You will not know when you have given yourself to somebody else.
You will not know until four months after the last time you saw him when you walk into a public place. You keep your head down so you cannot know that other eyes look at you. You pinch at the insides of your arms and feel prickles over your body. You are overcome by guilt though you have done nothing wrong.
You will not know until all the lines have been crossed, and you still smile at him when he stands before you. He wishes you dead and you want nothing more than to let him live. He curses your skin with his fingertips and you feel the touch of a saint. He demands that you stay away, and you run to him.
You will not know until you wake up yet another morning in a row stretching your leg over to meet his, discovering that it is not there. The river flows over your cheeks again and it is not something you can get used to. Rain pours outside on cue. You cannot stomach the places he has been.
You will not know that you cannot give yourself to somebody else.
You will not know until you let out your final wail for the day and feel your own hand grazing your cheeks. You look in the mirror and recognize that every physical aspect of your body matches up with how you feel, and nobody else can transform this. You close your eyes for several moments and you are completely there, in one piece.
You will not know until you surrender, and try to be okay with your brokenness. You never fully allow yourself to do this. You become passionate about the things that you were before you ‘gave yourself away’. You find that your roots run to depths that cannot be dug up.
You will not know until you wake up before the alarm clock goes off with a will to live. You give of yourself in every way that you can to everybody around you, but never lose who you are. You accept that you deserve to be valued and appreciated. You give of this to yourself, and you have never been more whole.
You will lose the same person nine hundred ways before you accept that they are gone. They will break through your closed door hundreds of times before you stop standing on the other side of it listening for them. You will say goodbye in a hundred tones and not once know how to pronounce it.
The obstacles we are faced with are no coincidental surprise. I asked for grace, so I am given everything that is hard to be graceful through. I chose to be an example of forgiveness, so I am given all that is hard to forgive. This is simply the way it is. I know I’ve talked about it several times, but I will never forget that church service I went to where he was talking about our holy aches and divine purpose:
We are called to love massively in all sorts of big and beautiful ways. You know… I want to heal people, save lives, feed hungry mouths, help people to help themselves.. And so we have to take that step to say, “Okay- I’m open. Give it to me. I’m ready to serve and be all that I can.” And then what happens? What happens is that obstacles come. We curl up and give in at the first test of our strength, like locking the keys in the car. Somebody shows us hatred and we give in to it. We ask, “Why me? Why is this happening? All I asked was to be good and do these grand things for the world and….” Well, hello… You want to help people? You want to be a healer or establish rights or love a sinner? But you can’t handle locking the keys in your car? Or somebody misunderstanding you?
This is just the little stuff. This is the conditioning, just like exercise. You’re not going to get handed that big task that you want if you can’t take the little ones with grace. So you can handle it. Of course you can handle this because you asked for it; you knew you were ready for it, and it is just the test and the lesson that comes before the big deal. You came here with a powerful, determined and exceptionally passionate heart. You are going to have an exceptional amount of obstacles and feel an exceptional array of emotions at an exceptional intensity. It is your very right to embrace all of this and press on.