Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chapter Three: Darkness is Dark

Oh, that my grief were fully weighed,
And my calamity laid with it on the scales!
For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea-
Job 6:2-3

I tried to sing with the worship team on Sunday morning. I cried instead. I tried to listen to the sermon. I cried instead. I tried to laugh at the Superbowl commercials. I cried instead.

And I wished Ben, Jill, and Kelly would just leave the party. Why were they there anyway? Their pitying glances and silence were like salt in a raw wound, screaming "he doesn't want you anymore".

The whole thing was surreal, like I was watching the scene play out from another room. The darkness and grief enveloped my heart very much like a fog rolling in the San Francisco bay, hiding the beauty and leaving only nothingness. Nothingness. That's how it is. Grief so overwhelming, loss so deep, and darkness, only darkness. And all I could do was cry.

So I did. I cried on the way home. I cried in the shower. I cried when I crawled into bed. I cried in my dreams, and when I woke up I was still crying. I cried at my desk, open, vulnerable, exposed. I cried in my studio as I taught piano lessons. I cried at the grocery store. I cried at the bank. I cried at the gas station. Three days later, I found myself dehydrating, but still I cried. I couldn't stop.

Much of that first week is a blur. I remember bits and pieces, but only bits and pieces. Then came the next weekend. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, a conference at our sister church. Our worship team was leading worship for a couple of the services, so I was there. So was Zeke. And Ben, and Jill, and Kelly. After all, they were the best musicians we had, and the core of our team. It was everything I could do to stand on stage with them. My mouth moved as if I were singing, but my voice was gone, and I was left with just tears. More tears. Then on Saturday night, Zeke asked to talk to me. My heart felt a glimmer of hope as we sat in his car. Maybe he was done "processing". Maybe he realized that he had made a mistake. Maybe.....

I don't even remember what he said. He held my hand, and he cried, but then he left. Again.
I stumbled back into the sanctuary like a wounded soldier trying to make it back to base, and I collapsed in a chair next to Donna. And I cried some more.

The second week was not much better than the first. I cried less at work, "less" being the key word. But it was Valentine's Week. And this was supposed to be my first Valentine's day with my very own Valentine. I had waited my whole life for this. Zeke even promised that he would change my disgust for the holiday into a perfect celebration of love. Another broken promise. How many of those had he made? Why didn't I know that he was lying to me? Did he know he was lying to me? Surely he meant every word he said, didn't he? What was going on? Why was this happening? Who got to him? What got to him? Was he afraid? Did I do something? Did I say something? What changed? WHY?!?!?!?!? Oh, why?

More questions, less answers and more tears. God, I hate crying. God, I hate. God. Did He even care? Was He even there? Why didn't He warn me? Why didn't He say something, anything? Why didn't He just kill me instead? WHY?!?!?!?!

And the darkness deepened as I felt myself go lower, and lower, and lower. Was there an end? When would I hit the bottom? Would I ever hit the bottom? My faith was weakened, shattered even. The only place I could find comfort was in bed, hiding from the world of broken dreams that had surrounded me. I clung to my teddy bear as though he would leave me too if I didn't hang on. I was alone. Alone.

Next...Chapter Four: Not Bent, Broken

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chapter Two: Emoticons and Devastation

I arrived home on a Sunday night. Zeke picked me up from the airport, and by all appearances, we were right back to where we were. Happy, in love, ready to spend forever together. After a couple hours, he took me home.

The next night, our "band" met at Flying Star, one of the coolest little restaurants in Albuquerque, and our traditional meeting place. On the agenda was our upcoming ministry trip to Phoenix as well as our other gigs, a youth conference in March, recording studio dates, etc. I swung by Zeke's house to pick him up, so that we could snag a few "alone" minutes together before the meeting. On the way to the meeting, we talked about our future, and even the possibility of branching out from the group to start our own ministry. We were laughing, especially when I suggested that we should call our group "M&M", reflective of my pet name for him, my "Moshe Mexicano", my Mexican Moses. I had all sorts of ideas with what we could do with that, from having M&Ms in the lobby to designs for our decal, etc. It was a fun ride to the Star, but as we were pulling up, there was a dampening of the mood. Zeke indicated that Ben was going to say some things that I might not like, but wouldn't really tell me what was going on.

