Have You Ever

…Loved somebody so much it makes you cry? Again I use lyrics from a song to introduce a new topic of my life’s journey. This time the lyrics of singer Brandy tell the story of my single journey into the crazy little thing called Love! I’ve been in love only once in my life, and it was both the most exciting and most devastating of events. I will admit that I was young, and refused to see what was in front of my eyes, which caused me to linger in love longer then I should have lingered. Yet, I can say almost 10 years later, that I am grateful for the love and the heartbreak. Here’s my story…

The summer before starting undergraduate studies, I participated in a youth and young adult Gospel music retreat. While participating in the retreat I saw this young man who I was immediately attracted to. For the sake of anonymity, I will call him Z! I thought he was so handsome, and based on my low self-esteem, I knew that I had absolutely NO CHANCE with him. So I committed to admire him from afar, and considered that an infatuation that would soon pass. Lo and behold, after commencing undergraduate studies, and joining the gospel choir, guess who I ran into in the choir. You guessed it, the same guy who I still thought was cute, and finally learned his name. Amazingly, we moved from associates to friends rather quickly, and as our relationship progressed, my secret infatuation blossomed into love. My friends knew that I liked Z, and used to joke with me concerning my feelings. While I had no intention of revealing my feelings to him, secretly I daydreamed about him finding out and reciprocating my feelings. I imagined our relationship growing into something real, amazing, and long-lasting. I even dreamed about us growing to the point of marriage, and children. I had imagined all of these wonderful things without any indication or sign from him that he even looked at me as more than just a friend.

Well my circle of friends knew of my feelings, and one night the four of us were all on the phone together. We had discussed some things, and then decided to add Z into the conversation. I was most ecstatic to have him in the conversation, and so the five of us proceeded to talk about numerous topics. Well we begin to talk about an upcoming recital that one of us was set to take part in, and I indicated that I was not a fan of this particular work of art that was set to be performed. This friend, whom I will call P became offended by my presumed mockery of the upcoming performance, and blasted my feelings to everyone on the line, including the object of my affections. Needless to say, I was angry, hurt, and confused; I felt betrayed and like the butt of jokes. After sometime the conflict was partly resolved, and only I, one of my girl friends, and Z remained on the phone. He acted like he did not understand what had been revealed, instead indicating that he was happy we were FRIENDS. Several weeks later, I discovered that P and Z had entered into some type of relationship, and felt that I should be okay with that as I had no claim to Z. To say that my heart was broken, is the understatement of the year, I was emotionally destroyed. If this was the end of my tale, it would have not been so hard to tell, but alas there is more.

After the dissolution of P and Z’s involvement with each other, Z and I grew closer together. We had grown so close to the point that we spent almost every day together. At the time we were attending the same church, and still in the choir together. I would spend time with him at his job, we were basically always together. You would think that after heartbreak I would have learned my lesson and guarded my heart, but I had not. I had people telling me that he was not really into me, and that he was actively involved with other people, but I had given him my heart whether he wanted it or not. The choir went on a trip, and we of course spent a lot of our time on the trip together. On one particularly day we were standing around and some particular person started to approach Z and I. Z immediately grabbed my hand and laced our hands together; I was in awe because to me it was the first sign of affection or even attraction that he had shown. As soon as this person passed us by, he dropped my hand and said that’s enough. I FINALLY came to my senses and recognized that as much as I loved him, he did not remotely return those feelings for me.

It took me several years to get over all that I had allowed myself to feel for him. I was guilty of refusing to see what was right in front of my eyes, and when I finally recognized that I became emotionally unavailable. I felt like because my judgment had proved faulty with him, then I could not trust my own emotions regarding any other person. I would seek relationships with men, but my heart was still broken. Honestly it was not until I started seminary, almost six years after our initial meeting, that I was finally able to release all of the emotions relating to that point in my life. I was finally free from the shame, guilt, anger, humiliation, frustration, and heartbreak. I could finally sing, “I am free, praise the Lord, I’m free; no longer bound, no more chains holding me.” Now I can look back on that time in my life with new insight, and have learned lessons regarding myself and other people. Z and I still see each other from time to time, and every time we do, we have a wonderful time with each other. I don’t believe that we can ever be friends like we were, but I’m grateful for his continued presence in my life. Mostly, I’m grateful that I did not lose my mind, and I’m grateful that I don’t  look like what I’ve been through.

Make It Plain!

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