I wrote about synchronistic encounters in my previous post and want to continue that thought here.
I believe everything happens for a reason, even if one can’t see the reason in that moment. The encounter of this book, “Love” by Leo Buscaglia, was synchronistic in more ways than one, addressing so many of the personal issues I’ve struggled with for so long. It spoke to me, cheered for me, and reassured me on my path. It was a perfect nudge of support to navigate another interesting synchronistic encounter, this time, with a long-lost friend.
Last year on my birthday, I gave myself permission to cleanse, let loose on paper the occasional and obnoxious tinge of shame from my past. As I revisited those words today, they are clearly strung with anger and resentment. I only note this to share that I was still struggling with my past then, even after 10 long years.
This New Year started with a surprising message from this long-lost friend through Facebook. She was offering her forgiveness for my unforgivable act of betrayal over 10 years ago (yes, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, betrayed her trust, and lost a friend but over many years, I had learned to forgive and love myself again, as well as grieve and adapt to the loss of that friendship). She added in the message that she was moving back and thought it would be fun to reconnect with our daughters.
As much as I was happy to hear from her and the possible reconnection, I was a little thrown off. More than a little, actually. With close to 10 years of silence, I wasn’t confident we could repair the damage of the long separation. And out of the blue, completely on her terms, she was ready to let it go, offer her forgiveness, and see me again.
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond and I wrestled with all the possibilities, but I couldn’t disregard this nagging gut feeling. Something wasn’t sitting right with me. Something felt off. Maybe it was her message, her string of words, there was a hint of something I can’t quite name. Maybe carelessness. I’ve always had a sharp intuition, but my trouble has always been listening to it and trusting it. This time, thanks to Buscaglia and other synchronistic reads and thoughts, I convinced myself that the only way to reply was to be honest, to be me. So I did.
Though I welcomed the opportunity to reconnect, I also honestly shared my reservations. She replied with hints of surprise and annoyance. She couldn’t understand my reservations and found my response to be negative and off-putting. I replied with calm and truth. I clarified I was only being realistic. I wasn’t interested in hanging out without ever acknowledging and coming to terms with our shared past. Knowing myself, I knew I couldn’t forever ignore the “elephant in the room,” my betrayal over 10 years ago and the long separation thereafter. If it needed to be addressed, better sooner than later. I didn’t want to waste any of my limited time and energy only to find out later that our definition of “reconnection” were incompatible. She termed this “drama and negativity,” yet I saw it as a necessary, positive, challenging opportunity to learn and grow.
I don’t quite know what she was expecting but I noted that if she couldn’t understand my reservations, maybe it would be best to keep things as they were.
In the end, she ended our brief reunion with, “Have a nice life.”
I will and I am. I have a nice life, an extremely nice one, growing in love, a happiest trip of my life.
“There’s value in the past. After all, it brought you to where you are.” – from “Love” by Leo Buscaglia.
Ironic but I’m grateful now for the painful past because it brought me here, to where and who I am now. Thank you for the lessons, the opportunities to choose a better path, a better version of me, to get closer and arrive here, particularly this last exchange.
I am most proud to have stayed true to who I am, stayed true to my path of truth, authenticity, and vulnerability. I didn’t give in to the trap of labels, expectations, or rationalizations. I trusted, I stood up, and I spoke up.
I am empowered to break the chains of labels and stereotypes from my young adulthood, to make peace with the shame and guilt of my past, and live and love this moment.
I will end with another powerful quote by Buscaglia: “If one wishes to know love, one must live love, in action. To think or read about love or carry on profound discourses on love is all very well, but in the last analysis, will offer few if any real answers. Thoughts, readings and discourses on love are of value only as they present questions to be acted upon. One will learn love only with fresh insight, with each new bit of knowledge, which he acts out, and which is reacted to, or his knowledge is valueless. As Rilke states so accurately, he must simply “love along someday into the answer.” One, in other words, lives the questions. But in order to live the questions, it is logical that one will have to pose them.”