Tuesday, July 24, 2007


We...my mom and I...are leaving to go downstate tomorrow, where we will spend the night with some friends. Then, it is off to Ann Arbor on Thursday, to meet with a doctor who will hopefully be able to offer some answers and a clear direction for where we need to go with treatment. In the research I have done regarding the type of cancer I have, there are more questions than answers. I am praying that God will give the doctor wisdom beyond what is available through the science of medicine.

I cannot say that I am afraid of the treatments that may come. I am in every sense ready for them, because it will ultimately mean an end to the pain I've been experiencing as my body is compromised by the illness trying to take over. I suppose the only thing I fear is that the doctors will decide to do nothing, and I will continue to suffer with this rare and relatively unexplained invader.

Despite that fear, I am generally at peace with all that has happened, and what is yet to come. I know God is in this. I have been praying for clarity of purpose in my life for a long time. My prayers have been fervent, and I've told God that I am willing to go through whatever it takes to fulfill that purpose in my life. And here I am. I believe that clarity is going to come because of these things, not in spite of them. This is part of finding my way home.

God's welcome mat isn't always inviting, but once you've entered in, you never want to leave.

I will let you know what happens...

Friday, July 20, 2007


am sitting here playing "Bubble Popper" on Gamesville, blogging, and biding my time until I can take something for the pain that never seems to go away completely these days. I am in so much pain, it's ridiculous. It is always with me. I can't remember the last time I took Vicodin and was able to wipe out the pain completely.

So, today I received news that was somewhat expected but nonetheless shocking. You want to believe it's not true no matter how much you know it very well could be, and then when you are told that it is in fact true, everything changes. Your worst fears become solid realities. Your nightmares become real, and the only thing you can do is face it head on and go forward.

I am not happy to be the home to an extremely rare type of cancer, but I am glad to have some answers to why I have been so sick and in so much pain. I am grateful that I have a doctor who listened to me when I told him I was in pain, took steps to find out what was causing that pain, then went further to put me into the hands of those who may be better skilled in dealing with the type of cancer I have. There is something wonderful to be said for skilled professionals who are not afraid to admit when they are in over their heads. I could hear the remorse in his voice when he said, "I have more questions than answers at this point." I deeply appreciated his candor in that moment. He will forever have my admiration for uttering that simple sentence.

I am grateful for the way God's hand has moved in this since the beginning. He allowed me to experience the intense pain of an internal hernia so I would go to the ER and get a ct scan, allowing the doctors to find the tumor growing on my kidney. At the time I fell ill, I was employed by a non-profit organization that was all too familiar with the struggles people face when they do not have health insurance, so they paid for me to have another month of health insurance after I left my job so I would not have to worry about the cost of follow up visits with my surgeons. As time went on and my recovery did not seem to be going as smoothly as expected, the surgeon God chose for me (and I do believe it was God's choosing, because he has been a remarkably compassionate doctor through all of this) paid attention to my complaints when I told him of the pain I was in, and ordered the ct scan, which found the enlarged lymph nodes, which lead to the biopsy, which lead to the discovery of another carcinoid tumor, which lead to the doctor's conclusion that this is bigger than we first thought and we need the skill and expertise of those who specialize in these things to handle this case. I do not believe God has brought me safe thus far only to let me die a miserable death as cancer eats me alive. I believe He is going to see me safely through this next phase of the journey, and wonderful things are waiting for me on the other side of this.

Still, I have my moments. Painful moments. Moments when I am so very tired. So weary. So sick. Frustrated. Angry. Going crazy because I have pain that just does not go away and interferes with even the most basic elements of living. Yet...I choose to trust God and His plan in this. I have been through a lot, and I have more yet to go through, but I do not walk through this alone.

My precious little niece reminded me this evening of that truth. We were talking about thunder being like the voice of God. Then she said to me, "And there were angels in the fire."

Yes, dear one, there are angels in the fire with us. God never forsakes us, and He gives us "angels in the fire"...our friends, our families, kind strangers who do not realize how their kindness has so blessed us...His holy messengers, sent by Him to allow us to stand in these flames with our souls unscathed. We are never alone. God never leaves us to fight these battles alone.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A radical measure

Today...well, yesterday, now...was a day of anger and frustration. At very ungaurded moments, I am overwhelmed with these feelings, becoming keenly aware of all I have experienced and lost over the last few months. My life is dramatically different today from what it was on April 21 when I was blissfully unaware of all that was about to begin happening. Sometimes, I feel the pain of those changes, and I have a difficult time finding a healthy outlet. As my primary outlet is writing, you, dear reader, get to be a fly sitting on my mental wall, observing all my thoughts playing out on this blank page.

