When DC and I parted as a couple, he wanted to stay friends. But I thought it a bad idea: if we remained friends and one of us started seeing someone new, we'd basically have to break up all over again; why go through that heartache a second -- and potentially more painful, because we'd be that much more invested in each other -- time? I needed to protect my heart. So we went our separate ways, as difficult as it was, and as certain as we were that we weren't quite done with one another.
I did entertain hope that one day we could be friends again (and to be really honest, I even entertained our breakup being a precursor to rebuilding a better, future JDC). In fact, what I missed most about JDC were all the seemingly mundane things we did -- talking about our days, our thoughts, our plans -- I missed my best friend, who also happened to be my confidant, travel buddy, supporter, challenger, and, of course, my lover. It took a while to separate the love feelings from the friend feelings; indeed, for a long time I thought the two were inextricably mixed. As my heart healed I realized that more than anything, I wanted what was best for DC, and I wanted, in some way, to be a part of that.
But how? DC would faithfully honor my request not to be friends. So I knew that if we were to move forward in any way it would have to be upon my initiation. I tarried with timing, at times feeling ready, at times not. I introspected -- Do I really love him or am I afraid that I will never find someone like him, whom I will love as much or who will love me as much? Is my hope based on romantic ideals of my first relationship being my last? And especially in light of these thoughts, whom do I choose to love? At the end of the day (really, six months), I just wanted to catch up with my best friend. So last week I picked up the phone.
In doing so I found out that DC is in a new relationship (in short: he didn't answer either of my two calls but responded with a very brief email). My think-the-worst tendency had prepared for such a possibility, but the recesses of my heart secretly hoped that our love was unshakably deep, or at least deep enough that we would still care for one another. The reality of the news was shaking, but more so was its delivery. I'm sad that DC did not wish to hear what I had to say and closed himself off to me entirely, unwilling to receive my peace and good tidings. I typed out a reply and sent it off immediately, so as not to edit away my gut response. As I look back on that email, the only changes I would have made were, in addition to thanking him for telling me about his new relationship, to let him know that I wish he had been more kind about it; and I would have signed off with "Good-bye" instead of "Peace." Ideally, though, our final good-bye would have been one with mutual peace, love, and blessing. Is that too ideal? Is it too much to ask? I thought of the song "Hate Me" by Blue October, whose lyrics read, "Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you." Does that apply here? To whom? I don't know. I don't know that it matters.
For all the sadness I feel at having lost any semblance of relationship with DC and having that (frankly, terse) interaction as a last memory, I am glad that he responded at all and that he told me anything at all; he didn't have to. So now I know, and I can in turn close the door. I've had the weekend to feel crestfallen, to ponder and mourn and, yes, get a little crazy (in my mind), but in the end as in the beginning, my heart of hearts wishes DC Every Good Thing. I don't know whether he read my response or simply deleted the email, but that's what I wrote to him, and I would never wish otherwise.
Rather than getting caught up in thinking about (or imagining) what I did or didn't do, or what DC did or didn't do, I am focusing on what God is doing. At church yesterday we sang, "It is Well with My Soul," a hymn written by a man who suffered not a simple heartache, but unspeakable tragedy. I went to bed praying that it would be so with my heart. And I know it will.