Keeping for Myself…

Relationships.

They are difficult… especially relationships that are meant to be long-term.

My latest entry was about a break-up with Mr. Hottie pants… it’s been several months and my life has significantly changed. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and when I look back on my past experiences, I feel as if I’m looking through someone else’s eyes.

Although I wish all things in life were easy and my way… I’m realizing that they are not. My current boyfriend, My Cowboy, is my best friend. We laugh together – full belly laughs with tears in our eyes, we cry together, we learn together, we create together… it seems as if we were made for one another. He completes me and he says that I complete him.

My Cowboy stretches me. He helped me make it through my final classes of my Master’s Degree. He encourages me to apply for jobs that he is confident that I can handle and calms the anxiety and doubts that I have about myself. He challenges thoughts and ideas that are engrained so deeply within me… showing me alternate possibilities.  Most of all, he loves me for me. He embraces my dreams, my creativity, my quirkiness and tells me that “You are not too much to handle.”  I truly can’t imagine living my life without him. He says he feels the same way about me.

It’s been four and a half months, and he’s finally fallen off the tall beautiful pedestal upon which he was place by yours truly. It was a painful day… and I still love him more – everyday. I’ve realized that the only reason he fell off that pedestal was because I created it out of my expectations and beliefs. How I was able to lift him up there is beyond me. He tried to climb down… but I held him captive in my mind.

Back to stretching… I realize that stretching is good- wonderful, in fact. Stretching causes me to consider others beliefs and to view their actions as valid. Stretching causes me to look beyond my eyelashes to see and accept others just as they are, where they are, and how they are. Stretching challenges what I know to be reality and to accept others’ view of reality as theirs. Yes – he stretches me daily. It’s painful… but I endure because I know he has my best interests at heart. (… and how could I not mention that I’m almost sure that I challenge his thoughts and beliefs as well?)

Figuring out how much to give and take is painful in long-term relationships. He likes hot peppers with every meal and I am the original Cookie Monster. He loves to plan and be prepared while my free spirit dances in the breeze. He loves to cook and create in the kitchen and I am content with washing the dishes. He hangs on to aspects of singleness while I’m ready to jump into marriage. He has friends – I have acquaintances. I love our differences… and I struggle intensely with our differences.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, Mere Christianity, “The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.” I have been so focused on our differences and how painful and threatening some of them feel… that I fear that continuance in my behavior will cause the loss of the one whom I love the most on this earth (children and family excluded, of course!). What was I focused on? Keeping him captive with ropes made of my beliefs. According to C.S. Lewis – I’m on the fast track to loss. What’s a better focus? Growing the relationship. This theory sounds simple so why do I struggle so much? I have always been the one on the outside- the fighter and the loner. Acceptance for me is not easy and is usually preceded by a phenomenal struggle. I will fight until my last breath before I will give up.

My aunt once cautioned me to choose my battles wisely. This is it. I’m choosing… I’m not really letting go… I’m giving my best gift ever back to God. I think He has a little more polishing to do… on the both of us.

Maybe all of these thoughts didn’t make sense to you… and I’m okay with it. Sometimes, we just need to let it all out.

The next entry will be about crochet…. I’m sure of it. ;-)

Love always, Rachel

 

PS. My Cowboy has Mr. Hottie Pants beat – hands down. I’m super thankful for enduring the pain of loss. My Cowboy was worth every tear.