I was overwhelmed today with a bit of sadness, followed again by anger, when I thought of my ex and how he handled my illness in its early stages. Actually, how he handled it right up until the day when I told him to get out of my life (which I would reiterate forty one days later...). He rarely asked how I was feeling physically, and showed no concern for what my illness was doing to my life. His one and only concern was how my illness effected him, insofar as how it effected my ability to be and to do as he believed a girlfriend should. His sadness came not out of concern for me, my well-being, and the fact that my body had turned against me. No, his sadness came from the fact that I was no longer healthy enough to go on dates with him, I was no longer healthy enough to be affectionate, I was no longer healthy enough to endure more than an hour or so of activity, which limited us to short walks and maybe some time with my family.

During one of the last times we saw each other, he was crying (he cried a lot, rather like a child, and I never understood why) and saying that he thought he lost me. He did not mean that he was afraid he would lose me to cancer, or that my health would fail completely in the hospital and he would never see me again, etc. He only meant that he thought he lost the emotional response he expected to receive from me, despite what I was going through. I was fully aware of his selfish agenda during my time in the hospital, which was why I asked him not to call for a few days after I was admitted. His only concern at that time, and until I broke up with him, was how my illness was going to impact his ideal of how our relationship should be functioning. That was it, plain and simple. He was upset that I let my friends visit anytime, but had asked him to call first. The fact was, my friends did not come to me with an agenda. They came to me with the desire to show love and support, and that was it. As I recall those days, and the weeks that followed, I am mystified by the degree of selfishness in his behavior and attitude toward me. My whole life was derailed, and he somehow made it all about him. I do not understand and cannot relate to that narcisstic tendency.

I am not sure why, but the pure selfishness of his actions and attitude hit me like a ton of bricks today. I guess it's part of the grieving and healing process, and emotions come in waves. I hate that he still has such an impact on my life. I hate that I ever met him.

And yet, I do believe it was part of God's plan. In our last conversation, he said he did not think it was God's perfect will for us to be a couple, but it was God's permissive will. I disagree. I think it was God's plan that we were together for a time, because there were things I needed to learn. There were things I needed to know about myself and my tendencies toward self-destruction via damaging relationships that I may not have learned were it not for Harold. I needed to feel the full impact of dating a man like Harold so I would finally stop and evaluate why I was gravitating toward men like that, and realize that I had some things within myself to work out before I would be ready for the right guy.

I think that there is this idea that if something is not pleasant and does not bring to us what we would consider a "good" result, it is not part of God's perfect will for us. The truth is, we cannot live God's perfect will for us on this side of eternity. God's perfect will for us was compromised when Adam and Eve snacked on an apple. Much of what we are living in today is, at best, the closest thing to His perfect will that we will ever know until we get to heaven. Certainly, there are some areas of life that we can look at and see that it may not have been part of what God would ideally like to see play out in our lives, but that does not mean it is not going to be used as part of God's overall plan for us. If we are sincerely seeking to do God's will, and our hearts are open for God to guide us in our decisions, it seems that we can, by default, trust that our decisions are part of God's plan. Maybe not His ideal plan, but it is not as though we are going to throw Him for a loop.

So, while it may not have been what God ideally had in mind, I think He used the relationship I had with Harold to teach me things I needed to know. He used it to teach me the value of paying attention to warning signs, heeding the red flags I see, and paying attention to what my instincts are telling me about a person. He used the relationship to teach me that what I want and need is important, and if I am not happy in a relationship, I do not have to stay in it. Until the commitment of marriage is made, there is no reason whatsoever to stay with someone who you are not happy with. God used the relationship to teach me that lowering my standards in order to be with someone is to invite trouble. We all want what we want for good reasons, and if we have to compromise those standards in order to make a relationship work, then it is a clear sign that the relationship is one that is only going to bring heartache. God used the relationship to show me that I need to value myself more, respect myself more, and in doing so, to no longer be manipulated by men who see me as vulnerable and approach me with an agenda in mind. I was far too vulnerable to a wolf in sheep's clothing, and I see that now. Now that I have seen it, I can recognize my behavior patterns and see when/if I start venturing down that dangerous road again.

