The Universe sometimes has a curious ways of getting my attention. First, there was the anniversary card that sat in the floor of the hallway on the day I had cleaned out the front closet. I had gone through every item in that closet piece by piece and had not seen the card. I don’t know where it came from. Suddenly, it was just there. An anniversary card from a relationship that ended some time ago. I didn’t even know I still had it.
Then there were the photographs found, stumbled upon in yet another room, drawing my eye like a beacon. And the letter I had written. Where had it been tucked away? It was like the Universe was saying, pay attention! And so I did.
Because I felt nothing when I ended that relationship, I told myself there was no love. I didn’t love him then, at that moment of breaking, so it was easy to convince myself that I never had. But I loved him once and then never again. It was gone from me as surely as it had ever been there. I even felt the moment it left- as if a spirit had been drawn out of me and floated out of the room. Gone in a single moment, never to return.
Because it’s gone, you may be wondering what the point is of acknowledging it now. I feel strongly that we need to be honest with ourselves. It’s so easy to whitewash our own history, and when we do that, it becomes easier for us to whitewash everything. We get used to turning a blind eye to what we don’t want to see, and then we begin to repeat our mistakes- because we haven’t been able to acknowledge our culpability in making them. We’re usually far too busy blaming everyone and everything else.
But when we look closely at our lives and own up to all of it, the good and the bad, we’re better able to make healthy choices and to recognize our own value. We’re also less likely to absolve ourselves of all responsibility for the lives we’re leading, which means that we know that we’re in control of the choices we make going forward. We are empowered to choose what makes us happy, what fulfills us, and to reject the things that disempower us.
So, yes, I loved once, and then, in a moment, it was gone. I did not love him forever, and I’m not even sorry about it. I’m a little sorry for the person I once was, who trusted him absolutely. I’m a little sorry for the hurt I endured as a result of staying too long in a relationship that wasn’t serving me. But I’m not sorry the love is gone. It’s important to acknowledge that it once existed and can now be considered extinct.
I fully believe that the Universe needed me to acknowledge this because I was starting to engage in another harmful pattern in relationships. I was once again accepting too little and allowing too much, suffering through my own allowances when I could as easily disengage from the scenario. By reminding me of what I had experienced already, I was able to see that pattern for what it is: an unhealthy coping mechanism firmly rooted in denial.
Not all loves last. The choices we make aren’t always the best ones for us. Our mistakes have consequences that can be far-reaching. When we come to understand the role we played in the hard things we experienced, we can begin to find a place of peace and forgiveness. We can learn to forgive ourselves for not knowing better or for knowing better and ignoring that knowledge in favor of a pretty lie. We can learn to forgive the ones who let us down, acknowledging that how we were treated speaks only to their own path and not to us as individuals. We learn to accept and to make peace with what was and what is now.
I didn’t love him forever, and I’m not sorry. But I loved him once. I chose him once. Then, I chose again.
There’s peace and acceptance inside of understanding that we are not defined by any of it. It was, and now it isn’t. So we let it go. We let it be. We allow it to neither hurt us nor define us. We pack up the peace, acceptance, and that lightening inside us that signals forgiveness is coming, and we leave all the rest in the past where it belongs to go forward into a future that we know we alone create.