“This isn’t working,” he said as he dropped me off after our date on Friday night.
We’d been out for coffee and were having a perfectly normal time…until we weren’t. He fed me a lot of lines about how I was nice person and he wasn’t opposed to hanging out in the future, but it definitely felt like he was trying to save face as the nice guy as he left. He had decided that things weren’t working, and that was that.
The details of it all aren’t really the point. The point, I think, is that this weekend I was dumped, and I cannot recall a time that I felt more loved.
(Side note to any of my girls or any other woman in your twenties or thirties reading this that is single and dating and making the decision not to have sex: I’m proud of you. Making a commitment to anything is bound to cost you something, and making a commitment to this is probably going to cost you a relationship or two along the way, and it’s going to hurt. And it’s probably going to make you question why you made the commitment in the first place. Go ahead and ask yourself again, because I think what you’ll find is that trading in your conviction on this is not worth it, however great the guy might be. Your friends may not understand why you’ve made this decision, and that’s okay too. Because this is between you and God, and you have your reasons, and that’s really all there is to it. I know it’s not an easy conviction to hold, but I know it’s worth it. From me to you, by the grace of God, you are strong and you’re going to be okay. )
Late Friday night, once I was inside my house and had sent BJ on his way with the assurance that we would indeed not being hanging out in the future, I called in reinforcements. I leaned on my people.
Two of my people are my parents. I told them what happened, what he had said and how I had responded, and they told me they were proud of me.
Thank God for supportive and affirming parents.
I called Danielle, and she said all the things that I pretended I didn’t need to hear, but really did – about how being my friend is a gift, about how great I am, about how walking away from me was really his loss.
Thank God for girlfriends who know what to say.
I crashed at Danielle’s on Saturday, and we ate fried pickles and drank margaritas, and she let me talk as much or as little as I needed to. And her mom made a pot of tea and lemon-poppyseed scones, because they are warm and comforting, and I ate three of them. And when I was falling asleep on their couch at 8:30 that night, they sent me to bed in the guest room and told me to get sleep.
Thank God for friends who take you in and treat you exactly like family.
I called Joy, my college roommate, and she told me how sad she was that she was so far away. She quoted that line from Sex and the City about how your girlfriends maybe can be your soul mates, and she told me that she loved me. And she made me laugh in spite of myself.
Thank God for girlfriends who keep you laughing.
While I was on the phone, Nickie texted with a slew of questions which I didn’t get to answer before her last message came – “Forget it. I’m on my way over.” And at a little after 1 AM, she rolled up in front my house and we sat in her car for two hours, plans to find a still-open coffee shop abandoned as I told her about what had happened.
Thank God for girlfriends who come with listening ears at all hours.
At 5:45, I got a text message from Jesse assuming correctly that hadn’t slept, and the offer to come over right then if I wanted it. I did, and so at 6 AM, I walked into the BFF’s house and she hugged me hard, and we sat on her couch drinking coffee and eating leftover apple pie right from the tin. And she told me how proud she was of how I was handling myself in this, how different it was that I was letting people in, how much good change she had seen in me over the years. And when Amy showed up later in the morning, without knowing what Jesse had said, she affirmed the exact same things.
Thank God for girlfriends who stay in long enough to see changes.
I told my mom Friday night that I figured I had two ways I could deal with this break-up. I could do what I always do, allowing this to be something that pushes me deep into darkness and builds walls to keep people out. Or I could do something different, looking for the ways that God was showing me love and grace in the mess.
This was a moment of a relationship ending, and I had put myself all in the relationship, and it would be easy to believe that I am worth walking away from, because this is one of my greatest, ugliest self-thoughts. BUT…
I have this community that happily counters that lie at every turn. They tell me that they love me, and then they show up to prove it. They feed me, and they listen to me, and they affirm and challenge me. They invite me into their homes, and they let me sleep in the guest rooms, even though I’m not a guest anymore, I’m family. And in doing these things, they remind me over and over, at every turn, that I am deeply loved.
And their love is grace.
This is why we need to be in community. This is why we do the hard work of friendship. Because there are people who will let you down and bail on you or break up with you, but…there are people who will show up. And these are the people you lean into.
Because their love is Grace.