Through the relationship with Harold, I learned that there is nothing wrong with a woman demonstrating strength. It upset Harold that I was not more needy, that I did not cling to him when they told me I had cancer, that I did not act desperate enough and tell him I couldn't make it through without him. It bothered him greatly that I did not need a rescuer. I told him at one point that I did not envision anything happening in my life...ANYTHING...that would ever cause me to need him to rescue me. And I mean that. I have been through some very hard things, and through these things, I have learned how to take care of myself. Yes, I want and need the love and support of my family and friends. But do I need them to rescue me? Harold tried to bring me shame for being a woman who is strong, has her own opinions, is capable of setting her own course without his "leadership", etc. For a very brief time, I did feel some shame for that, as though I was not being a "good" girlfriend. I have concluded, however, that the good girlfriend must die. I am a woman who is strong, intelligent, and capable. I am not ashamed of this, and I guess it just means that I need someone who is strong enough to let me be the strong, intelligent, and capable woman that I am. I am looking for an equal, not a rescuer.

It is through this relationship that I learned that there are some things I will not tolerate anymore. I will not tolerate being manipulated. I will not tolerate being lied to. I will not tolerate being emotionally abused. I will not tolerate being psychologically abused. I will not tolerate a man who claims to be one thing, yet lives his life as something else.

It is through this relationship that I learned that I do not owe my heart to anyone, regardless of what their expectations of me are. I have a right to my own happiness, and if the man I am with is not bringing me happiness, I have the right to tell him so and to end the relationship without being emotionally battered in doing so. He may feel that he made an investment in me, thereby giving him the right to my affections. I disagree, and I have the right to live my life in that light.

I realize that I should expect to be cherished by the one who says he loves me, even if I am in a state of being which does not allow me to give anything back to him except love. Even if I am not able to be affectionate with him, even if I am too sick to spend any real time with him, etc...his love for me should not be based on my performance. I never felt cherished when I was with Harold. I was fully aware that every gift, every token of affection, every touch was merely an investment, and he fully expected his investment to yield a return in the way of a commitment from me. Whether or not I loved him or was with him because I truly wanted to be was not important. He would have been content for me to stay with him to fulfill my obligation to him. It took me awhile to fully accept that this was really happening, but when I realized it, I also realized that I deserved better.

There are so many more things I learned, but this is the crux of it. I know I have written about these things before, and will likely write about them again, but this is all a process. I have never left a relationship feeling so deeply wounded, so brutalized. Maybe he feels the same way. I neither know nor care. All I know is that there are things I needed to learn, and God used this screwed up relationship to teach me these things. It would be foolish of me not to evaluate this relationship, considering the impact it has had on me. There are reasons why this relationship has reached into such deep and foreboding places in my heart, and I want to learn from this experience so I do not repeat it with someone else. There are a lot of "Harolds" out there, waiting for their next victim. I am thankful that God let me see the truth before it was too late, and showed me that I was strong enough to walk away even in the midst of a very difficult season in my life.

I am thankful that I am able to process these things and move forward in a healthier state of being. My body is fighting its own battle, and if I am to win the battle, I need to be free of this sort of baggage that will only hinder my physical healing. My life is too important to me to let something like this take a deep hold on me and fester there.

I suppose the relationship with Harold is kinda like the ct scan that showed my cancer. I did not know the cancer was there, and lived my life blissfully unaware of it. I did not know I had the tendency within myself to gravitate toward and tolerate destructive relationships, and lived my life unaware of such things until Harold came along. Like the ct scan showed the cancer I was not aware of, that would have killed me had it not been found, the relationship with Harold showed me tendencies within myself that had been there all along, and would have killed my soul if I did not recognize them. The cancereous tumor found on the ct scan was removed, and in the same way, I am in the process of treating the soul-cancer that was destroying my life. Harold was just a symptom. I've treated the symptom with drastic and final measures, and now I am going through the process of treating the cause.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Real Men, Part II

Maybe I should have called my last post "Whatever A Real Man Is, My Ex Wasn't That". haha!

My wonderful friend "Black Heart" sent me this brilliant response to my blog. I loved it so much, I am posting it here. It's his work, not mine. No plagarism here...

Black Heart writes:

Ok, I can't resist. :-) Remember this is all in loving light.

"I referred to my ex as a "neanderthal", and for good reason. I have concluded that he is not a real man."

