I'm Just Saying

One True Sentence

Hemingway once said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

As I no doubt have told you before, I’m not actually a Hemingway fan. But that’s a conversation for another time. I’m bringing this quote up because I think it’s completely beautiful. And because I’ve been doing a lot of that lately in my writing. So, just in case you’re reading this, I’ve got a few true sentences for you.

First of all, I’m just going to throw an apology out there. As much as it feels like I’ve been thrown in front of a train with no warning for no reason, I’m sure there are things I’ve done that have hurt you. And I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

There are a lot of people who are really, really angry with you. And they’re telling me all kinds of things. But I just want you to know that I’m not one of them. I was for a while. I was really, really angry. I want to address some of those things that made me angry.

I was angry because this entire situation has consisted of what you wanted, and your timing. It never seemed to matter how I felt, what I wanted, or the answers that I had received. When it came down to it, it seemed like I didn’t really matter at all. It seemed like you were being incredibly selfish. That’s been hard to deal with. I think you need to know that, just in case you’re reading this.

I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Nobody does. When you’re as close as we were, and planning the things we were planning, you don’t act that way. You don’t walk away with no explanation and no warning. You don’t cut ties that fast. You don’t shut down, slam the door, and make a decision that drastically changes both of your lives because of some vague thing. What you do is communicate and try and work through it. You trust the other person and their feelings and thoughts. And if, after some time of working together and trusting God, things still aren’t working, then you make decisions. Together.

Love is messy, okay? Life is messy. Dumb things happen and people make mistakes. But it’s worth it. It is all worth it.

I’m not angry now, though. I guess that’s just a blessing. I was praying one night, and got told pretty forcefully that it was time to forgive you. That both of us needed that. So I hope that when I was finally able to forgive you that you felt it.

You called the other day. The only reason I didn’t answer is because I was in line at the grocery store. I saw your name on the screen of my phone and nearly had a heart attack. It was something I never thought I’d see again. I was hoping you’d call back, but you didn’t. You just sent me a text. I tried to be really honest when I responded, but as gentle as I could.

But the truth is that God has been telling me a lot of things in the last few weeks. One of the impressions I’ve been getting is that you’re really going through a lot. Like a lot. You’re really struggling, I think. You feel lost. You’re trying to figure out a lot of things, and you don’t know how. Now, I could be completely and totally wrong. Maybe I am. But I don’t think I am.

And if I’m not wrong, then that brings me to why I said what I said in the texts. If you really are struggling, I’m sorry. I wish you didn’t have to. If you really are trying to figure things out, I hope it happens for you soon. I wish you’d have let me be there for you, but you didn’t. This was your choice, not mine.

None of this is what I wanted. None of this is what I think was or is right. But because this is what is happening and what has happened, and because of the choices you’ve made, I can’t be there for you. Heavenly Father has told me that this is something you’ve got to do by yourself.

The thing that is the most frustrating is that I’m still in love with you. I don’t know why. There have been a million moments when I wished that wasn’t the case, but it is. I guess I just can’t help it. I’ve been in love with you for too long. I know you too well. You’re too much a part of me. I see you everywhere. The loss of you is something that I carry around with me everywhere, all the time, even in the moments when I finally feel happy again. Even in the moments when I can laugh again.

No matter what happens, you’re going to need a new copy of Les Mis. I threw it away. In the dumpster. Along with a host of other things. My day planner that had all sorts of things in it about you. The playbill from our first date. Your cup. And your wedding present. Yeah, I was already working on it. It was going to be really great. I gathered them all up and threw them into the dumpster as hard as I could.

You called the other day because you miss me. Because despite everything, for a moment you were right where I am, feeling what I’m feeling. And you wish it didn’t have to be this way. You read my poem. As far as poems go, it’s a masterpiece. If I do say so myself, it’s a really, really great poem. It just flowed out of me like a waterfall, honestly. I didn’t even really have to think about it, all of the words were just there. And I meant every single one of them.

I’m still here. Kind of in a state of limbo, to be honest. Heavenly Father keeps telling me things like “be patient” and “I’ve got a plan”. Which could literally mean anything, honestly, but right now I’m just supposed to take life one day at a time and enjoy every moment. I’m working really hard to do those things.

