true forgiveness

the more i reflect on my relationship with trent, the more i realize how it was unhealthy. i was in a constant state of doubt and uncertainty. i feared losing him even though i secretly hope he would end it. he wasn’t abusive or manipulative or anything like that, but he wasn’t affirming or encouraging either. our relationship was incredibly static: no growth and no decay. i think i just enjoyed having him by my side for the sake of having someone by my side. did i love him? maybe. my definition of love was all-askew though. i can’t even begin to tell you what i thought love was because it was continually fleeting and dependent on feelings.

i move to los angeles four years after trent and i broke up. during those years, we had an even unhealthier friendship. it came in waves of not speaking to each other whatsoever, hooking up, or awkwardly hanging out with nothing physical. we didn’t speak to each other immediately following our break up and when he started dating one of my (ex) friends. we started hooking up after we began speaking to each other and then again after he and my (ex) friend stopped dating. whenever we were on speaking terms and nothing physical happened, i always felt this longing for him. living at my parents’ house after graduating college and him visiting our hometown during breaks from school made it easy. i would be the one who wanted to hang out. he would be the one that said yes. that’s what i liked the most.

trent was one of the first people i told about the possibility of moving to los angeles. he was the person i had the most trouble saying goodbye to. the last time we spent time with each other was september 1, 2012. i was without a vehicle, so once the evening was over, he drove me back to my parents’ house. as we hugged goodbye, he said, “i don’t know when the next time i’ll see you.” i’m not sure how i responded, but i know that when he started to let go of our hug, i just held on tighter. i was afraid i was never going to see him again. fifteen days later, we saw each other at a concert in milwaukee. he left without saying a word. later that week, i was offered the position in LA and he was the first person i called.

i knew that the Lord had definitely called me to live in LA. it took me a while to get a glimpse of what He was planning. for Christmas that year (2012), i went back to illinois. i hadn’t planned to trent during that time, but i definitely wanted to. in the windowless warehouse where i resided, i intricately wrote out exactly what i wanted to say (even in letter form!) it was all about saying goodbye and letting him go. but as i played this idea situation in my head, i became reluctant. i didn’t even want to think about it. the more the Lord asked me to let him go, the more i tried to hold onto the idea of him.

i remember having a conversation with keeley once, about forgiveness. it never crossed my mind that it was an issue. it frankly never crossed my mind at all. she asked a question that is instilled in my memory: would you be okay if he never forgave you? i was taken back. why wouldn’t he forgive me? why would he need to forgive me? i never hurt him. i was upset and bitter with this question. “no,” i said, “that would be terrible.” and with that, it clicked. i held a grudge. i thought he was undeserving of forgiveness; i thought i was deserving of it. i thought he should apologize for hurting me, while i hoped to deny him of that acceptance. it was all sorts of obscure. thankfully, the Lord didn’t leave me to think like that. through that conversation, He began opening my eyes to what He had been doing in my life.

the first epiphany was the reason why He called me to LA. i wondered why He wanted me to live in a place i had never been to. i wondered why He wanted me to serve a city where i knew absolutely no one. it was all quite sudden. but as weeks turned into months of residing in LA, i saw what i never would have if i stayed. oswego was my comfort zone and i remained in it. this clouded my vision to truly perceive my relationship with trent and the friendship that followed. i could not understand that even though trent was not toxic, he did not help me grow. the Lord had (and has) so much planned for me, but i continued to focus on anything but Him. so He removed all the distractions and settled me 2,000 miles out of my comfort zone and asked me to listen. and then i did.

He had a plethora of things to say. He didn’t say them all at once, but in His perfect timing, He has told me some pretty harsh thing i need to hear. trent didn’t love me. that’s the reason why he broke up with me. not only did he not see a future for us, he didn’t return my strong feelings for him. i kept living my life like whatever he felt about me was enough. i kept thinking that i could settle for that. i kept believing that’s all i was worthy of. but through this harsh reality, the Lord remind me of His unconditional and perfect love. He reminded me that no mortal man will love him as much as He loves me. He then showed me how obscure my perspective of love really was, how it was shaped and warped not only from my relationship with trent, but way before meeting him! when i found out that trent started dating someone (from checking his facebook), i cried. the Lord asked me to let him go and i continued to cry. He told me that He will keep on asking me this and i wondered if there was going to be a day that i’d say okay. i think i compromised with Him and ceased contact with him. first it was deleting him as a facebook friend (for the umpteenth time) and a contact on my phone (even though his number still lingers somewhere in my memory). but even with that, i still check his profile semi-regularly. for his 23rd birthday, i texted him and wished him a happy birthday. i was sure he would wish me a happy birthday the following year, but he never did. i thought i was truly ‘over’ him, but i found myself making excuses to see what he was up to and felt worse when i saw photos of him and his girlfriend. most of 2013 was like that.

two days out the year stick out to me the most. the day trent and i started dating, and the day we broke up. i tuck both of these in the back of my mind until the days leading up when memories burst through the dam i build specifically for these. i always wonder if trent remembers them in the same way i do or if it even crosses his mind for a brief moment. neither day hurts more than the other; some years why were both quite emotional. this past year (2014) was different though. the day marking our break up passed by. maybe i was busy with a new job, maybe i was caught up spending time with friends, i’m not entirely sure. i just know that for the first time, it didn’t hurt. the day marking the beginning of our relationship was similar. my heart didn’t ache. but it was a different different than before. i felt free. i felt at peace. in a simple sense, i guess i was finally “over” him. leading up to this revelation, i was fretting about the possibility of seeing trent when i visited for christmas. i conjure up the scene in which we’d see each other in target and have lunch and catch up. and in this dream state, i would casually mention i was dating someone because i believed that was the true mark of being “over” him. if i were dating someone, i would have physical evidence that i moved on, but it would only prove the opposite. i knew that wouldn’t be a testament to God’s grace. so to prove that this is all the Lord and not by my puny power, i am not currently dating anyone. and so God’s grace radiates. God’s grace enabled me to be joyful for trent, not bitter envious. grace enabled me to to forgive him for the hurt and pain i associate with only him. grace enabled me to desire trent to share that he accepted Christ instead of desiring a relationship of my own. grace enable me to write this honestly. grace has redefined love and reoriented my perception of it. i never imagined freedom and forgiveness to look like this: to not have contact with trent in over a year and longing for him to love, follow, and serve the Lord.