Actually, a Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) is, genetically speaking, a different species of homo genus than that of the homo sapien rendition of a seemingly similar maturity level. So I think that what you would want to refer to him as "bottom of the barrel", "shame of the male gender", "the ruin of the good name of men who actually are worth a damn". When you begin speaking in terms of scientific terminology, I will pop my head up and put in my two cents, mainly because I wouldn't want you to put your foot in your own mouth. It's a very uncomfortable position. Unless of course you are able to do that and have a self admiring foot fetish thing.

anyway (diversions aside) leadership... any man can give orders and take responsibility for their orders. (just look at some of the leaders in our world) but it takes a real man to know when to listen to advice of a real woman and be able to make sound decisions based on all of the information that he is able to ascertain from a given circumstance. A real man must be able to do this without having to ask for the advice. He must be able to intuit what he needs to know to make proper the preparations for the survival of himself and his family at the same time. I say this the way that I did on purpose for the reason that if the man sacrifices himself to save his family then he did not think of all of the options available. My honest opinion.

A real man must be triumphant in all challenges and this includes knowing when to concede. Even in stepping down, he is triumphant provided that he does so learning what lessons he needs to learn from the situation. Much of what you say in this blog is heavily weighed toward the pain that was handed to you by previously mentioned homo sapien dredge of the masculine gender but in this blog, you have yet to describe what a "real man" is. I agree with much of what you say. A man should have his faith with God and not use it as tool for his own gains. That is, having faith that can be taken off outside the bedroom door which is not faith at all. Faith is that which motivates every cell and every neuron in one's body to exist. Faith knows no gender. Personally faith should never be used as a measuring stick because it is not our place in or on this earthly realm to judge another's faith in God. That is between that individual and God alone. (Don't worry, I am not pointing my finger at you...I have viewpoints that were pulled from the depths of my core based on some of the things that you said... in actuality, thank you very much for opening this door within me).

Onward. So... Demands... I think that a real man should know "When" to make demands...

"Bring me my Slippers" is a very bad time to make demands...
"The house is on fire, get out!" is a more appropriate time...

To state that a man should never make demands is binding him to ask for everything which nullifies the point that you made earlier about leadership. At least that's the way that I see the flow of the text.

Communication... well there's a big one. Men communication in one way and women communicate in a completely different style. So I would say that what men need to do is learn how women communicate. Now this is especially tricky because women's communication includes testing men to see if they know what the women are talking about. Real men are sharp of wit and have dexterity of intellect. Many Pseudo Men use big words, oftentimes, in an attempt to appear as though they know about that which they are talking. (hint to you men... If you didn't understand that sentence then you most likely have much to learn... don't give up)

Lastly... If you can't live your life as a happy single woman, how do you expect to attract a real man?

Light begins from within and it is there where you must begin the healing process. Defending against the ghost of previously mentioned homo ignoramous will only waste your energy and keep his hooks attached into your very sensitive spots which you, I am sure, have been protecting most egregiously. (yes I used the word egregiously)

While Black Heart is by NO MEANS asking me to defend my position here, I will say that the blog I wrote was written after a night without sleep of any kind to speak of, so it was rather choppy here and there, and did not do well in expressing my thoughts. He is right in saying that much of what I wrote is deeply attached to the pain handed to me by the aforementioned bottom of the barrel man I was dating a month or so ago, and may not accurately reflect my deepest convictions regarding what I look for in seeking a "real man".

Perhaps my tendency to attract men who are "the ruin of the good name of men who actually are worth a damn" is worth looking into...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Real Men

Since the relationship I had with the neanderthal ended a month or so ago, I have had a lot of time to think about the relationship, what went wrong, what could have been done better, and the fact that the relationship never should have been in the first place.

As it seems my body is done sleeping for now, I thought I would take a moment to share a few of my conclusions. I have written extensively about what I did wrong, where my mistakes were made in bringing to life this relationship that never should have been. I will not belabor those points.

In my opening sentence, I referred to my ex as a "neanderthal", and for good reason. I have concluded that he is not a real man. Nor are any of the other men I have dated. Rather than tell you all of the things he is, thereby explaining what real men are NOT, I will tell you what I think real men ARE.

