Mom? Dad? Where am I? Have I crossed over?
No, son, you haven’t “crossed over” it’s not your time yet. And who talks like that? Crossed over? Anyway, come and sit with us. We know the last several months have been difficult for you, and we thought now would be an excellent time to visit you.
Well, it’s a little unusual, to say the least, but you’re right about that the last few months, they have trying. Sometimes I say to myself, why even bother? Does it matter? If the big man wants me to suffer, I’m more or less powerless to stop it.
Is that what you think?
That’s what I know. I mean, I pray to him. I’ve tried to live my life the correct way, yet here I am dealing with this. It’s like he has forsaken me.
So you believe that if you simply ask, he’ll look at you, and boom like that, you’re problems disappear? Interesting? But I can understand how you may feel forsaken. You know your mother and I have always believed you to be remarkable. Someone born with the unique talents to accomplish whatever you set your mind to—the empathy to treat others with love and respect and not expect anything in return. The intelligence to see a problem and reason out the best solution. So it is surprising that you do not see the obvious.
That the Lord will help you by showing you the way, guiding you to right path, but you must be willing to walk the road. There are no easy fixes. If you believe in him, he will believe in you, he will show you the way. But showing you is not the same as doing for you. Sometimes we forget that.
So you’re saying this is a test of my faith?
No, what you will soon come to understand, son, is he does not crave your belief. If he did, he would not have given you free will. What he does desire is that you live your life in accordance with the principles he has laid out. That you treat others with the respect and love, you desire. This is especially important in times of darkness. How you treat others when it appears all things around you are failing is a look inside your soul. You see, it is not a test in your faith in him but an examination of yourself. If you pass, it does not matter if you say you believe in him or not because your actions will show that you believe in what is right and pure, and that is what he desires for each of us.
I get it, righteously live my life, and the Lord will lead me in the direction of good things. Thankfully I was raised by two beautiful people who instilled in me the righteous way.
It is good to see despite some bumps in the road; you have chosen to live your life adhering to the principles your father and I set for you. But what you must remember is that as a living being, your definition of “good things” might differ from the definition of good things on a spiritual level.
Whoa, that seems like a cop out. Are you saying that no matter what you do, you may find you do not always get the happy ending you search for?
Yes and no. If you define your happiness as only what you can measure on the plane of existence for which you currently reside, then I guess you could say no.
Look at it this way, your mother and I are talking to you now. This plane of existence is very different than the one in which you usually reside. Yet the look on your face when you saw us. The feeling of love emanating from your heart and the happiness you feel right now exist but in quite a different way than if we were on your normal plane of existence. Stay still for a minute, close your eyes, and listen to your heart. Now let’s go back to the very beginning when you first saw us, and you asked have you crossed over. Suppose you had? Would that feeling of happiness and love you have right now cease to exist?
I think I understand. I genuinely miss you and how you always explained things to me. How you are able to make me understand things other could not, how you always showed me what is right is wrong. Most importantly, no matter how stubborn I was, how you never gave up on me, how you loved me as no other two people could ever love me.
You were our child, special in that you were not born of us, but we chose you to be our child. As much as you think we impacted you, watching you grow into the man you are today brought happiness to us as well. And do not believe we do not continue to benefit from that as we continue to watch you. We even cheat a bit, when permitted of course, and help you through some rough moments. The day will come when we all exist together again as a family, but that time is not now. You have much to accomplish yet, and we will be looking on proud parents. But for now, we must leave you.
Wait, will I even remember this?
Of course, I wouldn’t go around broadcasting it, spirituality isn’t what it used to be, and some may want to have your head examine, so let this be our little secret, son, and remember this is not goodbye. It’s only till next time. We love you.
And I love you, Mom and Dad, till next time.
There is only darkness in hate but in love there is light.
I admit I was dreading it, the first Valentine’s Day since you left. Try as I might to ignore it, I couldn’t. Because even a simple trip to Rite Aide to pick up a tube of toothpaste reminded me with rows of heart-shaped candies, teddy bears saying I love you and an army of hallmark cards leaping out at me that Valentine’s Day was coming. Now, I know the real reason for this “official” day of love is the economy, because without it, how else could they justify the ridiculous mark up for roses? But I have to admit I’m a sucker for it. There’s nothing that gave me more joy than seeing the smile on your face when you saw your Valentine’s day roses.
But this year, there would be no one to send flowers to, plan a dinner date for, hold hands with and cuddle with at the end of the day. As February draws near, there is so much love being thrown in my face I have no choice but to face the hard truth, being single sucks. But I’m also determined not to let anyone know how I truly feel, so I soldier on smiling and laughing while crying on the inside. And I’m good at it, as far as anyone looking at me knows I’m alright. But I’m not, and even the strongest of men wouldn’t mind a shoulder to lean on now and then, but my façade says I don’t need one. So, it up to me to the right the ship by myself, and let me tell you, that’s not easy.
