I specifically remember the day we stopped fitting into each other’s lives.
We never got that back. Its been years now, and sometimes I think, from now on we will always be strangers. We will always find ourselves unfamiliar with the shelves and cupboards of one another. I won’t know if you still like peanuts and you won’t know that I don’t own that floral shirt anymore.
I guess that’s how this whole thing works, sometimes people stop fitting in your life. One day you realize that you can’t find spaces for them to slip back into.
I never said “thank you”, but I’m saying it now.
I was angry. I was hurt. I firmly believed you were out for blood–that you were punishing me the only way you knew how.
Maybe you were. Maybe pushing me out of your life wasn’t supposed to be a favor, maybe you never intended for me to see it as a good thing.
But then one day when I was sitting in your shoes; I suddenly felt grateful that you taught me when to let go and how not to walk away.
When it was my turn, my first reaction was to do exactly what you did. I wanted to just disappear and I had good reasons for that. But in that moment, I remembered how it felt to be on the other end. You gave me the fortitude to properly say goodbye when you refused to do that for me.
I’ve learned that a lot of people treat others the way they’ve been treated. If their parents were mean, they’re mean to their kids. If they were bullied in school, they lash out later in life. If someone leaves them, they leave others. Too often we become the people that hurt us most and in our pain we justify it.
But in that moment, when I wanted to do the wrong thing…I remembered all those years ago and even in my anger, I couldn’t wish that hurt on someone else.
I’m learning that’s what determines our character–what we make of our pain.
When it comes to our past, we can either be broken by it or built by it. It can either be the reason why we learn to love people or an excuse to hate them.
Running, disappearing, leaving people to wonder where things went wrong–I think people with integrity would call that cowardice. I’ve never heard them listed as attributes next to the name of someone who’s brave.
Sometimes we have to walk away, draw lines, set boundaries, move forward & move on. I’m learning that. I’m learning that not every relationship can be healthy, that there are some times when you just have to shake hands and part ways. But I’m learning that it doesn’t look like folded arms and slamming doors.
There are two types of people in our lives: those that we thank for teaching us the right way, and those (if we choose to be forgiving), we can grow from them showing us the wrong way.
The thing about that is, we also get to choose what kind of person we will be for the people around us.
We’re all going to eventually have to say hard things, we all have to make choices that might hurt others. But we get to decide what we say, if we say it, how we say it and if whether or not we help break or build them.