On this day five months ago, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes, and I placed the rock on her finger. A few weeks later, at the beginning of this year, I stood before a group of fellow Christian journalists at our monthly Inter-Media Fellowship meeting and thanked God for her.
“Last year, she said ‘yes’, and this year, I am praying she says ‘I do’,” I said confidently as the room filled with applause.
Well, it’s four months since I said those words, and I have to face the reality that she won’t be saying ‘I do’ this year. At least not to me. Somewhere between then and now, a series of tragic events led to a heart-crushing break-up about two months ago. She is no longer my fiancee, and I am no longer her fiance. We had dated for five years.
I have lived with this reality for months now, and I have not been able to confront it publicly until now. I have only told a handful of friends about the break-up, and even then, the details were shaky. Many of you will find out through this post if you didn’t suspect it already. I was determined to keep this rock in my chest intact. I will not be vulnerable. I will not break. I will go through the death of this relationship without shedding a single mournful tear. I will be fine.
Well, I am not fine, yet. And no, I am not going to divulge the details of the break-up on a blog-post. I am sorry to disappoint you. This is neither the time nor the place. Some things are better left to the discretion of a few trusted friends and family.
Which is why I still don’t understand how the first people I alienated after the break-up were my closest friends and family. I guess it’s because I am a rock. I like to be in control. Vulnerability doesn’t suit me. You can come to me with your woes and worries but don’t expect the reciprocal. I am a rock, and I was determined to stay that way. After the break-up, I immediately broke contact with my closest friends. People tried to reach me to no avail. I ignored calls, sent one-worded replies to texts and basically made it clear I did not want to talk.
Most people find it difficult to live through the break-up by having to explain what happened and the reasons to friends. But I found it difficult to just admit that there will no longer be a wedding. I could not even tell the men who would be standing beside me on my wedding day! I was too proud. Too self-conscious. Too self-preserving. A rock.
Which doesn’t make any sense. How can I keep something like a broken marriage engagement from my closest friends? How did I expect to see that play out? To be honest, I didn’t think it through, and I didn’t care. To keep myself busy, I buried myself in work. My editor has been singing my praises. I became an outstanding reporter within a few weeks of working in the newsroom. I wrote stories fast, well, and with the enthusiasm of a toddler who was high on sugar. This rock needed a mask, and the mask of work fit me perfectly.
But I could only keep up appearances for so long. I was not going to avoid and evade my friends forever. Soon, I will start bumping into them. Soon I will have no choice but to confront the reality of what happened between me and her. I will have to re-live and truly mourn, the bad break-up. The rock will soon have to crumble. Storms have been known to weather away even the hardest rocks.
As I type this post, I am slowly realizing the man I had become over the weeks of hiding. First, I began to detest fellowship. I stopped going to my usual church because, among many other reasons, I was not ready to confront the inevitable barrage of questions. Then I stopped reading my Bible, the burden on my conscience was too much to bear. I had long stopped praying by then. I did away with listening to sermons and reading books that got too close to my heart
I hated the person that these mirrors of truth reflected back to me.
I hated the selfish heart I saw reflected in my Bible.
I hated the proud heart I saw reflected in many sermons on following Christ.
I hated the songs that always moved me to repentance because I knew Jesus would not have half-hearted repentance from me.
It became impossible to love Jesus and avoid the church, so I avoided Jesus too.
This rock stayed away from The Rock.
And it gets worse. I will not go into the details, but I will tell you one thing, it is impossible to embrace Christ when your hands and feet are running away from Him. There’s no faking it with the Creator of the universe. You cannot outsmart Him. Luckily, you also cannot outrun Him. These words from a spoken-word piece I wrote some years back seem more relevant now more than ever:
Stuck at the intersection of all the men I could be,
I look up to the heavens for guidance.
Yet my eyes look at Him with great avoidance,
“Good-riddance” crosses my mind, I want to dance around this bind, and daily pretend that I am blind,
I am hoping to leave this maze behind, Cos I am amazed that He’s so kind, amazed that am one of a kind, dazed that I am no longer blind, fazed by His love that binds.
I have seen God’s hand, but I am struggling to take it,
I can see God’s love and I am ready to receive it;
But I’ve sinned so much, I am tempted to reject it;
If you’re waiting for a deep, transforming conclusion that will wrap up this post, you will have to wait a little longer. There is none today. I end here, acknowledging how tired I suddenly feel. I thought there would be some relief in writing this down. I always feel better when I write things down. I guess today is different. I know what God wants me to do. I know I need to go back to the Gospel and let it wash over me once more. I need healing. I need Jesus. But this only sounds like empty ideas than a reality to me right now.
I can see the rock flaking, but it still feels too difficult to break.