Nevertheless, I went to work. First, I took a step back and looked at the multitude of family and friends who love me, are always there for me, and would never leave me alone. I realized that romantic relationships come and go, but family and friends…well, they’re not going anywhere. Second, I resolved not to give up hope. Because once hope is gone, any chance of finding happiness goes with it. My life is a journey and each day represents a new step, and each new step represents new possibilities. One day that next step will lead me to the happiness I’m seeking. But I’ll only get there if I have the strength to take that next step. Third I said to myself; you can’t hide from love. Bob Marley once said, “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for. So, while you may have hurt me, there is someone out there worth suffering for.
So, I guess being single doesn’t suck after all, and you know what? Valentine’s day will be a happy occasion for me because I have family, friends, and the hope that the right one is out there and will find her one day.
I used to, but now I never let our breakup define my self-worth.
I put so much of myself into us that when you walked away, it broke me, made me think that I was a failure and that no one would ever love me. But that was not true because I’m a giving man, a loving partner, and I have a kind heart, and just because you didn’t see that does not mean I am not worthy of love; it only means you weren’t ready for it.
I used to, but now I never dwell in the past.
I do not run, hide, or pretend we never existed. I loved you with all my heart, and while you couldn’t give me that love in return, I have let the pain of losing you go. Today you are but a part of my story, a lesson learned. One that I shall grow and gain strength from. Because life exists in the here and now, and so do I.
I used to, but now I never wish for you to come back.
I recognize now that you couldn’t comprehend the fundamental principle that having someone like me in your life is a good thing and as such, logic dictates you were never worthy of me in the first.
It was a cold January moment, and as I was getting ready for work, Queen was emanating from my radio
Each morning I get up, I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord, what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief,
Can anybody find me, somebody, to love?
I thought to myself that when Freddie Mercury wrote those words, he probably didn’t realize just how many people he was speaking for. People like me find themselves alone at this time of the year. Sure, I survived going to the family Thanksgiving dinner solo and answering the dreaded question of when I will settle down. Then I made it through that empty feeling of waking up on Christmas morning with no one to smile or hug and say I love you to as they unwrapped their gift. New Year’s Eve quickly followed, and of course, there was no special person to kiss as the clock struck midnight. I did it all with a smile, a smile that hid the tears that I kept to myself and only let the mirror see. But the calendar keeps moving, and now here comes another hurdle, Valentine’s day. It’s seemingly everywhere. Go to the drug store, and there are heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and teddy bears with I love you sweaters everywhere. Turn on the radio and television, and I swear if I hear one more commercial for 1-800-Flowers or Kay Jewelers and their annoying little jingle, every kiss begins with K, I’m going to scream. Even my e-mail account gets in on the fun with a reminder from 1-800-Flowers that Valentine’s day is coming up, and I should make it a special one for her by placing my order early this year.
I thought I would be over her by now. I did everything I was supposed to. I focused on myself. I dropped a few pounds, brought some new clothes, followed all the self-help books right down to the letter; hell, I even stopped going to that psychic who I hoped would tell me that she was coming back. Ask anyone, and they would say to you that I’m getting better, and I would say to them don’t even think about her anymore. But when I’m alone in my thoughts, she is all I can think of.
Why? Why did she leave? Didn’t I show her how much I loved her? Didn’t she tell me she loved me? Freddie Mercury was right; I just can’t get no relief. I don’t understand. Is it so much to ask to have someone’s hand to hold, lips to kiss, someone to lay down with every night and wake to every morning, someone to love? In many ways, my life seems empty, and I wonder will it ever not be. But despite all the heartbreak, I feel myself getting a little stronger each day, and when I look in the mirror and see my tears, I try to remember who I am and what I can give. I try to remember that I do have someone to love, myself. Now I can’t pretend that remembering that makes all the pain go away, but hopefully, it will help me understand that I’ll have two people to love myself and someone special one day.
I’ve never been a morning person and this morning was no different. Groggy eyed I stared into the mirror as I brushed my teeth when something strange happened; the reflection in the mirror appeared to be talking to me.
Have you ever regretted falling in love? Wished you never met her?
I rubbed my eyes and thought, okay, I didn’t have anything to drink last night, and I know I’m tired, but this can’t possibly be happening. Then the reflection asked again.
Have you ever regretted falling in love?
