Monday, April 29, 2013

Three Years and Love with Limits

They say that when you break up with someone, it takes half as long as you were together to fully get over them. Three years ago today, I broke up with my high school sweetheart, my best friend of seven years, my would-be husband. Technically, if you believe what "they" say, I should need another half a year to fully get over that relationship.

I believed then, and still do fully, that breaking up was the best thing to do. I also still regard it as the hardest decision I've ever had to make. But I'm still feeling the ripple effects of that decision today. Three years later, I can still remember exactly how I felt on the phone that night. I can also remember how I felt the three months leading up to that night. And I can remember how I felt six months prior - before any of the doubt, fear and anxiety set in.

One of the three mini-sermons at church yesterday was on limited love. Love with limits. Our love for another person will always have limits. We can never provide every bit of love that another needs. It just isn't possible. The only place to find true love with no limits is through God. God loves his children unconditionally, flawlessly, without fail and without end. Our human love is the opposite- conditional, flawed, failing and ending.

I saw the relationship that I thought would last my whole life disintegrate. The relationship I thought would have no end, ended by my own words. I read a quote once that said something about how you never really forget your first love, a part of you will always be with that person. After three years, I can say that's absolutely true. Don't get me wrong - it's not like I am comparing new relationships to that one, but it's still always with me. That relationship, and even more so - the ending of that relationship, taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined.

Together, we survived the ups and downs of friendships, the death of family members, divorce and marriage of parents, legal issues and changing majors. I would not be the person I am today if it weren't for that relationship. But it has been three years since we broke up. Two years since we exchanged words. He's been with other women, I've been with other men. I am not the same person I was three years ago, or two years ago. I am no longer held to that relationship the way I was for so long. People have stopped asking how he is, if I've heard from him. We are separate people now.

A part of me will always be with him, and I believe the same of him with me. I learned three years ago that love has limits, and I have not been the same since. 

This year, I learned what God's limitless love feels like, and I have not been the same since. Wherever I go, whatever I do, whoever I am, however I feel, God will love me.