never see it, I will tell you with certainty that my regrets have made me more beautiful.

I have learned that he was not right for me. And that maybe I wasn’t right for him too. And that in that knowing, I forgive him for the hundred ways he broke my heart. And I hope that for himself, someday he’ll learn to forgive me too.

I have learned and come to terms with the fact that he did not love me right. Oh, he loved me, and it was beautiful in its way, and those days filled with his love taught me so much, and I loved him back. But it wasn’t the kind of love that was meant for me. And I’ve learned that knowing that doesn’t make it more or less in my memory, it just makes it not. Not for me. And I’ve learned that it was okay for me to walk away. That I was right to walk away.

I’ve learned to wear my hair curly again. I know that may sound crazy to you, but maybe you will understand when I tell you that he once told me that he much preferred my hair straight. I’ve learned to love the curls again, to enjoy running my fingers through them again, and I’ve learned to straighten them out only and exactly just when I want to.

I’ve learned some lessons that are too heavy to set down on the paper. They are so heavy that I would not dare ask the page to carry their weight. But that’s alright, because my heart has grown strong enough to hold them now. I’m strong enough to walk alongside these lessons now, hand in hand, laughing at the way my shoulders used to shake with the weight of the learning.

Perhaps most miraculously of all, in this past year, I have learned to hope. I’ve begun to learn to put my hope in the Hands that have a plan for me. And that hope has grown into a belief that there is a man out there for me. A real, imperfect, giving, faithful, waiting man who will let God teach him how to love all the parts of me. All the fault lines of my heart. All the things that have brought me to the place that I am standing. All the pieces of a girl just like me.

One year ago today, I said goodbye.

And I have to say, if you’ve been with me on this journey, holding my hands in the middle of long nights, calling me back to the sunshine when I sat in the shade of heartbreak, reading  my hastily scrawled attempts to set things right, listening to me when I wanted to talk and being patient when I couldn’t, loving me  and praying me through, I can only thank you from the bottom of what I am. I count myself so lucky to have people in my life like that. I count myself so blessed that God gave me you.

One year ago today, I said goodbye.

And today, I will admit that I am still learning so much about the ways that goodbye and the months leading up to that goodbye have changed and shaped me. But as I look in the mirror, I am happy and thankful that God has taught me to say that I believe every bit of it has made me better.

-Jessi Sanders 2012


One thought on “October 14, 2011

  1. Again, you put it into words that are easily understood.
    The talent that God gave you shows in every writing.
    Keep up the good work.

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