Real men are able to be leaders. They do not have to ask permission to lead. I think it is rather like what Margaret Thatcher said about being powerful. She said, " Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell someone you are, then you're not." I see it that way with men and leadership. I do not think having male genitalia automatically makes a man a leader. Leadership is demonstrated through the day to day things of life, not in sweeping gestures of power-tripping when it makes a man look good to step into a leadership role. A real man knows how to lead, and begins first by maintaining balance and control in his own life. Do not expect me to let you lead me if I can clearly see you do not know how to manage your own life. Do you really think I am going to let you take me down with your sinking ship?

Real men take responsibility. Full responsibility. They do not look for ways out, they do not make justifications, they do not make excuses. As a leader, a real man will take responsibility for the road he chose to take, and for leading others down that same road. If things do not turn out as he hoped, he will not turn around and say, "Well, I will not take all the blame here. I am not the only one who messed up. " Perhaps he's not the only one who messed up, but he will be a real man about it and say, "I made the choice to go down this road, and I lead you down this road with me. I messed up, and I'm sorry." End of story. He will not look for ways to make others shoulder the blame, even if he justifiably could. A real man is his own man, through and through, even when things go horribly wrong. I take responsibility for my mistakes, and I expect the man in my life to do the same. We all mess up. I do it all the time. It's what we do after we mess up that tells the whole story.

A real man is able to take care of his responsibilities. For example, managing his finances. Being generous with the finances doesn't amount to much if he is not paying his bills on time. I am not impressed with receiving nice gifts (or gifts of any kind) if I know the one giving the gift has chosen to buy that gift instead of pay a bill. To me, that is repellant, not to mention insincere. So, you want to share your life with me, but you can't even pay your bills? Yeah, that's impressive. Real men don't shirk their responsibilities just to impress the one they care for.

Which brings me to my next point...Real men of God do not compromise that, even if it means perhaps losing the one they say they love. A double-minded man is unstable in ALL his ways. If I see a man compromising his faith in Christ just so he can please me, that is a clear indication to me that he is a man who is not trustworthy or stable in his life, and I need to get as far away from him as I can. He is not a man of God...at least, not as he may be claiming to be...and I have no desire to entertain a fraud.

Real men protect the ones they love. They do not act in selfish ambition, hurting the ones they love simply because it serves their best interests in the end.

Real men know how to put themselves aside, and favor the one they love. They put their needs, wants, hopes, etc...aside when the one they love cannot meet those needs, and they do not make demands on the one they love. The Bible speaks of preferring others above ourselves, and real men (and women) know how to do that. It is supremely selfish to see the one you love having their life turned upside down, and have the audacity to inquire nothing of their well-being except, "Where do I fit into all of this chaos?"

Real men "let their yes be yes and their no be no". This relates to the idea of making excuses and justifications, but also demonstrating integrity in who they say they are, and what they say they are going to do. A real man follows through on his word, and does not make promises he has no intentions or no means of keeping. A real man does not make empty promises or claims, just to impress people.

A real man does not make demands of the one he loves. Rather, when he says he loves her, he means he loves her as she is. That is, after all, what love is supposed to be. It does not mean, " I love you, but I am going to put you through this process (ie, "The Haroldification Process", which I had been made aware of many times during our relationship) in order to make you more acceptable and loveable to me." Or, " I love you, when you are behaving like I think a girlfriend/wife should. However, when you misbehave (for example, are not needy enough, or do not rely on my manly leadership enough), I will be sure to let you know so you can adjust your behavior." Real men do not make such demands. Real men love their wives as Christ loved the church...HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER!

Real men understand that respect is earned. They understand that they do not merit respect simply because of their genitalia, but that they need to prove themselves worthy of holding a place of respect and leadership in a woman's life. There is a basic respect given to all human beings that can and should be expected. Beyond that, though, I believe that everyone needs to prove themselves worthy of meriting greater respect. It's not just handed out.

Real men do not throw a spiritual glaze on their lives when it's convenient, and then live a life of immorality the rest of the time. Maybe I am expecting a lot, but I expect my man to be one who seeks Christ for himself, and does not need my prompting to do so. Real men have true accountability, and do not wait until things have gone completely awry before deciding to become spiritual and make a grand gesture to remedy the situation. I know that there are struggles people have. I have them. You have them. But real men are held accountable...truly accountable, not conveniently accountable...for how he is handling those struggles, and do not wait until the eleventh hour to make a grand show of all they are doing to correct the error of their ways.

