I wish I could say I was smart enough to just give it up completely immediately at that point.
But what I went through from there was basically a process of forgiving god.
Which I know is all sorts of wrong… forgiving implies he did something wrong… etc etc etc.
But, forgiveness is pretty much exactly the process I went through… an admitting that I felt hurt by actions, but followed by a decision to essentially call a truce on the (one-sided) battle… and to deliberately choose to release any rights to nurse resentfulness over the matter.
I know, given that I’d already figured out that I’d circled around to agreeing it probably shouldn’t have been needed… but, for whatever reason, emotionally I needed to work through it a bit to get there.
But the first big test came just about a month later, just after valentines day… when the boyfriend ended the relationship, as he’d found someone that he was in love with. (3 weeks later they were engaged, 3 months later they were married… and the last time I’d thought to check up on him on facebook, they were still married and her older daughter had adopted his last name.)
In spite of not being all that in love with him, it still dealt a bit of a rejection blow for a bit… and meant having to attempt to explain his absence to my then 4 year old who’d had him around as long as she could remember.
But more than that, it meant that it was decision time. Relationships had been the big thing that I’d chased after leaving…. but what was I going to do now? Was I going to dive back into it?
It was tempting, especially knowing how much different and how much more fulfilling it had been dating without claiming christianity.
And I’m not going to say it didn’t get seriously debated.
But in the end, I had to admit that the fulfillment was always fleeting. Each new relationship only helped temporarily. And looking back over them, at the good and the bad… there were none that I could honestly say that the good in the beginning had been completely worth the expense of the effort it took.
I also realized…. that I’d been given exactly what I’d asked for… and never been happy with it.
After D, I remember thinking that I wanted to be with someone who was thrilled to be with me, and was interested in me and my life. I got the first part with a really short relationship with a guy that was so much older that he had a daughter a year older than me…. and who was amazed I would even give him the time of day… which got old fast and ended in just a couple of weeks. The second pretty much got hit head on with my kiddo’s dad, whose interest in my life went quickly into desire for controlling it and then sharply into abusing that control.
After the jerk, I remember wanting to fall in love again… to have the emotional aspect like there had been over D… and that resulted in a three month relationship in which I got my heart seriously shattered after trusting it to someone that I should have known better.
After that, I went into a direction looking for deeper emotional connection from the other person… and got it, only to discover that not only did it not help, they expected much more from me than I was able to really give at the time.
After that, I’d wanted a relationship that was just for the fun of dating without the seriousness…. and got many short and non-serious dating-for-recreation flings… only to discover that after a while, it got pretty dull, and I wanted more than that.
I found myself wanting a safe, stable, non-rollercoaster, low cost relationship. I got my engineer. No risk, but not much in the way of emotions either.
After things with him went back to being non-exclusive, I basically wanted the opposite… no strings attached, no pretense of relationship, no faking that we were looking for a relationship… and I found that like the recreation dating, it got old very fast.
This had all been during a non-praying spell. I hadn’t been praying for them… just reflecting on what I wanted and didn’t want…
But just like the list, I’d gotten what I’d asked for, over and over again, and figured out that it wasn’t really what I’d wanted.
And so, where I’d once made the decision to walk away…. this time, I made the decision that I really was serious.
The return was official.