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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Pedestal

For some reason, I've been thinking about the past a lot lately. I'm sure we all have some things that we would change if we could. Maybe its saying what was left unsaid, or reconfiguring a course of events, or maybe taking back something that you said that was hurtful. In my case, I've realized that I've placed a select number of people in my life up on a pedestal. Nothing but pain can come from that.

I'm thinking specifically of a guy that, for all intents and purposes, used to be my world. From the time I was eight years old (to his 15) I thought he hung the moon. He is one of the four men in my life that I believe had a direct hand into making me who I am today. For years after our first meeting, I thought about him - not really knowing much more about him other then the week we had together at a vacation bible school.

It wasn't until I was 15 that we got back in touch. He came back into my life at a time when I was dating someone that really wasn't good for me. He wanted to protect me and I think it was a huge ego boost for him, when I pulled out the lone picture I had of us together, when I was eight. From that point on, we were almost inseparably close. He was there for my sweet 16, I was there when he joined the Marines, and ultimately he was the first one I called when I had the news that I was engaged. I didn't even have to tell him - he knew.

The problem was, I spent YEARS praying and hoping and wishing that someday he would see me as more then that little eight year old girl. Myself, along with his grandmother, were the two people that he could count on receiving mail from when he was stationed elsewhere, nearly every week. Ugh! The novels I would write to him - I think I would be embarrassed to read them now - but I always tried to be so encouraging of him. I even told him, when I was 18, how I felt about him; but nothing ever changed on his end.

My place in his life seemed to be that of the cheerleader and admirer. It wasn't until last year, when I tried to contact him via snail mail, that I realized that I was probably just a blip on his life radar. See, the thing is, he never responded. We were close for over 10 years and he couldn't even acknowledge my letter. I felt like someone punched me in my gut. I wasn't so naive that I thought we could pick up where we left off in our friendship; but I did expect him to have the courtesy to let me know that he received my letter in some way.

I knew he was married - I am too. I wasn't looking for a romantic connection. I have a son, I have no idea if he has children or not; but I hope he does - he would make a great father. What I wanted was that connection to my past. It was something I desperately needed when my father passed away. I needed to connect to the people that I felt knew the real me and loved me anyway. Who knows, maybe I hurt him along the way, not realizing it. Maybe his wife is the jealous sort. I really don't know; but I can tell you that I felt the strongest sense of rejection that I think I've ever felt in my life.

This is what I mean by The Pedestal. There are people in our life, that knowingly or not, we give power over our emotions to. When they do not react how we thought they would or when they don't react at all, it hurts us. We hold them in such high esteem, that when they actually do fall short of our expectations, we don't know what to do with that information. The lesson I learned is that he is human. It really put things in perspective for me.

I've learned over the last 3 years, going through the pain of watching my father deal with his cancer, and later burying the only man in my life that still held my hand; there really are people who are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I found out who my true friends were during that stressful time and its something that I will never take for granted. It was eye-opening though, to find out how few friends I had. I think that is how life is though. When we are in high school we surround ourselves with groups to belong to. As we get older, some of those people might drift away and new people might come into your life.

My father always said that if I had one true friend, I was blessed. Well I now realize how true that really is and I'm all the more thankful that I have more then one true friend. I don't have to rely on the past, I have all I need in the here and now.

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