As Is

This explains my broken heart, the depth of my sadness. After I read it, I cried in the kitchen while I fixed supper. I found it on Facebook, and it’s good, finally, to have the words to tell how I have felt over the years, and why.

For me, it was almost two years. And five years. And ten. And several who came and went before then.

Profiles are deleted, hidden, or e-mail settings changed so that I receive e-mail only if someone sends a message.

It’s time to move on from this wanting and hoping for what I’d like life to be and back to living life as it is.

Choose Her Every Day (Or Leave Her)

I spent 5 years hurting a good woman by staying with her but never fully choosing her.

I did want to be with this one. I really wanted to choose her. She was an exquisite woman, brilliant and funny and sexy and sensual. She could make my whole body laugh with her quick, dark wit and short-circuit my brain with her exotic beauty. Waking up every morning with her snuggled in my arms was my happy place. I loved her wildly.

Unfortunately, as happens with many young couples, our ignorance of how to do love well quickly created stressful challenges in our relationship. Before long, once my early morning blissful reverie gave way to the strained, immature ways of our everyday life together, I would often wonder if there was another woman out there who was easier to love, and who could love me better.

As the months passed and that thought reverberated more and more through my head, I chose her less and less. Every day, for five years, I chose her a little less.

I stayed with her. I just stopped choosing her. We both suffered.

Choosing her would have meant focusing every day on the gifts she was bringing into my life that I could be grateful for: her laughter, beauty, sensuality, playfulness, companionship, and so … much … more.

Sadly, I often found it nearly impossible to embrace – or even see – what was so wildly wonderful about her.

I was too focused on the anger, insecurities, demands, and other aspects of her strong personality that grated on me. The more I focused on her worst, the more I saw of it, and the more I mirrored it back to her by offering my own worst behavior. Naturally, this only magnified the strain on our relationship … which still made me choose her even less.

Thus did our nasty death spiral play itself out over five years.

She fought hard to make me choose her. That’s a fool’s task. You can’t make someone choose you, even when they might love you.

To be fair, she didn’t fully choose me, either. The rage-fueled invective she often hurled at me was evidence enough of that.

I realize now, however, that she was often angry because she didn’t feel safe with me. She felt me not choosing her every day, in my words and my actions, and she was afraid I would abandon her.

Actually, I did abandon her.

By not fully choosing her every day for five years, by focusing on what bothered me rather than what I adored about her, I deserted her.

Like a precious fragrant flower I brought proudly into my home but then failed to water, I left her alone in countless ways to wither in the dry hot heat of our intimate relationship.

I’ll never not choose another woman I love again.

It’s torture for everyone.

If you’re in relationship, I invite you to ask yourself this question:

“Why am I choosing my partner today?”

If you can’t find a satisfying answer, dig deeper and find one. It could be as simple as noticing that in your deepest heart’s truth, “I just do.”

If you can’t find it today, ask yourself again tomorrow. We all have disconnected days.

But if too many days go by and you just can’t connect with why you’re choosing your partner, and your relationship is rife with stress, let them go. Create the opening for another human being to show up and see them with fresh eyes and a yearning heart that will enthusiastically choose them every day.

Your loved one deserves to be enthusiastically chosen. Every day.

You do, too.

Choose wisely.

https://bryanreeves.com/choose-her-everyday-or-leave-her

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Change of Season

Aside from the showers of leaves as I walk down the driveway next to the burned-out ruins of Rebel’s Rest and the bright colors of fall, I am distinctly aware that the seasons are changing.

The feeling of being in between is weighing heavily on my mind in the “drop,” the emotional aftereffects of last week’s meetings. I am proud of how it all came about. The events went well, and I had a chance to shine instead of being obscured in the shadows of giants.

I am quietly sad. And mindful that the days are passing still. Wondering whether the opportunity costs of chasing short-term gratification at the expense of long-term edification are worth the time spent–or thrown away. Where is the equilibrium point in living for now versus working toward later?

My mind is quiet for once, partly due to having blown itself out with all of last week’s details, and partly due to being tired.

And I am somehow balanced, neither wishing for what’s past nor leaning into the future, simply here in the moment, somehow detached and looking down from floating above it all. There is no strong emotion, not at the to-do lists that have drug on and cost me a measure of playfulness or even at the possibilities unfolding over the next couple of months.

I look back at the timeline I drafted two months ago, and it seems impossible that so many of those things have happened and like the ubiquitous mark on the map, “You are Here.” When I wrote it, it seemed like this week would never come, and I am here.

As I moved forward through the meetings this time, I connected and enjoyed–and realized with great peace that this one might very well be my last. I’ve arrived, yet I may be leaving. I am not what I once was, not yet what I sooner or later will become.

