There comes a time when you have to say "goodbye" to the things of the past; a point where you wake up to the reality that your future can't involve people or situations over which you have no control. A moment you are fully aware that you are being controlled emotionally by the disappointment and, as a consequence, that your time and your energy and, very sadly, your state of mind are being held hostage to your inability to open your hand to a future without your past.
When you hit that crossroads, you know walking forward without looking back is the best thing you can do.
I have this history, this long list of things done to fix my own situation.
I've tried to hold my head up high and proclaim that I don't care (not true). I've tried asking for a heart that isn't hurt (but it is). I've tried being strong and muscling through (heaping on more disappointment).
Yet, I've found, in my own strength, I am extremely weak. I can't say goodbye just once. It seems I KEEP running backward to say goodbye "one last time", hoping against hope that something will have changed and that my goodbye will end up being a new hello.
This goodbye reminds me of the "on again, off again" relationships I seemed to have post-college. The kind that involved men I am so incredibly thankful I didn't marry. The kind that were on again in sloppy conversations at midnight after one-too-many-drinks. And, off again, when I realized the next morning, mid-hangover, that he wasn't ever going to change.
If I know my past isn't good for me, why in Heaven's name do I keep trying to fix it and make it my present?
I realize I am better off to move on. I realize I am the only one in this equation who apparently cares. I am blatantly aware that this is not going to change.
So, I must. It's just so damn hard.
Not so long ago I studied Job and his stubborn character. Job was, if nothing else, a zealot for his way of doing things. Even when it was abundantly clear he was fighting against God and wasn't going to win, he kept ignoring God and running back to his own way. It literally took Job being on the doorstep of death before he got the picture that it was God's way or no way at all. So, Job finally relented, got the task done, and sat down in the desert and had a big, fat pity-party for himself, shaking his fists at God for making him obey.
I feel like Job, mid-mission, without the death wish.
I know moving forward is for my own good. I know God has His hands all over these circumstances. I know that I am doing myself little, if any, good in wishing for things that are clearly not going to happen. My brain KNOWS.
But my heart is broken in little, tiny pieces. And it has been for too many years.
Some days, with God's help, I feel strong enough to dream about moving forward; I make baby steps toward healing. Other days, I battle life alone and tip-toe backwards to play the "what if" game solo. On the worst of days, I blame myself for the brokenness, as if I could change the circumstances and God's mind by simply demonstrating how much I don't want to leave the past behind.
In the strength only God can provide, I want to be the anti-Job. I want to hear God's voice and obey, even if I have no explanation as to the "whys" and "what ifs". I want to say goodbye, without God having to remind me to do so for the umpteenth time, even if I might die trying. I want to be convicted that change is the right thing to do, not just for myself, but for everyone involved. And, when this long goodbye comes down to one last farewell, I want to look back and celebrate the victory of taking care of what God has known all along was my job to accomplish, even if this was the longest goodbye ever.
I know my God is bigger than these circumstances. And, I'm grateful that my heart can be mended and the hurt plucked out so that I can see a future without my past.
God, please grant me the peace and wisdom to see this through to completion. Help me to understand what I need to do. Break me where I need to be broken. Heal me where I need to be healed. Help me to forgive where forgiveness is the only solution. Love me back to wholeness again. Replace my disappointment with gratitude for all I have in the here-and-now. Let my hands be open to see my present blessings and to receive the gifts you are trying to give, gifts that will replace the shattered dreams of my past.
You are bigger than all of this God. Let me never, ever forget that.