Alright, I’ll play along; I mean, if nothing else, this will be an excellent story to tell my therapist. So, I looked in the mirror and said no, not at all. Why not? The reflection asked. I mean, you were hurt, you’re in therapy, that last relationship took a toll on you. Yes, I replied I was hurt, and I’m not ashamed of being in therapy; it’s been really good for me. But the moment didn’t break me. Didn’t it? Asked the reflection. No, It didn’t, I said because I’ve come to realize that moment is but one moment along a longer journey I am on, and I will not be deterred by just one moment. I will continue my journey unafraid of what lies ahead, confident that it will lead me to my true love one day. So, I say again, no, I have never regretted falling in love. With that, the reflection said, great, I was just checking to make sure you still believed in love because someone out there believes in it too, and one day you’re going to find each other. Oh, and by the way, I’d keep this conversation between you and me; tell your therapist, and they just might think you’re losing it.
As I look back now, I guess I owe you an apology. An apology for being so mad when you turned and walked away from us. What I really should have been was thankful.
Confused? Don’t be; it’s simple.
You see, I committed my heart to you, assuming you meant it when you said you loved me and that we would always be together. That day you left, I can’t lie it hurt, hurt like hell. Would I be wrong to say you never really loved me? Maybe, I don’t know, I guess in your way you thought you did. But the truth for me is that I would have been cheating myself if I had settled for you.
Well, it’s been some time since that day you walked away, and I have had time to reflect and heal, and out of that came this realization; I’m a catch. Now maybe you couldn’t see it but trust me when I tell you others do.
You see, I recognize now that I’m not that perfect man you were looking for if he even exists. But what I am is a man who will always be there for the one I love. A man who will always respect and treat my women like a queen and the woman I have committed my heart to now appreciates that and loves me for who I am. She is accepting of me for me, imperfections and all, just as I am of her. We do this because we realize that a relationship is seldom two perfect people finding each other; it’s two imperfect people finding each other and are willing to work together to make each other better. I suspect one day you’ll find someone new and fool them until you can’t. But I wish you only happiness, like everyone, you deserve to be happy. Sadly, though I suspect you’ll never find that happiness until you learn what true love is, hopefully, one day you will. In the meantime, good luck, and thank you again for walking away.
It’s in the mornings when I can still feel you lying next to me; I reach out to pull you closer because when you were in my arms, nothing else mattered. But mornings are nothing more than a dream now, and you’re not here, and you don’t love me anymore.
You looked right in my eyes and told me you loved me, that you wanted to grow old with me. I trusted you with my heart, and you broke it. You made me bitter and unwilling to open my heart to anyone for fear of getting hurt again.
My friends, family, and co-workers would tell me to move on. Get back out there, they would say. It could be worst you could be (fill in the blank), they would say. I knew all of this, and I certainly didn’t wake up every day and decide today is yet another day to be miserable. I wanted to be the happy person they knew again. But I was hurting and trying to find my way back home, but the road is longer than the rest for some of us.
As I traveled the road back, I tried to put on a brave face I would tell the world there are plenty of fish in the sea, I’m better off without you, this is for the best I’ll find someone who truly loves me. But I didn’t believe it you were my fish, and I wanted you back. The hardest part of it all is that I thought you truly loved me, and deep down, the thing I didn’t want to admit, I still wanted to believe that you did.
I would walk down the street mesmerized by couples holding hands; I could only think about your hand in mine, and each time I thought if I broke inside a little bit more. I started to notice the people in restaurants eating alone, sitting on the park benches by themselves, and even if they weren’t, and they probably weren’t, I thought they were depressed and lonely, and then I thought, my goodness, that’s me. When I would get home, I would sit down and start crying, all the emotion that I had buried all day, all the questions I had rushing in. How could you go from asking me to promise I would never leave you to leaving me in a matter of days? Why were you so unwilling to try and work it out? How did we go from planning a life together to nothing in a blink of an eye? What’s wrong with me, other couples have problems greater than ours were, yet they find a way to work it out, but you just walked away from me. Why?
BUT ALL THAT WAS THEN; THIS IS NOW
I traveled the long road of despair, depression, self-doubts, and bitterness, and with the help of family, friends, and co-workers, I reemerged the person I was before you but somehow better. The journey was difficult, oh was it difficult, but it was worth it. I realized that sometimes you must look despair squarely in the eye so that you can find yourself. Now I understand the truth, and that is, while you made me happy, you were not the key to my happiness. While I was looking for love, I realized that it was always all around me, from my family, friends, and co-workers but most importantly, within myself. Gone was my fear of falling in love again because I may get hurt, and in its place was the resolve to find the person with intellect, beauty, and the heart to love me as much as I love her. The woman to grow old with.
Today I no longer wonder what’s wrong with me but understand that many relationships come to an end, not because of one person but because both parties have outgrown it, even if one person doesn’t realize it at the time. When it ends, I’ll take each relationship as a lesson and embrace the imprint it leaves on me because it is a part of me. I will take the good in each and cherish it and the bad in each and discard it. Not so easy to do, trust me, I know, but with the help of family, friends, and co-workers, I have found the strength to do it.