The 28th

I never thought my 28th year would start quite like this. I wanted happiness, purpose, love, companionship, pretty much all the stuff that everyone else wants. This week has been one of the hardest for me; I’ve been attempting to traverse through heartbreak and lets just say it’s been difficult. There has been a lot of change and transition lately and I’ve hated it, quaked in its reality, and struggled with the “newness” I’ve experienced. This time has brought on a lot of contemplation; a lot of moments of assessing where I am and where I had hoped I’d be.

I have to say I didn’t expect to be here. To be in the midst of heartbreak, on the edge of breaking, feeling a million miles from home. This morning when I woke up my first thought was “ugh, this cold. I still can’t breathe.” Then I let my mind drift and realized that all those things I wanted to have in life, I do. Maybe not exactly how I envisioned to have them but I do still have them.

Companionship: I’m very discerning and picky when it comes to the people I surround myself with in life. The ones I have right now are of the highest quality and caliber which I need profoundly. I long for companionship because I don’t want to be alone, and I am finally coming to see that I’m not alone.
Love: I have always longed for this substance in my life, constantly seeking and pursuing it. I think the problem has been that I’ve always wanted to see it in big gestures and monumental experiences; however, love comes in a million tiny little ways. It is in hello’s paired with genuine smiles, small gentle touches, encouraging words, birthday breakfasts, cards, homemade gifts, and simple statements of love. I am surrounded by love, daily imbued by it, and gently reminded of its presence.
Purpose: This is the one that gets sketchy. It is hard to know your purpose in the midst of the mundane. It is hard not to get discouraged and feel slightly pointless. Even though I don’t see my purpose everyday, or all the time, I do know that I am working toward part of my created purpose as best I know how… and right now that is enough. I love people as best I know how, I love God with all that I have, and everyday I try to make a difference even if it is just for one soul.
Happiness: Is a dependent emotion, it is greatly influenced by both circumstance and happenstance. I feel that greatly in life, I’m not always happy because life gets hard and difficult and I just don’t “feel” happy. I have learned that there is more to life than happiness. Sometimes you won’t feel happy, but life isn’t about that… it’s about hope, love, joy. It’s about the things that are sustaining that have the potential to endure all things. So happiness, I have it occasionally but I know the source of the greater sustaining elements. There is more to life than happiness and I am so thankful for that.

So this birthday isn’t what I thought it would be but even in the change, in the bittersweet, in the little heartbreaks, happy blips, and sweet moments there is love, and in the end that’s all I want every birthday, every year, every day… to be loved. This day, this new beginning of 28 I know that I am exactly that loved by a multitude far greater than I realize.

The Cracking of a Heart

I met my best friend in college and for the past 10 years we have been roommates, spending 3 summers and holidays apart. We work well together, we’ve learned each others nuances, strengths, weaknesses, darkest secrets, and deepest pains. We have both been the strong shoulder and the one who needed to cry on it. Through everything we have encouraged the other to be the best woman she could be. We have watched each other grow and mature and have been completely astounded by who the other has become. Today everything changed…

Eight months or so ago, my best friend told me she wanted to go on a mission one that lasted for a year (at least). I’ve never felt my heart sink so quickly as I did in that moment. I did what any best friend would do, I told her to look into it if it was something she really wanted to do. To my selfish hearts dismay she did. She found one, was excited about it, applied to it, asked me to fill out a reference form, that was the first time my heart cracked, and in the midst of that form I started to wrestle with my selfishness. I didn’t want her to go, to leave, to be who knows how far away for a year. I didn’t want that but I filled out the form and let the truth of her radiate from those words on that page. It took a while but she finally got the letter that would tell her future. I watched as she opened it and my heart broke as I recognized the look of disappointment appear on her face. “I didn’t get in,” she said completely crushed. I let her shed her disappointment on my shoulder and told her “Just because this one said no doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the dream. If this is really what you want then try again.” So she did.

I remember the day I heard her phone interview with the second mission corps. I was in my room, sick with some stomach bug, wrapped up in a blanket hating life and I heard her on the phone. As I listened and heard her responses I began to cry because I knew that there was no way they were going to say no to her. After the call ended she came into my room elated and that was the second time my heart cracked. She took care of me that night, making sure I was okay, watching a movie with me, and kept me from sinking into despair. It wasn’t very long after that, maybe a week or two, when she found out they accepted her into their program. When she told me, I’m pretty sure I said congratulations in my best happy impression as I hugged her and that was the third time my heart cracked.

For a long time I was both angry and hurt. How could she do this to me? To our friendship? How could she abandon me? Why wasn’t I good enough? Within all these questions I realized that I could never be “enough” her dreams far surpassed what our friendship could be nor offer. I knew that, I always had, I just didn’t expect to have to face it quite that soon. So I let those questions go, tried to move on, and be a supportive encourager. For months the hurt and ache that accompanied the dawning revelation of how this change would look in my daily life tore me apart. Every new aspect of change I realized, my heart cracked a little more. In the midst of everything I still struggled on trying to be as brave and encouraging as I knew how.

A month ago the sadness was the deepest it had been regarding the “transition” as I had come to label it. I went to work knowing it was going to be one of the hardest days I had experienced there. I have never felt so emotionally raw, out of control, on the fringe of losing it completely. Then it happened someone gave me permission to not be okay and as I rushed out of work to my car I knew that this was the beginning of a pain I had not yet known. That was the moment I broke. My body wracked with sobs for 20 minutes as I sat in the parking lot within my car. I drove home in that state, I’m not quite sure how I made it because I don’t remember any of that drive just the seemingly unending fountain of pain mixed with tears overflowing from me. Once home I curled up in bed, in the tightest ball my 5’10” frame could condense into and cried for hours. I woke up wishing the depth of despair I was in would have swallowed me like the black hole it felt composed of. Life went on and I composed myself yet again, to go head first into the busyness of moving.

This weekend we finally moved. The last night in the house together was hard but I kept it at arms length. The moving day was hard and sad but I had tons to do. The day we cleaned the house was crazy and noxious with fumes but I wasn’t prepared for the wave of sadness that hit when driving away from my home for the past 3 1/2 years. I wasn’t prepared for the hole that leaving created.

Sunday nights have always been the nights the two of us hung out consistently. Today when I dropped her off at her parents (which she is staying at until she leaves in 3 weeks) my heart broke again. I hate having to let go. I hate having to say a million little goodbyes. I hate this so much. I’ve lost what I’ve known to be my heart, I’ve lost what I’ve known to be my home, and I feel like I’ve lost my person. How do you exist in the midst of heartbreak?