I love you, sweetly…

I’ve struggled with relationships all of my life. To be more specific, I’ve struggled with making good “man” choices. Somewhere along the path of my life, I developed low self-esteem. There is no blaringly identifiable circumstance or set of circumstances that come to mind that helped to grow and nurture this low self-esteem. It just was. Now in my forties, I sometimes have to make a conscious effort not to fall back into old behaviors. I am not the person I was and I cling to the fact that I am stronger today.

There were years when I felt not good enough, so I tried to conform to in order to make the relationship work. There were years when I felt as if no one would love me for me, so I settled for less because my thought patterns directed me to believe that less was better than being alone. What a secret dungeon of a life.  Sadly enough, I am not alone in my past experiences. There are women reading these very words who may feel the same way or who can relate with me.

In my never-ending search for my forever friend, I have come across a select few relationships that settled well with my heart. These men were, and I’m guessing still are, amazing. They loved me just for me. I didn’t have to change myself, prove myself, or even love them back equally. There was no measuring of love – love just was. Each of these men had a profound healing effect on me. And, eventually, each of these men grew apart from me.

The break ups were difficult. I cried hot tears. I grieved sometimes for months on end. I moved on. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had the greatest love and respect for each man. Staying in the relationship would have caused more damage than good. You can’t force someone to walk your path. The deepest and truest kind of love lets go.

Recently, I found myself in a place of letting go. Again, I felt as if I was watching myself through the window. “I love you, sweetly,” I said. “I admire and respect you so much that I could not possibly ask you to stay in this relationship. We are clearly headed in different directions.” My words seemed not enough and too much. My words felt inadequate as he gracefully let go of my hand.

I am once again learning how to live without my best friend. Crying hot tears and grieving for just a little while. Ironically, I am peacefully reminded amidst my swirling emotions of another who felt the same way about me. We were in love long ago. We spent days and nights together. We laughed, we talked, and we lived secret adventures together. One day, I walked away. And he loved me so much that he let me go. I have been reflecting on how he must have felt when I left. How his heart ached for me. How he longed to talk to me every single day. How every ounce of his being wanted to hear my voice say his name just one more time.

“I love you, sweetly,” he whispered into the wind.

… and Jesus always will.