The old considerations, matters, worries are falling away like the heat of the summer, giving way to a calmer, more peaceful breeze and the scratching sounds of leaves on the pavement as the chill air carries them along.

A new season is coming.

The Numbers Are In

67.25 hours, start to finish

104 participants, not including spouses

24 newcomers, 21 in attendance

44 to have quorum

13(+?) bishops

1 church service

3 business sessions

11 committees met a total of 15 times

13 staff liaisons

16 locations

11 meals/breaks, with 2 vegetarians, 1 gluten-free, 1 dairy-free, and one last-minute soft diet

34 speaker sessions, plus people to pray and people to introduce

4 presentations

8 shades of colored paper

130 packets of materials

nametags for every day, every event….three kinds, lost count of how many

countless helpers–everyone in my office, plus chapel staff, catering staff from three suppliers, physical plant services crews for set up, media support for recording and audiovisuals, and who knows how many others.

The Next Best Step

It’s been an interesting couple of months, with people in and out, changing profiles and changing questions . . . and maybe even changing priorities and changing plans. Activity on the dating sites has been off the charts in terms of views, “Likes,” “Wants to Meet You”s, and messages, and even a couple without normal social boundaries. They disappear as quickly as they showed up to begin with, and I’m learning to let it go without chasing.

I’ve learned about Kik and Tango and had some fun messaging with people I’d never meet otherwise–too far away to date, but not too far to chat and goof off with. Still working on getting Skype and Google Hangouts to work, but oh well. It’s not a major issue if they never do.

My big week at work is now past. These days made me realize more of how much I have changed over the last few years. A key staff member was out this time, leaving us to fill the many roles he normally plays, and it gave us some chances to fall down–or fill in.

I gave a briefing to senior staff once again. I’d been thrown into it ten years ago and was terrified as they seemingly glared at me across the huge table; this time with many of the same colleagues in the room, I felt at home and at ease enough to stay focused, speak confidently, and respond rather than react to questions and other rabbit holes, no resorting to being nervous and playing a persona. The real me was present in that room.

I had the opportunity to be seen as something more than my usual Shrinking Violet in front of a potential new boss. He sought me out after one of the dinners to tell me he thinks I’m “impressive.” I appreciate that. Once I’m back in the office, I’ll tally up the numbers for these events: how many people, how many committees, how many speakers, and so on, partly for my new resume but mostly for my own edification.

In spite of the semi-chaos at times, I connected with people and enjoyed them more than ever, joining in the heavy politicking at the edges of the room, professing long-felt mutual affection, and just encouraging, loving, hugging, and building them up. It was so good.

Earlier in the year, I met with a counselor in our Career Services Office, and she drew a sketch of what careers look like for most of us: a wild, curvy, bumpy, even loopy line, and she advised me this: we can’t see how it’s all coming together until we’re looking back. So the best advice, no matter where we are, she says, is to look around, assess the current situation, and take the next best step, whatever that may be.

I can’t quite see it yet, but it’s becoming clearer. Time for the next step.

 

Vacation Pics

My Friend texted yesterday to ask if I wanted to see some of the pictures from their vacation a couple weeks ago. I thought, “Sure, why not? That’s what friends do.” And I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to look at them, figuring there would be some heartache to go with–”but I wanted to do that.” My heart hurt for a few minutes, dreading the possible response and the aftermath.

So when he sent them, I saved them to my laptop and went on about my evening before having a peep.

I finally I looked. And looked again.The cabin where they stayed was beautiful, and the scenery was stunning, no question about it. I would like to visit there sometime myself, just based on this. It was the kind of scenery (river, woods, mountains) that speaks to my soul, fits who I am. But I still felt….not much.

He was hoping for a different reaction, some kind of excited feedback, maybe even that I wish it had been me.

Nothing.

It’s not depression; I’m in a great frame of mind. At times I’m a little weary, but at others, I’m exhilarated the way I usually am at this time of year. Putting all the parts together into one, big, beautiful series of events is a sight to behold. It’s extremely gratifying to watch as the moving pieces work together to become something bigger.

The remodeling and cleaning up are keeping me occupied, as is attempting to connect and date. Prospects at least seem good right now in other areas of life. But I should feel more than this.

So it was and is a surprise to me that my reaction is less than enthusiastic.

I wish I could say more. It truly was beautiful.

Did I want to be there? Then, maybe some. Now, not so much.

Do I wish it had been me? Yes. With Mine, whenever I find him.

Was it exciting? For them, I’m certain it was.

Guess you just had to be there.