I’m still here. Praying for you. Hoping that you’re okay. Sometimes wishing I could smack you upside the head and shake you into realizing what is so completely obvious, but mostly just going day to day and listening to a lot of music. And writing a lot.

So, there are my true sentences. My really, really true sentences. Whatever you’re thinking or feeling or going through, I hope that you get it all figured out. I pray that I’ll hear from you again. I’ll answer the phone.

In the meantime I’ve got a novel to write. I’ve been working on it a lot, actually. It’s going well. And just so you know, I haven’t changed anything. It’s going to end the way it was always going to end.

Just Writing

New Frontier

New Frontier

all of the memories keep rushing by
like the movies we watched on Tuesday nights
this is a new frontier
there are no maps for way out here

there are empty shelves and a broken path
your favorite book inside of the trash
welcome to the new frontier
I can’t see you from way down here

you always told me that you wouldn’t leave
and I believed you but we did not see
the army
descending

please tell me you miss me, I see it all
the life we planned before we lost it all
the army
descending

we weren’t prepared to have to fight it off
and that is just exactly why we lost
this is a new frontier
you’re not here to dry my tears

something happens when you’re blazing trails
it’s harder than you think and then it fails
that is just the new frontier
I wish you were still right here

I wish it didn’t have to be this way
whatever happened we couldn’t explain
the army
attacking

I’m not blaming you for things that came
I only wish we’d tried to ride the wave
of the army
attacking

something whispers that you’ve been spending time
all shut away, did you finally cry?
that would be a new frontier
I can’t imagine you in tears

did you put up walls to everyone else?
is it only me who’s been through hell?
this is a new frontier
so this is how that feels

remember moments when I heard your heart
pounding so fast, we couldn’t bear to part
the army
surrounding

maybe if I write it all out in lines
my heart won’t burst each time you cross my mind
the army
is surrounding

I get the feeling that you’re feeling lost
and drowning guilty from the times we talked
welcome to the new frontier
you can’t see me or even hear

but maybe you’re fine and your heart’s all healed
and you’ve forgotten what we both could feel
this is the new frontier
where do we go to from here?

there was a moment when I saw your eyes
couldn’t believe you really were all mine
the army
defeating

do you remember how the pieces fell?
I can’t believe we had to say farewell
the army
defeating

I’m learning new things and taking some steps
but I can’t believe the words that you said
welcome to the new frontier
there are no maps for way out here

remember the night you were scared and called
I told you to walk away from the wall
that was a new frontier
you trusted me, I was in tears

was it that wall that suddenly went up?
so many questions but the answers none
the army
is winning

it seemed to me you were being a shield
for things you felt you had to keep concealed
the army
just winning

whatever it is that you’re feeling now
please know that I am on your side somehow
this is just a new frontier
day by day it gets more clear

I know you better that most people do
hard, believing it could really be true
welcome to the new frontier
learn how to be alone, my dear

I think I’m done with counting syllables
It’s time to make it understandable
the army
retreating

I’ll keep on walking for another day
and keep on wishing when I do not pray
the army
retreating

welcome to the new frontier

Just Writing

9 Wishes

9 Wishes

I wish this wasn’t a chance that I missed
I wish that life wasn’t full of learning
I wish there was a way to tell you this
I’m sure the words I sent left you burning

I wish I had not used my words to bruise
And that my healing was going faster
That I’d remembered all I know of you
Before I turned myself to attacker

I wish you knew that you are forgiven
I know you never wanted to hurt me
I wish you’d read these new words I’ve written
I wish you would remember the good things

Here I am, writing sonnets of wishing
Wishing wishes, ever slowly healing

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 4

My broken heart has been a funny thing.

Actually, in case you didn’t get this, it hasn’t been funny at all. Like…at all. After one month, I expected to be better. I expected it to not hurt any more. I thought that by now I’d have moved on. I’d have forgotten. I’d be okay.

Well, that isn’t really the case. It still hurts so badly sometimes that I have to wonder how I made it this far. I still feel so confused about so many things. I’d still give anything to have it be different.

But God is teaching me things.