The atmosphere was ominous when I walked in. After going through line and getting my favorite Chicken Salad and Iced Tea, I sat down in the booth. Ben and Jill were across from me, Kelly to my right, and Zeke had pulled up a chair to the end of the table and was on my left.
Ben proceeded to tell me that he didn't want to go to Phoenix, and felt that we weren't "ready". He launched into a spiel about more practice, not knowing the people, yada, yada, yada, but I couldn't really hear any of what he was saying. I had planned that trip, by myself, at his request. Some of my best friends lived in Phoenix, my home. My Pastors out there, trusting me, had opened their doors and scheduled a couple of special services for us, after much discussion, and now Ben just decided he didn't want to go?

Because the rest of the group was all family, and he was the oldest, most of the decisions that were made were made by Ben, and the rest of the group followed along. I asked if Zeke and I could go by ourselves, as representatives. It made sense to me, seeing as I wanted my Phoenix family to meet the man I was planning to marry. Also, it fed right into our earlier discussions about branching out into our own ministry. Ben, however, would have no part of it. He became irate at the idea of Zeke and I traveling 6 hours alone together, and then started into a completely unrelated conversation about how he did not want Zeke and I spending any alone time together, because it didn't "look good" for the group. While I understand that when in ministry it is important to watch perceptions, I was floored by the idea that they didn't trust us, and that they were trying to dictate what we could and couldn't do. Looking back, I should have taken this as a complete sign of many family issues, but at the time I was so in love, that I was blinded to much of the obvious.

It was a very quiet ride as Zeke and I made our way back to his home. Very little was mentioned, and our goodnight was brief. I left knowing in my heart of hearts that something was brewing. If I remember correctly, I even called my friend, Donna, and said "something's not right". Little did I know just how big the storm was that was heading my way.

Two nights later, Wednesday, I finished work and headed straight to church. Our Pastor was teaching a Bible Study class called "Emmaus Road", which is the story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. I had taken the class the previous semester, but it was Zeke's first time through it, and Ben and Jill were also taking the class, and it was so good and soooooooooooo full of good stuff, that I wanted to take it again. So there I was. I found Zeke, Ben, Jill and Kelly all seated in the front row, and I plopped down right next to Zeke. His reception was cold, and he was aloof. Throughout the class I would try to write him little notes, or smile at him and he wouldn't even look at me. My heart started sinking, and my mind raced trying to figure out what was wrong. After class, Zeke walked me to my vehicle, and I tried to talk to him. He just started crying and asked me, "What if we can't be together?" Startled, I asked him what he meant. He just shrugged and said that he really wanted to be with me forever. I held him as he sobbed on my shoulder, and I assured him that we would always be together, and after a long embrace we parted ways. That would the be last night I would see him as my boyfriend.

Due to conflicting schedules, we weren't able to see each other until Sunday, at a Superbowl party hosted by Donna and Russ. The whole group was supposed to be there, mostly for the original Kansas City Barbeque and Commercials because no one really cared about the game.
But late Saturday night, as I was cuddled up to my computer, I received an instant message from Zeke. I don't remember how the whole conversation went, but sometime in the middle of it, he said, "I can't be your boyfriend anymore, just your best friend."

"What the H&*#$&(*# does that mean?", my heart screamed. Zeke said something along the lines of "I need to work some things out with God", and that "I really want to be with you, but..", and "This doesn't have to be permanent," but "you can see other people". And that was it. He was gone, and I was left with more questions than answers and more tears than I knew I could cry. My heart shattered in pieces and darkness settled in, and the hurricane of broken dreams swept me away.

Stayed tuned for Chapter Three: Darkness is Dark

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chapter One: Love at First Sight

The day I had waited for my whole life was finally here. You know, the one you dream about when you're a little girl when your prince charming comes riding in to save you from a life of loneliness? After 26 long years of wondering what was wrong with or why I couldn't be married and all the stigmas that go with a young single woman, I had finally met the man of my dreams. We'll call him Zeke (an alias to shield his identity).

