As I take a breath and place my hands on the keyboard, I am relieved that I have a safe place to speak up. This year I have endured, hoped for and hoped in many things. I finally got the chance to look forward and not backwards. Then suddenly yesterday something in my past came up. My ex-boyfriend published a book telling his story. Now while I’m glad that he has healed to the place of speaking up, I can’t help but notice the grip of shame around my neck that is stopping the air from filling my lungs. Although, I am glad for his accomplishment I was also battling feelings of shame. The audacity right! It has been at least 12 years since this major life change. And although I was warned in a dream by my creator to ask him to confront the feelings that he had longed suppressed, I was devastated that after his freedom; I was now in a bondage of my own. Who am I to take the blessing of love and turn into a burden of shame? Afterall, God made the choice to rewrite the worlds story for freedom and liberty and embed the gift of love that we can all enjoy.
As I scrolled down Instagram, I saw his face and the cover of his book and thought oh no! Here we go again. I felt the need to hide. I felt the need to guard my heart again. I felt the need to disappear from social media. I discovered that I felt the need to make sure that no one would be able to contact me. All the memories came rushing back of me holding my side of the story so that he could be free. The truth is, isn’t that a part of Love. During that time in my life, I grew up to understand that Love allows. I was reminded that I wasn’t to blame for his freedom nor his choice. Nor am I to blame for loving him into the most truthful years of his life. I thought that the black church would blame me and the severance of our relationship for him being gay. I thought that I didn’t love him right or long enough, or well enough to keep him from choosing the same sex. I thought that I would have to answer to the ignorance of people in order to be able to lift my hands in worship settings. I thought that I would have to cringe for the rest of my life in fear of being questioned.
The truth is, I was included in the story, but his story is not about me. In the same way, my story includes him, but it’s not about him. I can relax in knowing that those years of my life doesn’t devalue who I am as a person, the years validate who I genuinely am. As I smile, I am grateful. See I have a mantra that I live by: Love leads in-spite of, regardless of, in and out of all things. I did that. It didn’t’ matter that he didn’t choose me in the end. God knows where I would have been if we would have gone along with our plan of marriage and children only to discover years later that the life, we planned wasn’t the life he was meant to live at all.
In this moment, I can reconcile again that I have survived the burden of being savior, and I can enjoy the gift of being a partner of a God who trust me to love to like Him. What is Love? It’s a gift given to all mankind by the greatest lover of all. How is love shown? Without obligation, but with choice filled with accountability while at the same time free of responsibility of the recipient’s capacity to accept and even respond.
I take back this moment of recollection and inhale the freedom granted for me to not only forgive, but the liberty for me to stand in strength. I am not ashamed. I have not been labeled. I am not responsible for the choices made in the past. But I am responsible for the healing needed to tell my story with compassion and conviction. I know that pain changes perspective. In this moment, and any moment that will re-appear in the future, I am rescued by the power of Love to be who I am destined to be.
I have survived memories before. I have survived this one. And when I can’t seem to find my way through future emotional breakdowns, I can recall how I survived… And survive again.