I’ve always been the type of person who could look ahead and see myself in the future. I’ve always been able to just see ahead. That hasn’t been the case for me recently. Every time I try and look ahead past the next hour, all I see is darkness. So I’ve been praying about this very sudden shift in my vision. And what do you suppose He said in response?

“Be patient.” God said. “I have a plan. I need you to trust me.” God has been pretty adamant about teaching me patience and trust in the last year and a half. Don’t even get me started. He keeps telling me things like, “I have everything under control. You work on you. Fix you. Leave the rest to me.”

You’d think that this would be easy.

Turns out it isn’t. It turns out that I like to be in control of my life a little bit more than I was aware of. So this moment in my life, when I can literally only see for one hour at a time, is really hard for me. It is really hard for me to simply let go. To trust that God has a plan, that ultimately He is in charge, and that no matter what happens in the near future it will all work out the way that it is supposed to.

I’ve realized that pretty much everything is easier said than done. This last month of my life has been so incredibly hard. There aren’t words for it, actually. I honestly wasn’t aware that a person could feel this kind of emotional pain and live through it.

But somehow my heart is still beating.

I wish I knew what the ending was. As an author, I’m pretty used to knowing the ending of things. I feel very out of my element right now. But God is teaching me things, so I have to trust Him. The truth is that I don’t know what the ending is. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after that. And right now, I know that I’m not supposed to know. I’m just supposed to have faith. Trust God.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my hopes or desires. I was praying about them earlier today, in the middle of a particularly hard moment when I couldn’t believe it still hurt that badly. God let me know very quickly that He understands exactly where I’m at, and He’s got everything under control. I get this feeling that something big is coming in my life. Something wonderful, just around the corner, and I need to be ready for it. God is just asking for a little bit of faith and trust, and something totally amazing is going to happen. I know it. I have literally no idea what this something is. But I know that it’s coming. One of my best friends in the world, Adele, said to me today, “You don’t have to know what it is. You’ve been given all the answers you need. Just move forward, hour by hour.”

She’s right. She’s pretty much always right.

Sometimes the pain is so fresh, like it just happened yesterday. And it feels like I’m drowning in it. And I can’t get to help fast enough before I absolutely lose it and cry so hard I can’t breathe. Sometimes I feel so confused and angry I could scream.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything, though. There have been a ridiculous amount of blessings in my life in the last month. I’ve repaired relationships with siblings, become closer to my friends, spent much needed time with my grandparents, gotten a stronger relationship with my dad, and have had countless moments with God. He and I have talked so much about all of this. And it has been really wonderful. God is good, everyone. He is so, so good.

I’ve realized so many things about life.

I have realized that life is scary. And love is scary. And there are a million things to be unsure about and worried over. And I’ve also realized that there will never be a moment when you feel you are 100% ready. It’s going to be terrifying. There’s going to be things you don’t know. So many of them. But you just have to do it. Just jump. That’s all life is. A lot of jumping off cliffs when you only have the tiniest seed of faith in your pocket.

I have also realized that for too much of my life, my priorities were ridiculously out of wack. There’s a really long backstory as to why that was the case, but I spent so many years being bitter and angry about the things that are the most important. I don’t feel that way anymore. Not in the slightest. Those things I was so angry about, those things I was so scared of, they are all I want now.

God is teaching me so many things.

Tonight was hard. Today was hard. I left work with a very heavy heart. The steering wheel of my car got washed with a lot of tears tonight. My very wonderful roommate got bombarded with a lot of my pain tonight.

Then she suggested we go for a drive. We ended up on top of the hill in our city. We shut the car lights off, unrolled the windows, turned on some music, and sat on the hood of the car looking up at the sky. It was absolutely stunning.

I felt truly happy for the first time since it happened.

We talked about God. About how He has a plan, and ultimately He is in charge, and sometimes we just have to have faith that everything is going to work out. Right as we were saying this, an absolutely stunning shooting star zoomed across the sky right in front of us. It had two tails. I’m taking it as a sign.

We laughed a lot, too. I can’t even remember what about. All I know is that it felt good to laugh again. God has been feeding me constant support and hope recently. He has never left my side. He’s given me numerous answers, and always sent me help in the moments that I needed it most.

I know there is hope.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. And it will probably hurt again tomorrow, because it hasn’t stopped hurting. But tonight I saw a shooting star.

