On a Blanket on the Island

Today I strolled out into the world with a new sun hat, a smile, and a blanket. I crossed the bridge onto the island and lay my blanket down to face the water and journal in the sun. It was beautiful. So, I invited a friend of mine to visit me there, if he had time. He did. We had been spending a few hours together, here and there, over the past couple weeks, getting to know each other, smiling a lot. It was sweet and slow, like it should be - not a crazy fast whirlwind, like most, that ends in tragedy or confusion. I liked him - he was interesting and deep, understood most of the things I talked about - I was intrigued, I appreciated him (he was quite nice looking too, which doesn't hurt). In honesty, my heart was (still is) yearning to meet someone who was interested in a different sort of relationship, one built on a foundation of trust and deeper meaning.

I am writing these personal things to you, not to vent, but rather to share something good, something that's sad but very very good. I want to do justice to this person and say thank you, God, for small victories.

He and I were going through the small talk, "how are you? what's going on? excited to graduate soon?" (thrilling stuff, I know) but I could kind of tell something was not quite right. (just to preface, its known to this person that I dislike it when people play games, aren't honest about how they feel or avoid confrontation because it’s uncomfortable). Then he said it. (or something close to this). "I just feel I need to be honest and tell you I've enjoyed getting to know you these past few weeks....but....I'm just not interested anymore in pursuing a romantic relationship". .......... Ouch.

There it was, just sitting there in front of us. I think my stomach did a triple flip. Now, at this point I could cry and get angry, try to seize control and take it personally. But as a rush of questions buzzed through my head and my eyes blurred a little from a few pressing tears, I just realized how brave he was. I never asked him why he had changed his mind, I didn't have to. It wasn't about that. Here was a guy who actually told me, in person, the honest truth.

My voice cracked a little as I responded to him, of course, my feelings were hurt, I'm a girl, and it’s unavoidable. So, I thought for a bit as he sat there next to me in the sun. I got the impression that he felt a little bad about it, sorry for hurting me, but I didn't want to discourage him from being real, so I said in all honesty, "I don't think you should stop telling people what you think, I respect you, that you told me." He said, "I've seen what happens when I'm not upfront with people." He said he didn't want it to happen again, "and I respect you." "Yeah," it was difficult to hold back my emotion now, "We're different, aren't we. And I don't want to make another mistake, I think I would break into pieces". We said a few more things, mostly unimportant, and after a smile, he left.

I sat there for a moment, a little dazed, blindsided, in a mild state of numbness; and then I started to cry. I felt like an idiot, but not really caring if anyone saw. I cried. I cried for all the men who never loved me, who lied to me, deceived me, hurt me. I cried at my own foolishness, brokenness, and sin. I cried because here was another example of how I was not enough, not quite right, not beautiful. At least...that's what I used to believe. But as my tears ran down my cheek, as I felt the emptiness creep in, I just stopped. No, it wasn't true. Yes, I felt that way, I felt that I wasn't good enough, but it wasn't actually true.

I don't know why he changed his mind. And I don't really need to know. But something really good - worthy, worth cherishing - happened today. He told me the truth. He told me even though it was hard, even though it was uncomfortable, even though it would have been easier to pretend, or convince himself otherwise. He was facing up to being a person, to being a human. That was character.

I can't tell you for sure if he was being genuine, if he really does respect me or if he just said it to make me feel better. Whatever, my value doesn't depend on whether or not he actually meant it. But on the good chance that he did mean it, I want to say: Thank you. Thank you for treating me with the kind of love and honesty we yearn for in our souls. Thank you for being loving enough to tell me the truth. Thank you, God, for taking something away that would have been even more painful and for giving me peace. Thank you, God, for teaching me something, for letting me see your Goodness in a time of disappointment. Thank you, friend, for having the guts to be a man; I hope you find the strength to continue to do it with love the rest of your life.

As I came home today, after an amazing dress rehearsal for our play (Thank you Lord), I listened to my roommate explain how her ex-boyfriend ignored her, for the nth time, today. It just made me realize how good and sweet it was to have someone treat me like a human being today - a blessing for him to say his peace, his awkward truth, and then smile, say hi, and shoot me a genuine compliment later the same day.

So here it is; this is what happened to me today.  To some it may not mean much, but it has made a world of difference to me. Thank you, it hurt, but thank you.