This is the hardest lesson. Sometimes we put people on pedestals, we sort them into boxes, we write them into roles where they’re perfect and wonderful and always say the right thing and know how to love us, even when we’re broken.
But the truth is, people are flawed. The truth is, we can love with all we have and it still might not be enough. The truth is, we’ll give our hearts to people, hold them out in our palms and say here, ‘take this,’ and they might nod their head, put our heart in their pocket, and run wildly in the opposite direction.
But this isn’t a reflection of who we are. This doesn’t mean we’re any less, or unlovable. It means that we’re imperfect people trying to love perfectly, and life doesn’t work like that.
Sometimes we kiss lips that aren’t right for us. Sometimes we fall into relationships with souls vastly different than our own. Sometimes we try to convince ourselves that we’re happy when we’re not. Sometimes we try to make love blossom out of connection, or try to control emotions that are not ours to own.
Sometimes we think we can elevate people, put them on pedestals. Sometimes we think we can make them stay. But we can’t. Because we can’t make people feel, we can’t make them love, we can’t change their heart just by giving them ours.
And that’s why I can’t hate you for leaving.
I can’t hate you for walking away from something you no longer believed in, even though I tried, so desperately, to show you we were worth your trust. I can’t hate you for letting go of what you no longer felt because despite my pleas, there was no convincing you to love me.
And I shouldn’t have to.
I can’t blame you for leaving because there was something greater out there, some bigger lesson or purpose, some other hands that would teach you more than I could about love and forgiveness. Or maybe I was your lesson, one you could only learn in moving on from what we had.
I can’t hate you for leaving because life is too short to hold onto things and people that don’t fill our hearts with happiness and purpose.
And I guess I wasn’t those things for you. Or maybe you were just scared. But what I learned in you walking away was the value of my own voice, was the strength in my own skin, was the steady beat of my heart, even after being broken.
And it was because of you leaving that I found who I really was.
We learn that young, don’t we? Broken relationships all around us, imperfect love in the bodies of those we grow up with, in the people we admire, in the words and actions of other sinners just like us. We try to make love flawless. We try to keep people, hold them to high standards, put them into boxes and understand them, even when we hardly understand ourselves.
But sometimes love doesn’t fit right. Sometimes two people are not meant to fall into rhythm, to connect and step forward with synchronized heartbeats. Sometimes two people fall out of love, want different things, let one another go.
You and I were those people, and I can’t blame you for that.
You taught me that love doesn’t mean we have all the answers; it doesn’t mean we are suddenly whole forever and all our jagged pieces make sense.
But even in all the ways we will be let down, disappointed, and left, we learn who we are. We realize love is worth it, always worth it, even as we stumble around with broken hearts.
We discover that our pain is a part of the journey, and we dust off, we move on, we let go, we watch people walk away and nod our heads in understanding. We start over, we begin again, we learn to love again.
And I will learn to love again, even after you.