And today God told me He has a plan. He asked for my patience. He asked for my faith. He told me He understood what my hopes, desires, and pain are, and He’s got it under control.

This is what He told me.

And for now that’s all I need.

Just Writing

Running Backwards

Running Backwards

you’re a person who’s running
running so fast
from the demons you left behind you
from a past you told me
a little bit about
a few of your darker truths

you live with the fear
that you’re still that person
the one from your darkest chapters
I knew differently
because I saw your soul
but you were running backwards

you run from the past
and the things that you did
but you never get past attackers
no matter where you run
or who you meet
you are still just running backwards

it’s a cycle, you see,
this thing that you do
where you love then run far away
you sabotage what’s right
and you think too much
you’re alone at the end of the day

you asked me to jump
so jump I did
I took your hand and we fell
further and faster
so in love I was dizzy
but I hit the bottom by myself

there were moments of sun
too bright to bear
when all was clear as the sky
now I can’t stop thinking
of every single kiss
no matter how hard I try

I was happy then
happier than ever
in a world of dreams come true
we danced in the light
of love and future
you told me you felt it, too

for a moment I saw
the man you could be
if you would only let it happen
but you ran far away
like you said you never would
plunging it all into blackness

there were moments when
I was very, very scared
but it was the only thing that mattered
so I had faith in us
we’d do it together
I didn’t know you were running backwards

you live with this fear
that you’re still that person
the one from your darkest chapters
and the saddest part
is that you still are
until you stop running backwards

if you ever come back
and I pray that you do,
for this they tell me I’m insane,
I wish it would be
sometime soon
before it’s much too late

it wouldn’t be easy
to fix it all
this heartbreak is oceans deep
but I truly believe
that love conquers all
these are the dreams not letting me sleep

but no matter what
and whatever does come
remember the things that matter
you were too cruel
and much too distant
I watched you running backwards

there is a man inside you
with a heart of pure gold
I love you even though I’ve tried
embrace that gold
I’m begging you to
please leave all of that behind

you asked me to jump
so jump I did
I took your hand and we fell
but you looked back
I watched you do it
and now we’re both by ourselves

you live with this fear
that you’re still that person
the one from your darkest chapters
at this point, my love,
you can only save yourself
you’ve got to stop running backwards

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 3

A broken heart is a funny thing.

It is the worst in the morning. After you’ve woken from a fitful sleep. As exhausted as you are, body and soul, you can never sleep for long. You’re plagued by dreams that wake you up and jerk you into reality. Sometimes you can go back to sleep, after you’ve taken something or said a hundred prayers or watched videos until your eyes bleed.

It is the worst in the morning. When there are no texts to wake up to. When you’re faced with the reality of another day. So you have to choose between curling up there in the pain and getting up and burying it in something else. These are your two options, and you don’t want to do either of them. Because each one hurts equally. So after a while you get up. Each step is a painful heartbeat.

Outside the sun is shining.

And in the brief moments during the day when you can immerse yourself in living, a very small part of you that is still intact surfaces. And it says a lot of things. It tries to help. It tries to encourage. It even teases you a little bit for being so completely cliche in your heartbreak. Look at you, being just like everybody else. Karma hasn’t been very kind recently.

You’re going through phases. It is strange what grief does to a person. And how we all grieve differently. You were never going to be like this, you told yourself. You were never going to let somebody in this far so that they’d have this much power to destroy you. But you grew up, and you learned things. And your heart changed. And you did let them in, and you fell head over heels in love. Madly and unabashedly in love. And you told them everything, all the little secret parts and pieces you’d kept hidden so deeply. Most importantly, you trusted them. They felt more like home than any house ever had. No matter what, with them you were always, always safe.

That’s why it hurts so badly now. And why none of it makes any sense.

It made so much sense, even to you. Your brain doesn’t really work in parts and pieces that fit together neatly. It works with grand ideas that move about existentially. But even to you, it fit together. Even to you, it made more sense than anything in the world. That’s why it hurts so badly now. That’s why the confusion is the worst part. Or maybe it isn’t the confusion, but the hope. Because you’re ridiculous, even to yourself. Because you keep hoping, and you keep praying. And you move from one moment to the next, held together in a patchwork of pain and hope.

