This morning, right after I woke up and as I lay staring at the ceiling, I had a very familiar feeling. I suddenly knew that I needed to break up.
When I was engaged to the wrong guy (let’s call him, oh, Tyler), I spent an agonizing period of time Trying To Decide What To Do. Each morning I would wake up (a time I’ve learned from experience since then that is when I am most in tune with my own heart and with the Spirit—-which often feel like the same thing) and feel SICK (and we’re talking literally sick, as in drinking pepto bismol sick) about marrying the guy, claustrophobic, stuck, depressed, etc. Then, as the day wore on I would talk myself back into it. Hanging around with him would feel good, and I would grow more interested in the idea of being married to him and by bedtime I would have brainwashed myself again.
For a while I convinced myself that it was just the stress of finals. Or maybe some sort of stomach bug. I actually saw a doctor. Also, I was drinking Coke all day (which I DETEST but which I use to calm my stomach) and pepto bismol. Anything rather than face the fact that I didn’t want to marry the guy.
One of the problems was that I was convinced that Tyler was my One Chance because he was a righteous guy. How could I pass on him and expect God to provide me with another opportunity?
At one point I took a long walk and imagined myself talking to God about it. God said, “What’s up, Darlene?” I said, “I want to serve you. Shouldn’t I marry this guy in order to serve you?” God said, “Darlene, you’ll serve me no matter whom you marry. I want you to pick someone that makes you happy.”
Wow. God wanted me to be HAPPY in my marriage? Was it OK to pass on this guy just because I wasn’t happy?
Finally, after lots of agonizing vacillating, a few blessings, many early mornings of clarity and late evenings of vast confusion, I/we managed to call the thing off.
The night after I gave the ring back was the first night I really slept in months. And when I woke up, I felt such peace, such renewed interest in the future, such clarity and energy.
And then Tyler called and said he’d changed his mind, that he wanted us to stay engaged while just postponing the date “until we could figure out what’s wrong,” which is what I had proposed the night before (not having the guts to break it off completely). But, it was still morning. And I still felt that priceless peace. So I said, “Last night was the first night I’ve slept. I can’t put that ring back on.” And that (after a stupid trying-to-still-hang-out-together period that, of course, didn’t work) was that.
OK, so this morning I woke up, as I said, and felt that same feeling. The knowing I had to call it off and the knowing it would be OK. Not just OK—that it would bring me peace, renewed hope in the future, renewed energy. That there was something else, something better out there for me and that God would lead me to it if I would just get out of this current wrong relationship.
I’m talking, of course, about abandoning my novel.
I have been dragging out this relationship too long. I have spent too many mornings fantasizing about life without it, and too many days trying to make it work, and too many nights feeling like maybe I could make it work, if I really tried. As with my broken engagement, I am coming to believe that deciding that this novel is not right for me doesn’t mean I am giving up on novel-writing in general. It doesn’t mean I am not a writer. It is gesture of hope and faith that God not only wants me to get married/be a writer, but that he wants me to actually be happy with the person/book I choose. And hope/faith that he will lead me to the right thing, at some point.
So, I guess I need to be careful now not to get too involved in a rebound romance. Instead, I’ll focus on my duty for a while (all those writing projects I’ve been putting off finishing, the edited poem I owe Irreantum, the essay I owe Segullah, the play I was toying with for the New Play Project, maybe some Friend articles to build back up my writing account, the picture book the agent asked me to revise) and trust God that the right novel (the one that’s righteous AND makes me happy, that fulfills me and brings me joy) will come along some day.
Goodbye, my love. I wish you the best.