Just in case you’re wondering, I really did delete the number.
But instead of feeling that incredible surge of courage and pride I’d hoped for, I felt empty. Empty, empty, empty. Disappointed I’d have to start back at ground zero. Be honest with myself about what I was looking for and where I was going to find it [and where I wasn’t]. Be okay with the fact that I couldn’t turn to him for attention anymore. Even though I knew the truth already… he wasn’t going to fill me in the first place. But even knowing that truth, I still felt empty. Like I’d lost something I didn’t even knew I had. Like I’d opened up a little bit and the door was slammed in my face before I even had a chance to swing my arm to stop it.
And it hurt.
I wish [oh Lord, I wish] I could say I deleted the number and never even looked back. Stopped thinking about him, stopped thinking he’d fill any kind of lonely I was feeling. Move on. Erase what happened, erase our conversations, erase the little black stamp he put on my heart. The first stamp I’ve had in a really long time. The first time in quite a while I’ve really cared that he texted me back. That he thought about me when I wasn’t around.
But that didn’t happen. And the emptiness hurt. And then, all the sudden, I got angry with myself for feeling empty. Upset that I let myself get so worked up over a boy who clearly didn’t feel nearly as invested as I did. Upset I couldn’t simply shut my feelings off and pretend like they didn’t exist. WHY WAS IT TAKING ME SO FREAKIN’ LONG TO SIMPLY NOT CARE ANYMORE? Why couldn’t I just shut it off like a water faucet? Stop the water, stop caring, let the sink dry.
Maybe… maybe it’s because feelings weren’t meant to be like a water faucet. Maybe they’re feelings because we’re really meant to feel them. Novel, right? No really, think about that for a second. Think about the last time you really let yourself feel. And not just like an “I acknowledge this emotion for 10 seconds and then I move on” kind of way. Like an “I’m going to sit and wrestle and cry over this feeling because it deserves a few tears. And a few hours of solitude. And a lot of time to process” kind of way. When was the last time you gave yourself the gift of time to process? To really, really feel? To not feel embarrassed because you think you were supposed to feel a different way. To not get upset with yourself because you’ve got feelings that make you feel even more broken inside. And they’re demanding to be felt. But the brokenness hurts.
Oddly enough, sometimes I think the sweetest moments in life are the ones when we feel the most broken. The times we let tears fall like a thunderstorm, when our body shakes and we have no control, when it’s all you can do to raise your hands up to the ceiling and surrender. When falling on your knees seems like the only viable option. Like you’ve been hurt and torn and twisted, and your bones ache so deeply you can’t even think about getting back up. They ache in a “this is real,” and “this is a deep, deep searing pain” kind of way. When we’re forced to come face to face with the fact that we’re part of a broken world. That we, ourselves, are broken. And flawed. And meant to feel. And maybe, just maybe, we’re meant to learn through feeling broken. Really, really letting ourselves feel broken. To learn about grace and unending love and compassion. About opening up, being vulnerable, letting people see pieces of you you don’t even want to confront yourself. Because if you don’t even allow yourself the opportunity to feel broken, to know that pain, to process those thoughts and truths, feeling whole won’t be nearly as sweet. The picture of being full in Him alone won’t mean anything to you. It won’t make sense.
Yes, letting yourself feel sucks sometimes. And sets you back. And makes you feel weak, and maybe alone. But you weren’t built to turn those feelings off. You were meant to feel them. To let them challenge you. To teach you just how strong you really are, even when you don’t think so. To teach you that no matter how far you fall, you’ll never fall too far away. To remind you that you’re unique, the way you process, the things you care about, the things you expect of yourself.
And maybe to tear down a few walls, too. Because goodness knows that good tears tear down walls quicker than bulldozers.