Real men communicate. I know, "women are the communicators". I understand that, I really do. But real men don't avoid talking about problems, pretending everything is okay just because issues aren't "fun" to talk about. Real men talk about it! Even when things have gone south and a relationship is lost, real men make room for real communication about the matter, not doing things like...Oh, I dunno, declaring "Forty Days of Silence" right after a breakup. (Yes, that was very passive-aggressive of me, but it's my blog, so deal with it). Doing such things not only cuts off all chances of possible reconciliation, but obliterates any possible healthy communication that may have taken place. It may not have changed the outcome, but it at least leaves room for things to be said that need to be said before ways are parted. And phone calls made after said forty days of silence are just downright ridiculous. Real men, take note. Real men do not run and hide when the going gets tough. If it is time to part ways, they do so with maturity, rather than acting like a little girl who is going to take all her dollies and go home and pout because she didn't get her way. (Yes, passive aggressive. Yes, my blog.)

Okay, now I'm just getting pissy, so I'll stop. But you get the idea. Real men are men of integrity, honestly, and truth. They are who they are, through and through, and do not pretend to be someone else just to make an impression and lure someone into their deception.

I am not perfect. FAR from it (obviously, if you read my passive aggressive rants). But I do expect the man in my life to bring good things into my life, to challenge me to be the best person I can be, and to do so in a healthy way. By demonstrating healthy leadership, by protecting me, by taking responsibility for the choices he makes in his own life and in our relationship, by admitting his shortcomings and dealing with them on his own...not waiting until I'm ready to ditch him before he finally faces himself. In short, give me a real man...or let me live my life as a very happy single woman.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I would like to go to bed. But, I am in a lot of pain. It doesn't take much these days to bring on a world of hurt. I still have two more hours before I can take anymore medication to help kill the pain, or at least knock me out.

I am ready to be done with this. I do not know what will come of the biopsy next Tuesday, but I am to the point where I just want a definitive answer...even if it is cancer, and even if it means enduring painful treatments to "cure" it. I don't care. I am tired of being sick and in pain, unable to find any real relief, and not knowing why.

It is painful these days to sit, stand, lie down, walk...basically, to do anything. If I sit perfectly still all day, I might be able to get through the day without too many complaints. It is so frustrating. I want to be out there living my life. As it is, I can barely walk around my back yard without experiencing nearly unbearable pain. I want to be enjoying the Cherry Festival with my friends, but I know it would be too much and I would end up regretting that I pushed myself so hard. I went to a Bible study tonight, and I have been regretting that decision since I left the Bible study nearly four hours ago. I am in horrible pain, and the Vicodin just barely takes the edge off.

I want some answers. God, I want some answers.

Monday, July 09, 2007

It is finished

So I've been cleaning house the last couple of days. It started with smashing to bits a few of the gifts he gave me, then today I found his letters and burned them. Everything he gave me has now been either destroyed or given away, and that makes me very happy.

When this process began a few days ago, I did not even realize that it marked the end of the 40 day fast he had asked for until a friend reminded me. I suppose the timeline wasn't that significant to me, because he had requested a fast from our relationship. As we no longer had a relationship to speak of when he asked for the fast (I broke up with him two days prior to the request), I suppose the "fast" he requested was essentially over before it even began. At any rate, I inadvertantly marked the end of the fast by ridding myself of the things that represented the initial impetus for it.

I do not believe in coincidence. Even though I was unaware of the timing, I think God used it to bring an end to an era in my life. It was about so much more than just that one relationship. In destroying those things, not only was I severing soul ties between myself and a man who wounded me more deeply than any other man I've known, but I was symbolically bringing an end to the Stephanie that would ever allow such a man into her life to begin with.

It would be easy for me to point an accusing finger at him and say, "You played me! You schemed me and manipulated me from the beginning!" I also, though, have to look at my own role in this pain. Yes, he did play me. But, I let him. In wanting to believe for better things, I chose to ignore the signs that God was letting me see. If the last 40 days have meant anything to me, it has been a time of reflection on why I allowed the relationship to carry on for as long as it did, and why I was so vulnerable to such a man. Why I have been so vulnerable to men of his caliber throughout my entire life. All it took was sweet words and a sad story, and I was his puppet. Why did it take something this drastic for me to learn that if I have to keep the blinders on to make the relationship work, it is a relationship I need to end sooner rather than later?

