A good story…
A few days ago I mentioned how much I love 40 day programs. I thought today, I would share briefly the best story of one that I have.
One August I found myself incredibly heartbroken, having broken up with a man I loved and had dated for a year and a half. There was something though about the breakup that signaled to me it wasn’t “perfect”. I found that it was during our conversations about the break that we were more ourselves and more honest with each other than we had ever been before. This was relieving, yet at the same time, a sign that we did not bring out the best in each other.
I was caught, though, within with the boundary of mind. How do you conceptualize life without the other person there? I was faced with the tremendous unknown and it was painful, scary and hard.
One of the greatest things that happened a couple of weeks afterwards was that I called him. As I am sure you know, the hardest part of breaking up with someone is often losing a friend, most likely a best friend. Then you find yourself sitting in your kitchen one night wanting to talk to the one person that you can’t anymore. So, I did. I crossed the line. I called. I wanted to hear his voice, to see how he was doing, to get some validation that I wasn’t crazy for still wanting to talk.
That’s when I received the greatest gift he ever gave me. He was rude. Short. Terse. Mean. Every single-word sentence, every monotone phrase struck my heart with pangs of the fact that he really didn’t want me. I got off the phone flabbergasted and shocked. I realized then that the door was truly closed and he had just nailed it shut.
Through the tears that streamed down my face, I had to face this reality. So, I did. That short conversation, where he talked to me like I was cold calling him, snipped every wire within me that tied me to him. While I still cared for him and loved him (I don’t know how to switch that one off so suddenly), I realized now all I could do was mourn us and move on.
I drew resources from everywhere to help me to move forward. There were diet changes and sleep changes. Work inspirations and friends instructed with particular things they needed to do if they saw me upset. I looked at myself physically, emotionally and spiritually and examined ways for all these different aspects to propel me forward. I had to get beyond the limit of my thinking that he was the only one, or that it was meant to be.
As part of this process I picked up my roommate’s A Purpose Driven Life for the sole reason that it offered me discipline and a focus on something larger than myself. There I committed to its 40 day plan, sure to journal every day, no matter what the circumstances.
In the next few weeks, large and small things happened. I went on a few dates. I hosted a band of friends. I threw myself into work. I kissed someone new (and cried). I affirmed love fervently in the shower. I wrote letters to him that I knew never to send. I cried again. And above all, I wrote, journaling every day, prompted by this book.
On the fortieth day, a Friday, I woke up with Charleston breezes pushing my white curtains onto my bed and birds singing the morning in. Today I was going to Athens, GA to see old and best friends. To explore my new-found independence and to take my friends Drew and McCauley up on their offer for a road trip.
If I have ever felt freedom, I felt it that morning. Upon waking, I felt compelled to dance! I danced in front of the bathroom mirror as I hadn’t danced in years. I swayed and shook. I waltzed and laughed. I whipped my hair around and slapped the floor. I was everywhere. In the end, the peace and the smile that comes from dancing descended upon me.
While to anyone that walked in I looked like a crazy single girl, I realized very quickly that I was far from being alone. In fact, I was more in love that day than I ever had been before. Life had found its way back to me. Life had asked me to dance again.
This dance was a sign of a commitment on both of our parts to bring Joy to the other. I sat there in awe, wanting to coddle this feeling, this awareness of the grandeur of Life. I wanted to take this confidence and presence of Life and Love with me forever. Despite having been in a relationship, I hadn’t felt this way ever with him. So I sat down and smiled. “Thank you” was all I seemed to say. The voice that said this came from my true self, a person I hadn’t seen in a while.
Time passed and my ride arrived a few hours later. We headed to Athens and I carried with me my new love and sense of peace that I truly had enough.
That evening I arrived at what would in just a few months become my own future home. I stepped out of the car, relieved to be close to friends soon, and Drew walked out to greet to. He says his heart completely stopped the moment he saw me step into his sight. I was still smiling at Life so much I didn’t notice.
I did notice his captured nature later that night. Drew grabbed me and kissed me in the hallway, separated from the rest of the guests only by a thin closet door. I never imagined a kiss could be that good. I didn’t know that my whole body could feel the love I had felt that morning with another person. I didn’t know that miracles like this could happen to me.
It may sound crazy, but the thought that ran through my head again and again, so much so that I even started to say it out loud during the kiss was “Nothing is too good to be true! Nothing is too good to be true!”
On that night of my fortieth day, I learned that Life knew there was more to love than what I had experienced. I learned there was more to love than any of us had ever experienced. It just needed me to get there. It needed me to have a habit and focus that would be long enough to bring me out of myself. That is exactly what it did and it landed me right on the doorstep of my future husband, miraculously.