I have had quite a few cliches running through my mind this week. Even the title of this post, Closure, seems cliche. Here's the one I want to talk about:
It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
I think whether this is true or not depends on the situation and the person. This could refer to a romantic relationship, a friendship lost, the loss of a child or other loved one....basically it's referring to pain and justifying that pain by saying that it was better to have had the good times and gone through the pain than to have never had the good times.
Yesterday, I was finally given closure to something that happened 6 years ago. Wow. Six years! The first thought I had after receiving closure was, "Whoa. I wasted my early twenties."
At first I didn't want to have the big fat closure conversation. Six years later, what's the point? I had worked through things, moved on, found out who I really was/am and have been enjoying life. But, wisdom struck me in that moment of opportunity to ask the one big question I had looming over me since I was 20. So I asked it. I didn't care if the answer was what I expected or if it was torturous, I just wanted to know for sure what the truth was. The funny thing is, the truth was what I had already figured out and assumed. The crazy part was, it's true what "they" say about closure. When the person who caused the pain or who you associate the pain with validates what you knew to be true, it's freeing. I don't think that's what they say, exactly, but that's the jist of it.
For a few years I felt like I was in a dark cell. In fact I look at pictures of myself of me during that time and it's shocking that there was really no life behind my face. In most of the pictures I don't even remember where I was or what I was doing or that a photo (a posed photo at that) had even been taken. Then, I started making little decisions, painful decisions, here and there to help me break free from that prison in my mind. Over time, I liked myself and stopped defining myself by whether a particular person still loved me or if they ever had. Typing this I am now really ashamed of the state I was in, but I also realize it was a defining time in my life and launched me into who I am today. Once I felt pretty well healed and started living a healthy, purposeful, God focused life again, I felt free and confident. So this is why I didn't feel I needed the closure at 26 1/2 years old. I was over it.
I asked the big question. I received the big answer. Then, I realized that I was feeling something extraordinary....real freedom. I may have left that hypothetical cell, left the prison yard, left the halfway house, made baby steps back into normal life, but I was still wearing a tracking anklet. Just when something good would happen, I'd see it, stuck to me and holding me back. It kept me looking at the past and away from potentially good relationships. It was the left over insecurities that I couldn't break free from logically, emotionally or spiritually. Suddenly, the anklet was unlocked. There was a wound there from years of wearing it but the wound itself started to heal immediately. I could feel it closing over, maybe only leaving a little scar as a reminder of the journey, but closing over nonetheless. While I healed, I mourned, not for the person I once loved but for the me that I lost trying to love that person.
Back to the cliche and my personal situation? Something he said struck me and furthered my healing. He said,
"If I had a choice to have never met you I would choose to know you. I think we both are better off for having known each other."
Initially I thought it was touching but I immediately realized I didn't feel the same way. If I had to do it all over again I would choose to have never had that relationship, to have never dated, never gotten engaged....none of it. It's not that the relationship was bad or he was bad. The relationship itself, no matter how spectacular at times, didn't justify the wreckage of the aftermath. For me, in this situation it was not better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Realizing that, and not having an emotional attachment to his response was the most freeing aspect of the whole conversation!
I am thankful for who I am and for the people I have chosen to have in my life and for those who have chosen me. I am so thankful for closure and for perfect timing.
Moving on. . .for real this time!