My Wooden Jesus

It’s been over 3 weeks since I left my former lover’s bed at 2 a.m; I’ve not spoken to him since.

Unbeknownst to me, I was coming down with the flu, so over the next few days I had a lot of time to think. When he didn’t reply to my text letting him know I was sick, well, that started a negative spiral.  When my 11 year old daughter wanted to know why he and I weren’t a couple, but were hanging out, I told her it was too complicated and only a grown-up would understand. She gave me the “look” and insisted I explain it to her. Quoting something he’d said to me the last time we were together (the sentence that kept going through my mind) she looked at me with horror and said: “That’s so mean, Mom.”

It was an epiphany. Our entire 19 month committed, broken up, trying again, broken up, trying something new, unsure what the hell we’re doing relationship was cast in a new light. Suddenly, things I’d felt deeply, but chosen to overlook became clear.  Truth had fallen from the mouth of a child and I could not ignore it.

I grieved all over again. I felt hurt and angry and on some level, I felt like a fool for trying to think the best. My thoughts circled around things that had been said and things that hadn’t, actions, looks…I revisited it all and turned it over and over in my head. I wept and a flame of anger, righteous anger, began to rise up inside my heart. So, of course, I began to write about it.

I wrote and wrote, revising and tweaking for days…which turned into weeks. I’d write, delete, then start over again. I told the story that showed clearly WHY I was angry and hurt. No one who read it could fail to understand, least of all him. I needed to show him the ways in which his thoughtlessness and ambiguity had harmed me. This was about holding up a mirror so he could look clearly at his actions and why his lack of clarity was cruel. Wasn’t that my responsibility? So he wouldn’t go out and hurt someone else like he’d hurt me? I crafted a work of art, every word carefully chosen to make him comprehend what I had felt: Vulnerable, hurt, used, diminished, de-valued, angry. I spent hours and hours writing, editing, and rewriting. Then I agonized over it all the times when I wasn’t writing.

Years ago I saw a film with Jane Fonda called “The Dollmaker”. After the loss of her daughter, the main character becomes obsessed with her attempt to carve the figure of Jesus out of a piece of wood. She spends hours obsessively trying to get it right, only to realize in the end that the only way to save herself and get her family back on track was to turn loose of the carving she’d worked so hard on. In a powerful scene, she takes an axe to the Jesus carving and chops it into multiple pieces, using the smaller chunks of wood to carve beautiful figures she sells to help support the family.

I realized this blog, my beautifully crafted tale of pain and sorrow, had become my wooden Jesus. It originated from a place of pain and was becoming a trap. Everytime I read it, worked on it, I was reliving the negative emotions. I felt overwhelmed by needing him to understand and feel sorry that he’d hurt me. I was trapped in feeling the hurt…plus, something kept me from publishing it.

It’s not my job to make him understand; I’m wanting to do relationship work with someone who doesn’t appear to value a relationship with me. He couldn’t even text me back after hearing I was sick! Why on earth was I spending my valuable time agonizing over this and reliving every painful thing that had happened in our 19 month relationship? If at some point he looks back on our interactions and wants a deeper understanding of my point of view, he knows where to find me. The entire arc of our relationship, along with the silence that has existed since my last text to him, would highly suggest he doesn’t currently have that interest. Nor do I have a responsibility to assist him with future relationship work…it’s simply not my job.

I still WANT to believe the best. There have been times I’ve looked in his eyes during conversation and believed we made such a powerful connection and felt stirred by the depth I believed I saw. Part of the entire basis of why I fell in love with him was because I believed him to be an honest man of integrity, who was trying hard to work on his values. I want to believe in that man, even though I’ve realized attempting any level of relationship with him does not serve my highest good. I want to believe that somehow, he is attempting to do what he believes is best, even if I really dislike the way he’s chosen to go about it. I am going to do my best to blot out the voices in my head, mine and others, who assign different motives to his actions and words. I may choose often to believe the best in others, but I don’t think I want to be a cynical person who always sees a hidden agenda. I’ve always wanted to believe you can bridge any relationship change with love, rather than burning a bridge. I’ve also tried this enough to know it takes two people to build a bridge. It doesn’t work if one person is doing their best to build a bridge and the other is standing at the construction site yelling across: “Good work! Once that bridge is built, I’ll figure out if it’s worth my while to cross it!”

So now, I continue on with my life and he continues on with his and we will both be fine. I will miss him, but I will especially miss that man I glimpsed sometimes with whom I had the soul connection. I will send him love and hope he fares well in this world, and I will release him from my life. Completely. Then I will turn my attention and energy to those friends and loves in my life who return the friendship and love I offer. As for the other blog…

Well, I wish I could say I had a dramatic moment to share, but I’m not Jane Fonda. My wooden Jesus sits in my “Drafts” folder; I haven’t quite convinced myself to delete it. Coming to the decision to not publish it and to revise it was grueling work, which I meditated and prayed over for many nights. I’m hoping one day I’ll hit the delete button and feel that final sense of release from this 19 months, with only the good moments and the lessons learned remaining. That’s my goal: To remember the beauty, release the pain and take what I’ve learned with me without bitterness.

Afterall, life and love is a journey.

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