love is not enough: part four

My grandmother had breast cancer.

My sophomore year in college, the disease was progressing, and before she decided to have any surgeries, she wanted to sell our childhood home, where ALL her children, as well as myself, grew up, because she couldn’t manage it anymore and needed something smaller. It was hard because she had the house for fourty or so years, so there were a lot of memories in that house. I was sad about it, but knew it was what she had to do because now her health was the priority.

A week after the prayer service on campus, I decided to go home to help my grandmother pack up the house for her moving weekend. It was midsummer, and I actually had just moved off campus to an apartment by myself which I was excited about. I had never lived alone before, so it was another step in freedom that I was actually enjoying. During my move, I remember my boyfriend staying the night in my dorm with me because he was going to help me walk my suitcases over to my new apartment, which was literally a couple streets away from the dorm. While packing and getting ready, he wanted to brush his teeth in the bathroom across the hall but forgot his toothbrush in his dorm room and wanted me to go get it for him. I was busy packing, and since he was just sitting there playing a game on the computer, I told him to just go back to his room and get it, and then by the time he came back we’d be ready to walk my stuff over. He got so mad with me, said a few choice words, and we actually argued about me not going to get his toothbrush for him. As I finished packing the last suitcase, I told him I was ready to go. He just sat there and said “you didn’t go get my toothbrush for me, so I’m not going to help you move your stuff.” He was dead serious. He literally sat in my dorm room and watched me make multiples trips back and forth to my apartment. He didn’t help me at all and that still that wasn’t the last straw (#traumatrain). 

I used to take the Greyhound bus everywhere in my early college years because I still didn’t have a car. My boyfriend and my best friend both stayed the night with me in my new apartment because she was going to drive me to the bus station and he was going to ride with us. They took me to the bus station, gave them both my love, and headed to Cleveland. 

While in Cleveland, I got to spend time with my family and some of my friends from highschool. I remember calling my boyfriend a few times in between packing and not being able to reach him. I was busy so I didn’t think anything of it. He called me back while I was loading up the moving truck, so I took a break to talk to him. We talked a little, I caught him up on my day, and then I asked him “How was your day? What have you been doing?” His reply to me was, “ What I tell you about asking me stuff like that? Don’t worry about what I was doing.” I went off on him and ended up hanging up on him. I was dealing with too much and wasn’t in for it at this point. I had been home just a little over 24 hours and I just didn’t have the capacity to deal with his behavior. 

Later that evening I went out with some friends. I saw that he called me a couple times, but I ignored his call. I just wanted to have fun and not deal with the drama. When I got home that night, I saw that he left me a message and I checked it before heading to bed.  

“Hey. I just wanted to tell you that I love you so much and I miss you and I can’t wait for you to come back home. I know I’ve been acting like a jerk, and I’m sorry. Please call me when you get a chance. I love you.” 

I almost didn’t know who it was. It was such a different tone than he took with me just that same afternoon so it actually alarmed me. I called him right back and during the conversation, he just kept telling me that he loved me, and that he couldn’t wait to see me. I thought God had finally answered the prayers I had been praying all month to change him, or the situation we were in. I told him I loved him too. I almost felt a relief that something came over him to make him finally appreciate me and express it as such. By this time, I was laying in the bed, slowly drifting off and there was a short pause. 

“I have something to tell you.” He said so softly, almost unrecognizable. 

“What?” I asked with my heart starting to race. Another short pause. 

“I cheated on you.” He sounded so hurt about it and was so apologetic. I was surprised and not surprised, but also simultaneously crushed. I felt so much hurt and anger rise up, all I could do was hang up. I was livid. This time I didn’t even have time to cry. I got up, went into another room to fume, and then called him back. I went OFF on him. After questioning him on all the details of who, when, and why… he told me he cheated on me the night I left for Cleveland with some girl who was in one of his classes. I just remember cussing him out and FINALLY having the nerve to break up with him, right before I hung up on him. 

Despite his efforts thereafter, we never got back together after that. 

I remember talking to him about a week after he told me. He gave me all the sob stories, all the excuses, and all the pity party,… even all the tears. I asked him, 

“Did you even love me?” He said, “yes, of course I did…I do”. I asked, “Do you want to get back together?” He said yes, absolutely. I said, “then you should have thought about that before you messed around with some girl that wasn’t even worth it.” Then I asked, “have you talked to her since y’all messed around?” In a disgusted voice he said, “Hell naw, I ain’t trying to mess with her no more.” I asked him, “Why not?” He responded, “Man I aint trying to see her no more.” I was so annoyed. “So you messed around with some girl that wasn’t even worth it, AND you don’t even wanna talk to her anymore? You should try to get back with her and at LEAST make it worth it, because now we’re done and it was all for nothing.” He didn’t have anything to say. I told him I had to go, and I hung up. We didn’t really speak for about a year after that, and that was just cordial banter when we passed each other on campus.

In this situation, love wasn’t enough for either him nor I, but I am SO grateful for that situation. There was SO much more that occurred but, the short of it is that I learned so much about myself, about God, about life…and I learned to appreciate and see so much through this short relationship. I actually look at this relationship and realize how when I didn’t think God was answering my prayers, the whole time, He really was. He made a way of escape for me in a way I would have never thought to ask for, but He knew what my last straw was going to be and used it for my good. I had a “no cheating policy” regarding my relationship. Of all the emotional abuse I endured and enabled, and even him talking to other girls, for me it was tolerable as long as he wasn’t sleeping with anyone else. In my mind, that was ok. I made excuses for him because I wanted to try and make it work. The only way I would have ever had the courage to break up with him in that season of life, is if he told me something like that… and that’s what happened.

I think about the prayers I literally prayed at the end of our relationship to change HIM

All the times I used to pray that he would draw closer to God, to me….all the times I tried to get him to go to church with me, pray with me…he never saw a need or had a desire for it. One day, years later, he called me. The number looked familiar and I picked up. I was actually pleasantly surprised to hear his voice. I had no bitterness. No hate. Nothing. I was actually happy to hear from him. He was calling me to ask my advice regarding a current relationship he was in, and then he proceeded to tell me that he actually got engaged (as was I at the time), saved and was involved in his church.

My heart literally did flips of joy when he told me that. I had such a peace in that moment because it was the ultimate confirmation that GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. I had loved him and prayed so many prayers for him, and even though it didn’t work out for us, him reaching out to me to tell me that He was now SAVED was a joy beyond measure. It was a confirmation for me, that God heard me and worked all that out for both our good.

He is now a pastor with a beautiful family. To this day, I praise God that He used that relationship to draw us BOTH to him at some point because that changed both our lives forever and taught us how to be better versions of ourselves through HIM.

This was such a life changing relationship for me.

To God to ALL the glory.

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