Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 9: {31 Days of Grace} College Quicksand and I am sinking

Today I'm gonna try writing in the morning instead of waiting until the whole house is asleep and I can barely hold my eyes open!

Plus, I really want to get through this part of my life with John. I don't want to glaze over a lot of the details about this relationship because I feel they (and the relationship in general) are so pertinent to my past.  At the same time, the story is so long and convoluted, not to mention my memory has clouded over some things for sure, that I will have to condense at least.

Just as I have bounced back and forth between the story of my relationship with John and other grace topics, my mind goes back and forth as to WHY I am doing this.  I realize the journey, the process, can be healing and helpful ultimately.  The journey is also painful for me, though; it feels self-inflicted and like I am waist deep in quicksand.  Going back to a time that really just pulled me down emotionally and spiritually, is draining in the present.

Still, I trudge on; to finish what I started, knowing the reward and the progress I make towards REAL forgiveness and healing will be worth the current agony.

So I left you with how John had fallen back into bed with his ex-girlfriend - I'll call her Quinn*.  For some reason, I listened that day as he told me the story - all the reasons excuses he had for doing it.  Call me a masochist - I was! - I still loved him and he seemed to need to talk about this.  Looking back, I sacrificed myself and endured many hurts for what I thought was "love" for John.

Time went on, and a month or more passed.  John and I had been apart for at least 2 months and maybe a little more, but still seeing each other a few times as a week "as friends." 

I'd been dating Phillip from the BSU and also spending a lot of time over at the BSU building.  It was probably very good for me and I wonder what I was thinking by not sticking with it?!

I assumed that John and Quinn were still seeing each other on weekends based on the few things he said about her when we were hanging out or having lunch together.  

Then one morning in March (?), he called me from downstairs outside my dorm room and asked me if he could come up.  He said he needed to talk to me and it couldn't wait.
When someone says something like that, my thoughts go straight to "I hope everything is ok; I wonder if something happened to someone in his family?"
After all, it sounded urgent.
When John got to my room, he was all dressed up - well, dressed up for a normal day of classes, maybe not dressed up as if he were going to church.  He was all smiles, almost giddy, and I knew something was really strange.
I remember sitting down on the bottom bunk, him kneeling in front of me and taking my hand as he began to speak.
While I don't remember the exact words, they went something like this:
I realize I've made a terrible mistake! Last week at lunch you said something, gave me advice, that most ex-girlfriends wouldn't give.  What you said made me realize that you really do love me and want me to be happy, even if we aren't together.  How could I ever ask for more than that from the person I want to spend my life with? 
And, I realized, neither of us is happy apart and I wondered why we are apart.  
This past weekend I went to see Quinn and told her it was over; she knew I was still in love with you.  I'm here today to tell you that I am still in love with you; to apologize, and to ask if you'll give me another chance?

I may have forgotten to mention this, but John was by far the most romantic guy I ever dated!  
It sounds great right? Here was what I'd been waiting for (2 to 3 months seemed A WHOLE LOT longer back then)! 
Without giving it much thought, I said "yes," and we resumed our relationship as if it had never ended.

And we were happy...

...for about 8 or nine months until we went through the whole thing again my sophomore year.  And again, we were back together by Valentine's Day that same year, because he gave me a sapphire and diamond ring as my gift that year (to make-up for the break-up, no doubt).

Unfortunately, the second break-up was much harder on me than the first.  Instead of dealing with my feelings, trying to spend some time alone to work on me, I ran from one guy to the next.  I partied until I numbed the pain, and in that inebriated state I made really stupid choices and tons of mistakes.

One of the biggest, that I feel guilty about to this day, is falling into the arms of a high school friend, Stephen.  He graduated a year earlier than I did, but during my sophomore and junior years he dated a good friend of mine and all 3 of us ate lunch together everyday.

He had broken up with her recently and was drinking away his heartache as well.  We both thought we "needed" someone and we were so comfortable with each other that it was beyond easy for us to use each other.  I knew he still loved her and I'm sure he knew I still loved John.  

And while more of my freshman and sophomore years were spent "with" John than without him, it was the space in between, the 2 or 3 months here and there, that really did me in.  I told myself that no one else would ever love me the way he did.  

...because he knew me, the real me, the ugly inside, mess of a girl, who just wanted to be liked but went about it all wrong, me.  He knew the me that let things fly out of my mouth before my brain had really processed them; hurtful things that cost me friendships simply because I didn't realize how the words would sound to the one receiving them.  He knew me deeply emotionally and physically; I'd shared and told him more inner thoughts and dreams and condemnations than I had ever admitted to anyone before.  And I couldn't take those back.

I mistook that connection for a life-long commitment that I was already bound to, when the truth was I could've left it anytime.  

I let John and my jumbled up feelings and fears about him be my excuse for rampant bad decisions and a fake "I don't care anymore- it's too late for me" attitude.

And so, I gave myself away, piece by piece, body, mind and soul to John and these other boys, before I was even halfway though my college years.

I created for myself such a large pool of regret that no matter which path I took going forward, going back was never going to be an easy thing.

And today, going back is really, really hard. I'm about neck deep in that college quicksand now, so I have to stop.

I cling to the verses that remind me of the grace and mercy of our God and that they are fresh and abundant every day.

Here is a picture I took off my front porch last night...

I think I love sunsets so much because no matter how bad the day was, it always ends and we get to start fresh with a new sunrise with some hours of rest in between.

May we both see God's grace today in many forms! 

* For those who may not know, I change all the names in my blog.  I have always written anonymously because I am very wary about what I post out there in cyberspace.  I am not afraid to own my words, but since this is like journaling for me, I wouldn't want one of my subjects to read about themselves by accident and end up hurt by it, when that is not my purpose here.

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