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Suffering, Perseverance, Character, and Hope – For DL

Thoughts on finding love through perseverance.

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.”  Romans 5:3-5

Many, many years ago when I had to do one of the scariest and hardest things of my life to date, I wrote four words down on a piece of paper. Suffering. Perseverance. Character. Hope. And I kept it with me at all times tucked away on my person. I was terrified. I still have that paper from 10 years ago and it resides, folded up now, in my bible.

I memorized Romans 5 when I was a much younger woman. And I looked at this as a rallying cry from God to take my suffering and fight like hell so I could reach a place of hope.

But there was something I never realized.

I had hope all along. It was like Dorothy’s ruby slippers. I never knew I had the power with me all along.  I had to go through the suffering to produce perseverance to create character which led to hope.

I’m not the person I once was. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve changed. My dear friend Sherry and I were speaking about it just this morning. Certain wants and goals I had years ago mean nothing to me now.  At some point, I feel like I finally figured out life. I know exactly what’s important now and what isn’t. And I have a very low tolerance for the “isn’ts”.  Which is what prompted all of this today.  All these people from my past who dismissed me so easily have been buzzing around me for two weeks. And one by one, I’ve kicked them to the curb and you can keep reading as to see why. I can clearly see the losers and users that I fought so hard to just hope for a chance to be a part of their lives.

What the hell was I thinking?

I fully understand none of these people have changed, but I did. I found the hope I had been seeking my entire life and it was a painful and beautiful process. Now I just sit in peace and gratitude every single day and it took me a lot of years to see my own value.

I’ve always made myself vulnerable with my writing. I truly suck to great degrees at speaking one on one like this in real life. But writing is magic for me. And I’ve come to learn the only time my writing works, is when I do exactly that. Like Hemingway once said, There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. When my writing works, it’s when I sit down at my computer and open a vein connected directly to my heart and I let it flow.

So with all the risks it entails, I’m going to make myself vulnerable once again which has always left me feeling like a cursed enigma. But without risks and without putting yourself out there, you aren’t really living, are you? I no longer feel like I have anything to lose, even if once again, I lost it all.

I have this painfully huge heart. I can, quite literally, feel other people’s joy and pain. I am passionate beyond measure. I hate hard and I love harder. I’m loyal to a fault. I am transparent and never bask in pretense. That doesn’t mix well with dating. If I’m excited about someone I show it. And after a long time, I realized how much people hate that.  Or I should say, how the wrong people hate that.  They never want to know there is a real live girl connected to a body.

I tried changing. It didn’t work. Because in the end I eventually show up. The real me always does. I’ve now accepted that.  I can’t follow the latest “rules and regulations” when it comes to dating and love.

After yet another relationship had come to a sudden and painful end last year, I reached out to my personal Yoda, Sherry, and she wrote me a letter that I printed out and I also carry in my bible.  She said, all these men in their own ways had fragments of the thing you were craving but you would have ended those relationships at some point anyway. because you know exactly what you want.

She continued…

“Earlier you said you wanted a man to really love you but that’s not true.  You want THE man to love you. The one that’s out there that will make all of these other guys completely disappear from your heart and mind. I think from each of them you found a part of what you want in life but none of them were the full picture…someday you will have to be as forgiving and loving in how you see yourself as you did with any of them and I think that’s the only lesson you have ever needed to learn. Because you already know how to love and you do it well.”

She helped me realize, no one else brings the magic. I am the magic. And I do know how to love well.  I ended up raising my standards so high I was convinced I’d be alone for the rest of my life and I didn’t mind. And then I completely kicked dating to the curb. I was done. Beyond done. You just have no idea how done.  I had learned to love myself the way I wanted to be loved and I created a beautiful life by the grace of God. I didn’t and never will need anything else.

But I still had that want for someone. I can honestly say I’ve gone through my entire life without being loved. I mean, I’m loved by my family and my children. But I’ve never been loved. So I asked God for it. Then I tossed it to the wind and I let it go. Completely. I mapped out my entire cat lady future. Which still may very well be my future and even that is ok.

But like Andy Warhol once said, “As soon as you stop wanting something, you get it.” And damn if I didn’t.

There’s something to be said for timing. But I know now it’s God’s timing, and it’s perfect.

“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
? Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I have an appreciation for life like I’ve never had before. Everything has lined up. All the planets in my universe. My connection with my family and old friends and my children. My job. My life is beautiful beyond measure. And letting go of all that’s happened in the past and freeing up my soul to simply bathe in the beauty of the moment is quite literally the greatest gift God has ever given me. I realize suddenly how very, very short life really is.

The crazy thing is, I would go right back to all the suffering I’ve endured and all the painful lessons I’ve learned.  I would even go back to the years of abuse and do it all over again if it all was going to once again lead to this man. This beautiful, unimaginable, amazing man.

And I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future. It’s only been a couple of months. Well, 30 years and a couple of months. But I know that this moment in my life. This exact moment could not be anymore beautiful or blessed.

So…DL, even if everything stopped right at this moment, thank you. Thank you for showing me that a truly good man exists. And the fact that you are wrapped up as a bad boy, makes it even better. It’s like winning the lottery. 100

 I always describe you to people as the Yin and  Yang.  You are a perfect balance of what human beings really should be. And I can say, I honestly never expected you. But I also know God knew it would take a strong man to handle me. And you are more man, than any I’ve ever met in my life, combined. I like that you are cursed with the same type of heart I am. I like that you “get life” too. I like that you are completely crazy and like me, aren’t your age.  I like that you overdose on cream and sugar in your coffee and you never judge me for all my ridiculous f-bombs.

But most of all, I love that you never gave up. I am grateful for you more than you know.

So it was all true. Hope does not disappoint us. And praise be to God for his indescribable gift, because I truly have want for nothing. And it’s an amazing place to be.  

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