God has definitely used this to teach me a thing or two about walking in the way of blessing. Just as I had to pick up the sledgehammer and smash those gifts by the force of my own hand, I can actively choose to embrace or reject the blessings He wants to bring into my life. Just as I could not hold on to those gifts and still expect the ties to be severed, I cannot make bad choices in my life and then wonder why God is not blessing me. I cannot choose to be with a man who is not good for me, who is a player, who is a fraud, etc..and then wonder why God is not blessing me with the "right" guy. I cannot choose to take matters into my own hands, then just hope that...somehow...it will work out into something that is blessed by God.

That's what I've been doing. Not just in relationships, but in a lot of things. I do think there are times...many times...when we do not have a clear indication of how God would have us move, at which point we must simply make a choice and go forward in it. However, there are times, especially in matters of the heart, when I know I am not making the best choice, but I want what I want. Then, when it blows up in my face, I have to deal with the pain I played an active role in allowing into my life. There is no getting around it.

So, looking at my pattern, I finally realize that I have no clue how to find the guy that is right for me. I realize that the right guy will come along when the timing is right. Until then, I am content to be single. I would rather be single and lonely for the rest of my life than be with someone who is not right for me and who I feel miserable with.

These lessons have been hard lessons to learn. This is without a doubt the most painful relationship I've ever gone through, and so much of the pain would have been avoided if I had just heeded the warning signs I was seeing. It is a lesson learned, however, and it is the end of something old and the beginning of something new. In smashing gifts, burning letters, giving things away...purging my life of all things tied to that particular relationship...I am embracing a new perspective, a new approach.

Everyone wants to be loved. Even the most hardcore person feels a yearning to find that perfect other to share their life with. It is a natural yearning, and it is one built within us for a purpose. So, I am not going to deny that I do yearn to find that other, and to share my life with him. However, it is not the be all and end all of my existence, and I understand that. I do not have to be with someone who brings unhappiness and pain into my life just so I will not be alone. There is joy in being single that I am learning to appreciate it more as time goes on. I know that the day will come when I will find that other to share my life with, but until that day comes, I am embracing the joy of this season of my life. I will never again be manipulated into being in or staying in a relationship I am unsure of, simply because I do not want to be alone.

Never again.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lazy Daze

So today has been a quiet but wonderful day. I talked with my dear friend Muffy, with whom I have not actually talked in probably about 12 years. We've come to rely heavily on MySpace and the like since we reconnected several months ago. I love technology, but it is sad how it makes actual human interraction almost entirely unnecessary. What happened to the days when the only way to communicate with someone was to actually pick up the phone and talk to them? Or, even more to the point, actually see them face to face? Or perhaps send a handwritten letter?

Anyway, we talked for as long as her signal would hold out in the boondocks of Virginia, and I am now more convinced than ever of the beautiful heart she possesses. If all goes according to our master plan, we will see each other before summer's end.

After I finished talking with Muffy (and ever so briefly talking to her other half), I went out to the garage to sift through some of my belongings that are still packed away since my hastily executed move a few weeks ago. While sifting through them, I found some pictures and gifts from my most recent dysfunctional relationship. I considered burning these items, but opted for the sledgehammer treatment instead. It was very liberating to put all the trinkets of everything I want to forget into a pile, and smash the heck out of them. With every blow of the hammer, the soul ties were fractured a bit more, until they were all but completely obliterated. I have more healing to do, but what took place in my driveway today was symbolic of ending the stranglehold the phantoms of that relationship have had on me.

I am trying to find homes for a few of the items he gave to me that were too costly to smash. I cannot bring myself to take a sledgehammer to a coffee bean grinder, as coffee is sacred. However, I also cannot bring myself to put it to any further use for myself, as it symbolizes a lot of pain for me. I had never before been with a man who worked so hard to make me "acceptable", down to trying to modify the very way I prepared my coffee. I am glad he is not a part of my life anymore, and ridding myself of all the clutter that represents him is a very liberating feeling indeed. I do not need people like that in my life. Love me as I am, or don't love me at all. But do not ask me to change for you.

Here is a novel idea...Rather than trying to modify the person you are dating to make them more to your liking, why not just face that they do not measure up to your standards, and break up with them? That's what I did! And it works like a charm!

Of course, after going through boxes and using the sledgehammer, I am tired and feeling some pain. Okay, significant pain. Well worth it, though, all things considered. Thank God Almighty for Vicadin!! Now it's time to relax, enjoy the evening with the family, and thank God for the tremendous blessings of toxic eras that have come to an end.

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