It was long in coming. I survived "Bridal College" (you know Bible schools where girls are more concerned with snagging a Christian man rather than getting a quality education) without as much as a single date. I survived a ministry position during which my title was Rev. Christi, our "single worship director". I had many crushes, and wanted to date several people, but never did. I tried, believe me, I tried. I would start down the dating road, only to be detoured by a gracious and wonderful Father. But finally, after many tears and questions, and conversations with Abba, I had a boyfriend.

I first met Zeke's brother and sister-in-law (We'll call them Ben and Jill). Ben, Jill and I were all on the worship team at our church, and they were very, very talented musicians and worshipers. Then one day, they approached me to be join their efforts to start a worship band. Ben played a mean bass and guitar, Jill was an amazing vocalist, I would play keys, Zeke would be our drummer, and their sister Kelly would join as another vocalist. We began with many dreams and visions and were off to a great start, with a few original songs in the studio, a couple events scheduled, and relationships developing. Relationships including mine with Zeke.

We hit it off immediately. Not only is he an outstanding drummer, like none I've seen or heard before or since, but he is an amazing graphic artist. Handsome, funny, and open, we fell very much in love very quickly. We had so much in common, from music, to the Lord, to our dreams for the future. Every waking moment was spent together or with his family, and it was not long before we started talking marriage. In fact, we had set a tentative date, pending his discussion with my father, and he was looking for rings. His parents were talking about the wedding and plans were underway for us to start looking for houses. I was living my dream. Not only was I in love with an amazing man who loved me, but I was finally getting a chance to move into worship ministry, my passion and gifting. Life was great.

Then I took a brief vacation. A friend was getting married, and I was performing the ceremony, so I jetted back to Tulsa for the festivities. Even when I was gone, we spent every extra minute on the phone, and all my friends were laughing at how giddy I was. I was absolutely glowing as I told of my own wedding to come. My heart was finally at rest in the love of my boyfriend, my love, Zeke. But all of that would change when I returned home, and within a week all of it came to a sudden halt.

Stay tuned for Chapter Two: Emoticons and Devastation

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Breaking Up isn't as Glamorous on Main St

I had a dream. It wasn't just any dream, but the kind that woke me up from a dead sleep with my mind racing and my heart pounding and a revelation that there was another layer of pain that God was peeling from a very broken heart.

It was just about 3 years ago when my whole world crashed at my feet, and my heart shattered and everything that I thought I knew about life, love, God and my destiny became a bottomless pit of emptiness and questions without answers.

So here's my story. Because it's so long, and because I really want people to read my blog more than just once (hahaha), I'll be breaking it up into "chapters". I tell it, not for revenge or sympathy, but because I know that writing it is part of the healing that God is working on, and that by talking about it, I can process it. I've decided not to spare any details, but to be completely honest about everything, my part, his part, God's part. I will use an alias for the ex, because this is not about him, but about God's faithfulness and amazing love and grace and His healing power that sets a heart free and mends the broken places.

It is my sincere hope that God will wrap His love around your hearts and minister to you as only He can, and that you will find "Beauty from Pain".

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed."
~Psalm 34:18

***as a note to those who know me and thought that my last post was about my marriage, there is nothing to worry about...I am still very happily married and blessed with the most amazing husband ever (a later chapter in the story) and he is completely supportive of me writing this story****

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beauty from Pain

The lights go out all around me
On last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I'm alive but I feel like I've died

And all that's left is to accept that it's over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I'm slipping away

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today, someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from pain.

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I wonder why God lets me walk through this place

And though I can't understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how You've brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

Here I am, at the end of me
Trying to hold to what I can't see
I forgot how to hope
This night's been so long
I cling to your promise, there will be a dawn....

(C) 2005 DJ Spacemonkey Music - Superchick from the album "Beauty From Pain"

stay tuned for..."Breaking up isn't as glamorous on Main St"