until it Ends.

“I found it incredibly annoying…I mean, you have to be your own person, right?
It made zero sense to me…until my relationship ended.
We only dated for a couple of months (long enough for me to realize that we weren’t “meant to be”) but we’d been really close friends before dating and so breaking up took a toll on my life as a whole. I felt like I’d not only lost a person who cared about me and wanted to be with me, but also my best friend. It was heart-wrenching.” – Morgan @ follow and believe

until it endsThere was something in those words Morgan wrote that stopped me dead in my tracks. Can’t we all relate? I know (and you know, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough) that when we find ourselves in a relationship that we think is “The One” it is easy to start building a life with that person. Heck, isn’t that what the goal of any relationship is: to journey towards marriage, and ultimately heaven, together? No wonder that heart-wrenching, side-splitting pain sets in when that relationship ends. It feels like a death, and in many ways it is. Your relationship is changing, you’ve lost a best friend, a life you’d probably dreamed of together, and all the plans you’d made and hoped for along the way.

I get it. I’ve been there.

I’ve been there so much that sometimes I’m absolutely, unabashedly terrified of it happening again. The fear is crippling. I don’t want to build a life with someone. I could be dating the most amazing man in the world, and yet I’m still scared to build that life with him. I’m scared to share our friends, to blend our circles, to meet his family, to let him meet my family. I’m scared to let him be my best friend because I don’t want to have to break in yet another best friend if and when it ends. I’m scared to hope for a future with him, to dare to dream about our wedding day or what our kids might look like. Heck, I’m scared to make plans even a few months in advance because this fear of it ending (and all the memories of how painful it was when past relationships ended) is so gosh darn crippling. It is downright paralyzing.

But, at the same time, I’m afraid that my fear of it all ending will actually lead to the end. Call it the Oedipal complex of relationships if you will. I’m afraid of letting someone in, so much so that I’m scared to move. I’m scared of watching them walk away, only to have all of my worst fears become my reality. So what are we to do when the fear of the end seeks to overwhelm us? How do we overcome that fear, let someone in, and still guard our hearts just in case that end does come? We live like the end will come.

I know, that sounds wildly depressing. But here’s the reality: that end will come. Whether the relationship ends in a break-up or you get married and one of you dies one day, the relationship will end. What do we do when we know something will end? We soak it up all the more. Like a beautiful sunset that captivates our senses, we stop what we are doing and take it in. Like a vacation that we know will end, we seek to enjoy every moment of it that we can. Like a time in prayer that moves our very souls, we draw close to the source of the goodness, appreciate each precious moment that comes our way, and hold fast to the beauty that lays before us. We hope that the sunset will never end, that our favorite song can stay on repeat forever, that this time of deep prayer would never leave us, and that this great love will last forever. Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. All we can do is enjoy each experience, each moment, learn from it, and hope for the best, trusting that even if we don’t get what we think it best for us, we will always get what God knows is best.

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