Because with them it was different. You both said so. There had been others, in times past. Others that made your heart flutter, who knew how to make you laugh. Others you could’ve seen yourself with. And when they didn’t work out you had your periods of sadness. But it was never like this. Nothing was ever like this. This one was different.

These are the things you remember in the morning.

And somehow your heart keeps beating.

 

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 2

A broken heart is a funny thing.

The one thing you are unprepared to deal with is the anger. It is an emotion that surfaces every now and again, when the grief is spent. It is an emotion that surfaces every now and again, when the emptiness feels numb. It is an emotion that surfaces every now and again, when the fire burns too hot.

And you try and remind yourself that it isn’t good to be angry. You try and remind yourself that it isn’t very Christlike. But still you feel the anger. Because it is part of it. And there are too many unanswered questions. Too many unsolved mysteries. Too much that doesn’t make sense.

For a moment the anger makes your heart beat.

And you wish they didn’t have this kind of power over you. You wish you could push it away the way you think they are. You wish it didn’t hurt so much that you think you’ll fall apart any second. You wish all sorts of things you’ll have to repent for later.

You say all sorts of things to the people who have held your hand since it happened. And rather than cry in the grief, you cry in the anger. You clench your fists as the tears pour down your face. Your entire body is rigid in anger. And you ask all sorts of questions. And you add endless amounts of people to the line of those who are more angry than you.

The anger makes your heart beat.

You wonder how they could be so selfish. Why your own thoughts, feelings, or the answers you’d gotten didn’t matter when it came right down to it. Why it wasn’t a mutual decision at all, like big ones are supposed to be. Why it was only ever about what you wanted when they finally felt like agreeing. Why nothing you said mattered at all. And if it did matter, then there aren’t enough explanations.

You wonder why they told you that none of it had been a lie when they first called. But something was. Either you know them as well as you do, or you never knew them. Either it was all a lie, or there is more than what they’re telling you. And if so, the selfishness continues. The cowardice. Run away instead of talking it out. Run away instead of answering the questions. Run away instead of being faithful to the answer you said you got. Run away instead of fixing the chasm you created inside the person you professed to love.

The anger makes you hope they are suffering just as much. Or more.

The anger makes all sorts of things surface. It reminds you that love is all at once the most complicated thing in the world, and the most black and white. It only has to be as complicated as you make it. It only has to be as scary as you let it. But then the world gets in the way. And fear gets in the way. And dark things you don’t understand get in the way.

And they tell you all sorts of things, the people in the angry line. Most of them tell you to close the door and run as fast as you can. Some of them tell you that you’re being too kind, too nice. That you were too good. Cliche things. But you don’t believe those things, because you feel so angry. So angry you could scream. But your soul has been screaming for weeks.

But the last few days are the first ones in which the anger makes you see red.

Your friends take you to the restaurant, and you see those people. And you pretend you don’t know them: the couple that was so happy for you. You try not to panic. And you try to hide the fact that you’re shaking, and that you can’t breathe. Because he is your server, and looking at him is a strange torture. And his eyes have a question in them you can’t answer.  Because you don’t have the answers.

You are angry about everything. Every moment you were stupidly happy. Every moment when it felt more right than anything ever had. Every moment when it was so clear that it was the only thing that made sense. Even the hard moments that turned out better, because it couldn’t happen again. The list of things that happened to make it work out, and that pointed to it being right is one hundred miles long. It makes you livid.

More than anything, there is something else that fuels the anger to white hot.

And it is the fact that underneath it all, you aren’t angry. Not even a little bit. Not at all. Because the infuriatingly patient, loving, forgiving, and understanding slice of your heart is more stubborn than you’ll ever be. And that slice of your heart is praying and waiting and praying more, and whispering good things in your ear when you wake up in the middle of night because you had a dream.

And you aren’t really angry, only temporarily so, because there is a foolish hope in your heart. And you aren’t really angry, because even though you wish it wasn’t the case you’re still sending out love and prayers. And you aren’t really angry, because as soon as you’re done crying God always fills your heart will a mountain of peace and promise.

But for a moment you’re angrier than you’ve ever been.

And somehow your heart keeps beating.