If God brought you perfect people, how would you ever learn to spiritually evolve?
Shannon L. Alder
More than a quarter century ago, I took the first step of an infinitely long journey. What I naively thought would take perhaps a couple of years to get my act together quickly turned into almost three decades…and I’m still discovering endless roads untraveled. Through it all, I’ve frequently begged the universe, “Please, can I fall back to sleep…just for one day?” For it seems, the more lessons I unravel, the more lessons appear. Some are fascinating. Others frustrating. More often than not, I’m forced to look at the circumstances around me as they are, not as I want them to be.
Step by step, moment by moment, I’ve grown stronger. Wiser. More capable. Through each crisis, each creative endeavor, I learn more about who and what I truly am beyond what the outer world can see. And yet, lately I’ve been reminded that life isn’t about walking unaccompanied in this world. It’s about being in relationship with people who allow me to grow beyond the limits of who I am alone.
In my early forties, someone told me, “Kate, we’re all wounded in relationships, so the only way to heal is in relationships…but not always with the people who wound us.”
I took that to heart and have explored a host of friendships that have healed my past experiences with men and women, both professionally and personally. My circle of surrogate sisters is wide and wonderful, and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to see myself as a whole and healthy. A bountiful band of brothers-by-proxy keeps me balanced and broad in my perspectives. And now I have a relationship with someone who knows me better than anyone has, someone with whom I’ve revealed the most tender, broken places that I thought had long been put to rest.
It’s not been easy, this heart-opening unfolding that reveals both light and dark, joy in the present moment and unexpressed grief from the past. We’ve all been wounded and it’s in our closest relationships that we often tear open scars that have long-been healed over. No one’s perfect…and that certainly includes me, but my significant other often reminds me, “Kate, you can do no wrong.”
At first I couldn’t believe him. Having made the same mistakes over and over again, there was little left inside of me that truly thought any part of me could ever be flawless. But last week he explained it more clearly: “If you try something and it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, I know you’ll go back and do something different.”
Even though I still need reminding now and then, it’s a blessing to have someone clearly appreciate that I’m doing the best I can.
This time last year, I was facing a lion’s share of lessons I thought I’d long mastered. But I guess the Universe had other ideas. A dangling carrot came from the literary world simultaneous to being enticed into a budding relationship with someone who only wanted me for one thing…not that I gave it to Trey in the first place. In the past I would have been devastated by the swift rejection of an agent or the stifling silence of a would-be boyfriend. But not that time around. Sure, it took me a while to get over my anger toward Trey, and I learned exactly what I was worth. I spun the story around in my head and my circle of friends until it was a tightly woven web of encouragement to take a pass on what I thought was good for something even better.
Through most of it, a budding friendship with my sweetheart was taking place, not that I had any inkling of what the future would eventually bring. At the time, he was a wonderful sounding board, a support, a kindred spirit, often reminding me, “It’s not about Trey…it’s about you.”
Truer words were never spoken.
So when he and I recently went through a difficult period, I was able to clearly acknowledge and say why I was hurt, then ask myself, What part are you playing in this?
The answer didn’t surprise me at all, for I was quickly reminded that healing can often take a lifetime. Things that came up between my boyfriend and me were triggers for some unresolved emotions that lay in wait, unable to surface until I was in a relationship with someone I love deeply. My sweetheart was afraid we’d have to start back at square one, but in the end, we were both able to practice empathy, to communicate clearly, to bridge back to each other, coming full circle, yet even better than where we were when we first met.
Now we’re at square ten…a new beginning with a little more life experience under our belts. Not perfect, but perfect for each other. For me, that’s the essence of opening my heart to real love.
It’s a blessing to look back on where I was last year and recognize that while I may be destined to live the same lessons over and over again, with patience and faith, with each turn around the spiral of my personal progress, I’ll be met with grace, peace, and eventually the key to taking the next step in my perfectly imperfect evolution.