This is one of those posts that’s for me, not you. If you don’t want to read about my love life or God, come back another day.
I fell for someone last fall when I was trying to focus on other things. He came into my life and complemented it. He’s a family man, and he provided a lot of stability in my life…until he didn’t anymore.
If you asked him, he would tell you that I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was amazing in my not-quite-relationship with him. His kids adore me. They started blooming when I came into their lives. Their grades went up, they started getting closer to God, and they all had someone with whom they could trust to share their feelings.
Life was good for all of us. He was happier at the mention of my name than his family had ever seen him. Even his ex-wife was happy for him, and that was an odd, yet lovely feeling.
At one point several weeks ago (immediately following one of the happiest evenings I’ve ever had with him) he said, “Kenlie, when are we going to stop pretending that we’re not a couple?”
I giggled and said, “when you stop pretending. That’s your issue, not mine.”
He didn’t laugh though. Instead I spent the evening talking with him on his sofa. We held hands, giggled, flirted and talked for hours about his “need for clarity.” He has issues/fears about getting remarried, and I reminded him that I was in no rush for that. I explained that I would need time to develop an exclusive relationship with him (even though I had been un-dating him for months.)
He said that he knew me well enough to know that he wanted to marry me. He spent nearly everyday with me for months. He knows my family and friends (many of whom are mutual.) He knows every lie I’ve ever told (the little ones and big ones.) He knows all of the mistakes that I’ve made and my imperfections, and still, he said that he knew enough to want to marry me. Sadly, he said that he believed that God wouldn’t like it.
He’s a black and white kind of guy, and while that can be great at times, it can also screw things up when he becomes closed-minded. He believes certain things that I won’t share in detail here, except to say that those beliefs are based on pride, fear of moving on and religion. And that’s a deadly combination.
Religion is the arch enemy of Jesus. The rules that religion have dictated on this man’s life leave me oscillating between anger and uncertainty. If Jesus walked into the fundamentalist church that this man left, He wouldn’t be welcome, yet those rules (which are based on ungodly, self-righteous, religious garbage) have given him reason to hang on to the past and to walk away from a woman who makes him happier and more balanced than he’s been in a long time, maybe ever.
There are few things that I hate in the world, but religion is one of them. I love God, and I’m so thankful for the aggressive grace that Jesus pours out on me. I just wish that this man could truly experience and understand that grace too.
He knows and loves God, but he is so wrapped up in religion that I don’t know what to think. Did he lie to me about his feelings? Was he just humoring me because he didn’t want to hurt me?
It has been weeks since he ended our quasi-relationship. He still calls, and I still see him at my church (a place that I hope he continues to go so that he can truly collide with the love of Jesus someday.)
His kids miss me like crazy, but not as much as I miss them. He seems to be fine without me though – just not as happy or at ease or loving. It makes me wonder if he ever had feelings for me.
I’ve asked a few times since that night if I’m crazy…if I misread his feelings, and he says that I absolutely did not misunderstand. He says he felt everything that I felt and that he can’t be with me for the ridiculous, religious reasons that I can’t mention here.
I know him, and I believe that he’s clinging to religion instead of God because it’s easier than taking responsibility. It’s also possible that he just doesn’t understand the difference. I do believe that he’s a good man though…who’s just dealing with unresolved issues.
He called me last night, and the things that he said (though not directed at me in any way) made me wonder what happened to the man I met and fell for. He’s different without me. I ask myself when he reverted back to being religious and judgmental and self-righteous, but the truth is, I know exactly when that happened.
I’m pretty positive that I did not misunderstand his feelings. The man I met was humble, and I believed that he valued me. Now I’m not so sure.
Maybe talking to me was better than talking to than no one. Maybe we spent evening after evening together because he had nothing else to do. Maybe the hours we spent on the phone talking about everything from religion to politics to his work environment was more fun for him than sleeping. Maybe he never cared about me at all.
I don’t exactly believe the last part, but it certainly was easy for him to turn off his feelings. It seems that it was easy for him to forget the peaceful, quiet moments that were captured on his daughter’s camera phone when we weren’t paying attention to anything or anyone except each other. It has also been easy for him to forget how we laughed so hard that our faces hurt just because we were using chopsticks together or discussing the Council on Foreign Relations.
It has been easy for him to pretend that none of it ever happened, but it’s been impossible for me. I spent the first few weeks drowning in misery, sobbing everyday and hoping that he would get back to normal. After that, I started ignoring his calls. When he asked why, I explained that while I loved it when he called me, I was better off when he didn’t.
I told him that he either needed to stop calling, or we needed to talk with my (our) pastor because I needed to heal. He reluctantly agreed, and when I asked him why, he said that was he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me if that’s what I needed to know that he cared.
We haven’t had the opportunity to chat with my pastor yet because of our schedules, but it meant a lot to me that he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me. Talking to your pastor is a big deal when you’re hyper-religious. Thankfully, my pastor is a cool dude who wears jeans when he preaches and loves all of the people that more traditional churches reject. Jesus would be welcome at my church if he showed up in old clothes and worn out sandals.
I’ve been much happier over the last few weeks, realizing that my life would change a lot if he and I were together. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want to change it for someone who wouldn’t be willing to do the same for me.
As I go to sleep and as I wake up, I ask God to eliminate the feelings that I have for this man if I can’t be with him. It’s the only thing I know to do, and I’m counting on Him to fulfill me because He’s God. I’m also counting on Him to heal the man who broke my heart someday regardless of whether I’m around to see it or not.