By Carolyn Shields, sitting in a very warm apartment
Two of my friends got engaged this past week, a childhood friend and one from college, but both play a prevalent role in my life. And I remain as available as the Milkyway next to the cashier. But it most defiantly was not these two joyful events that has my heart twisted many times over, but two sad, little dreams. The kind that are eerily symbolic. Walking through his grandparent's apartment, and calling out, "Nana? Poppy?" and no one answers. And the other one--my giant map of the world which hangs on my wall, with various color coded pins, and one by one these pins fall to the ground, erasing everywhere I've been and dream of going.
Nightmares always creep up unfairly in the early morning when we think all is safe, tucked under layers of covers and our roommate sleeping peacefully beside us after a late night with her new boyfriend, and then suddenly we jump awake, praying to God that these dreams were really only in our minds, and then crying at Him, "That was a low blow. Was that really necessary, Lord?"
Or at least I do.
Recovering from a breakup is brutal, but recovering from an emotional tear is as well. I'm not going to preach on emotional chastity, and to be honest, for the longest time I thought emotional chastity was over-rated. Taylor Swift? Get off her back. Yeah she may have emotional issues or whatever, but her music is great.
But looking back to my college career, there were so, so many times when I suffered through a break-up when the guy and I were never even dating. Why? Because I invested so much hope in to a possible relationship, I revealed my heart to him, became best friends with him, loved the hell out of him from a distance, and thrived on hearing those four precious words from girlfriends: "I ship you two." So when these guys took another girl on a date, my heart broke as if he returned it to me.
You want him. But you don't necessarily need him, so please repeat that to yourself over and over until you believe it. Because we can't become slaves to our racing hearts, we can't become products of demolished dreams.
Womenfolk, he is not your remedy. Ladies, he is not yours.
Even if the two of you are dating, please keep that at the forefront of your mind. When we date someone, we gift ourselves to the other, and you are another's as long as you give. The difference between dating and marriage is that one requires an everlasting vow. After my first breakup, the hardest words that fell from my big brother's lips were, "Let him go."
Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.