My story started off like a majority of running stories.
Girl falls in love with boy. Boy breaks her heart. Girl is left to pick up the pieces. Boy is never to be heard from again.
The fact that this is a common reality for a lot of women runners says something. There is something about a broken heart that drives you to do desperate things. Things you would never think of doing. Like jumping out of a plane. Traveling the world for the sake of finding yourself. Learning to cook. Moving to a new city where you know no one. Figuring out how to figuratively and literally place one foot in front of the other and move your life forward.
But what do we do when the past catches up to us? How do we handle when the wounds we thought were healed are ripped open again, leaving us with a sting of pain similar to what originally happened.
I am branded by what happened to me. Some days I feel that people can read what happened to me on my forehead. “Ghosted at wedding, never to hear from him again” is what it reads. “Broken hearted but trying to heal”. Looks of sorrow and pity, people taking refuge on you and reminding you at all times to take care of yourself and to allow time for what happened to heal. But I thought I had healed. Why is this something that keeps coming back to haunt me?
A year ago I wrote a piece titled “To the one who broke me”. A thank you letter to the man who decided that I was not worth his time anymore and ghosted me on New Year’s Eve at my friend’s wedding. I publically made it known that I cared so much about one person who didn’t entirely feel the same, to the point where he cut off all contact from me for over two years. But in those two plus years, so much happened in my life.
I found who I was. The person God was calling me to be. I learned some of life’s hardest lessons, like patience, healing, self-discovery, and how to forgive. Or, at least, I thought I had learned how to forgive.
When I took a risk recently, all in the pursuit of being fearless and believing that I am worthy of giving and receiving love, all I could think of was- would this person do exactly like the one before did? Would he leave me here waiting for hours, only to never hear from him again? That is a scary thought to think as you are driving to meet someone and share your heart. This is a moment where my past came back to haunt me. Where all I could think about was how one person tainted my entire view of relationships.
You see, in December, I finally got an answer from the man who ghosted me. Almost three years to the day, after a few messages to not much of an answer, I finally got a response. And in no way was it what I was expecting. It was a shift of blame, a best of luck in what you pursue, a door shut in my face for what I hoped would be the final closure I needed to truly end this chapter in my life. I thought I had forgiven him, moved on in a way that seemed best. But, it turned out that all I had done was shifted this chapter to the back of my mind, hoping to never revisit it again.
And that is the funny thing about life. It has a way of bringing you back to the things that you never wanted to revisit. Reminding you that with time, patience, healing, and wise counsel, you will forgive and move on from what took place, no matter how earth shattering it might have been. I can’t sit here and tell you I know what the other side of this looks like. I am still sitting among the pieces, trying to figure out what true forgiveness looks like, how to move on when I know I will not see him again, and how to remind myself that not all men are the same.
I can tell you, that when I showed up to that coffee shop a few weeks ago, I was reminded that good men do exist in our world. That people do hold up their ends of commitments and show up. And even though things did not go as I would have hoped, they went in a direction that is helping me learn to heal. In so many ways. And if any encouragement can come through this, it is: People will continue to surprise you, your heart will remind you what healing it needs, and eventually you will establish a new view of what was once broken.
I am far from being done with this chapter. This seeking of forgiveness, of remaining thankful for what has taken place in my life regardless of how challenging it has been. For now, I will continue to seek God’s favor, to welcome people into my mess without fear, and learn how to let true, complete healing take place in my heart. Only time will tell where this adventure is leading. And I, for sure, am not ready to give up yet.