I meant to post this on February first. I also meant to post a few other things in the months of December and January.
Sorry about that.
Anyway, when I mentioned the Super Bowl, many of you Seattle-ish locals were probably like, “Yeah, we WON that!” And we totally did. GO HAWKS. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.
February 1 marked the ten-year anniversary of two things: First, Super Bowl XXXVIII (#38, for the curious). The Panthers played the Patriots, and the Pats won with a field goal in the last 4 seconds of the game. Yes, I just looked all of that up. I didn’t care much about football then. What I do recall of the game was its halftime show, when Janet Jackson had her unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. I also recall that my boyfriend at the time had recently purchased TiVo. Janet’s nip slip was a fortuitous turn of events for a teenage boy who could now pause live TV.
And second, speaking of said teenage boy…February 1, 2004 was the day I was dumped by my first boyfriend. After the game, and after his family had gone to bed, he led me to his basement bedroom and proceeded to mumble something about a connection for a good hour. Finally, I just had to ask, because he wouldn’t just SAY IT: Are we breaking up?
Yes, yes we are.
He walked me to my car. And then he hugged me and asked if we could be friends. I said yes. Because that’s what an 18-year-old who’s already given too much to someone who didn’t deserve her says. I didn’t know yet how much keeping him in my life would hurt. So I drove home that night–speeding, sobbing, calling my mom. I cried myself to sleep somewhere around 3:00am. Then I got up and went to school. And so began three months or so of what can only be described as zombie-dom. It was my first broken heart. I felt all the rejection and pain and regret of any other breakup, but this was the first. When it’s the first, you have no concept of when it will end. Or if it will end at all. It took many embarrassing attempts to get him back, a few three-page letters declaring my love and undying patience. You know, for when he realized what he’d lost. It took a phone call when he asked ME how he should ask another girl to prom for me to snap out of it and say, “ You know, I think we’re really done here.” I fell right to sleep for the first time in months. I woke up the next morning feeling somehow whole again.
I’d made it through. It ended. And every break-up since, even those with much more heartache on a bigger, grown-up scale, I’ve leaned on the knowledge that even if it’s not today or tomorrow, it will get BETTER. I have to be honest in that I don’t believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It can also make you scared, insecure, or a little crazy if you let it. And for a long time, I let it. Oh boy, did I let it. But I guess sometimes it’s enough to know that what doesn’t kill you, you’ve survived.
Fast forward to February 1, 2014. I spent the day with my husband, who loves me in a way I never could have hoped for all those years ago. Washing dishes in our beautiful home, my mind started wandering back to ten years ago. And in a (very) rare moment of clarity, I realized the precious ways God has shown Himself in my life, and how frivolous and useless they render my present worries. I have so many memories of struggles and pain and confusion, but I hear Him now asking, “When have I not delivered you? When was I not there?”
“…Because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…” -Hebrews 13:5-6
For those who are wondering, I’ve seen my first ex-boyfriend twice since we finally parted ways. The first was when he took my order at Taco Time. The second was at a dive bar in Kirkland, WA. So, yeah.
Thank you, God.