Epistle to an Ex-???
Scripture teaches us that we must forgive, because Christ forgave us. India.Arie sings “If Jesus can forgive crucifixion; surely we can survive and find a resolution.” I do not know if we can ever recapture our friendship, but we can ensure that there is no resentment between us. Forgiveness does not happen in a moment. It’s a process. Today, I choose to begin that process. The completion of that journey will not happen tomorrow or next week, but hopefully soon.
I can not take back the day that we met when you made quite a first impression on me with an unexpected act of kindness and you sparked my curiosity with your intellect. I can not take back those lengthy e-mails when we were just starting to get to know one another. I can not take back all of the time we spent together despite our busy schedules and the labor I put into carving out space for you in between my roles as father, full-time employee and student. I am not sure if I would take any of those things back even if I could, but the reality is - I can’t.
What I can do is forgive you. I forgive you for what you did knowingly and unknowingly to stir my emotions and then freeze them with your startling decision to only be friends, leaving me with a frost-bitten heart. I forgive you for keeping your true feelings and motives from me and allowing ambiguity to lead me astray. I forgive you for trying to let me down gradually, which made the closing of our season that much harder.
“Ultimately, our feelings for each other were not comparable,” you said so succinctly and callously, in response to a detailed account of why I felt wronged and hurt. E-mail is probably not the best way to discuss these matters, because it can be inherently cold and lifeless unless we make special efforts to use it as a more vibrant form of communication. However, expressing emotion online or off is not your forte’. You warned me of that, so I tried to read your actions more so than your words. I could not deconstruct your complicated text, and by the time you translated, the damage had already been done.
Yet, I have to take responsibility for my own choices. I should have used greater caution and restraint. I could have paid closer attention to the neon messages on your proverbial wall that are so clear in retrospect. Perhaps that was your way of making your vocabulary more remedial. Though I could have studied more diligently, I was in need of your tutoring. I also could be reaping the harvest of my own transgressions.
In the end it was not the fact that you were older and I was younger that brought our “relationship” to an impasse or our differences over intimacy in terms of what is and is not appropriate for Christians in these situations. I always respected your desire to grow in faith and live righteously, for I share that goal. This is about the all too common challenge of emotional imbalance and the age-old stumbling block of miscommunication. Usually it is one party who bears the burden of loss much more than the other. This letter is a part of my healing process. You too have wounds that are still in need of mending from previous experiences and I pray that you would be made whole.
As I write these words my spirit is being lifted and renewed, moving me from a state of sorrow to a sense of joy. Like Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, I post this letter to the door of my heart in the hope that it will spark a reformation – no a revolution – of love in me, you and everyone else who reads it. Could it be that I had to go through this heartache just to write this epistle, so that others might be blessed? All I know is that God can turn any misfortune around for His glory and the edification of His people. To that I say, “Praise be to the Most High and Amen.”
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you always.