I never thought that I'd be widowed at 27. I never thought that anyone would ever call me a "people person". I never thought that I was beautiful. I never thought I'd EVER be labeled an extrovert on Myers Briggs. I never thought that my heart would break so often for others... for strangers. I never thought that I'd love or be loved so lavishly. I never thought I'd experience raging passion or joy. I never thought that life could be so vibrant, exciting, or beautiful. I thought that things that take your breath away only existed in fairy tales or movies. I never thought that I would actually experience any of it.
There were so very many things I'd never thought I'd be, I'd have, I'd experience. There was a time in my life where I had the mentality that this is who I am... if you don't like it, don't be around me. Suck it up cuz this is who I am. I'm harsh. I'm brutally honest and abrasive. I will plow over you if you get in my way. I don't care about you or your weaknesses or failures, I have my mission and it's gonna get done whether you like it or not, whether you contribute or not, whether you feel like it or not. I will work, work, work until the wee hours of the morning to get stuff done. I will give 500% because that's the way I am and that is what I do. Have you ever seen The Proposal? Cold, heartless, scary, dragon lady. This is who I am so suck it up or get out of my way.
I'm not sure if you saw it. You may have seen glimpses of it. Maybe you were one of those people who stayed out of my way for most of my life. I think I probably gave off that vibe. I wonder why people were even friends with me. Baffles me to this day.
I wrote once a while ago about veggie friends and fruit friends on Day 4.
Another friend and I were emailing about our similar personality traits and also those who are completely opposite of us... those people who are liked and loved almost immediately when people meet them (like Anderson)... compared to us who are more acquired tastes and take a lot longer for people to warm up to us. I compared us to fruits and vegetables. Everyone likes fruits... they're pretty, they're sweet, just plain yummy and they're good for you right up front. Not everyone likes vegetables. They're generally uglier, tough, rough, and bitter-tasting, but they are also... good for you. They just need to be cooked first.
If you knew Anderson, you'd definitely agree that he was patient and persistent with gentle speech. And if you know me from the outside, I'm more indifferent with rigid defenses. He was my knife and my slow cooker.... cutting me up and softening me so I'd be suitable to "eat". I miss him. I miss him a lot.
I pretty much had resigned to thinking that I was and always would be a veggie friend. Ppl only hung around me because they knew I was good for them, but no one ever really liked me for much else. Even as a cooked veggie... I might be suitable to eat, but I never thought that I'd be a fruit friend to anyone.
I really don't know what Anderson saw in me. It obviously took a special set of eyes to see past who I was to who I could be. I don't even know if I'd changed all that much for him while he was still alive. I've come a long way since his passing and I know I'd come a long way prior to it. Here's something he wrote me about 7 months before we were engaged.
I love everything about you. Everything. And i mean it. You can be "mean", but you're like a good teacher that someone eventually learns to appreciate within time. You can be blunt, but you're honest. i always tell you to do things out of love... and you have. We've come a long way darling... and I look forward to going a long ways with you still.
In thinking back to who I was, I see that I am still the same person... just without all the baggage. I didn't become a dragon lady overnight. It was the result of a lifetime of baggage from hurts, betrayals, and disappointments. The control-freakiness stemmed from being let down repeatedly by other people so I tried so hard to control my circumstances to control my outcomes. My life was driven by my experiences... by what I could see, feel, hear, touch and by what I'd known had happened in the past. Because I'd never let go of each and every hurt... I made the next person pay for the hurt that someone had done in the past. How extremely unlovable, ungracious, and unforgiving. I did this even to Anderson. All the baggage from my past relationships... I made him pay for. I clung to him for dear life because of my fear of abandonment. I questioned his actions and his motives and assumed his selfishness because... that's what I'd experienced in the past. It took a man with very broad shoulders and extraordinary strength to slowly pick at my burdens and carry them so I wouldn't have to anymore. And even Anderson... who bore the sorrow and burdens of myself, his sister, his mother, and his father... whose extraordinary strength allowed him to press on and fight because we couldn't bear to give him up just yet... even he had his limits. But Jesus doesn't. There is nothing He cannot handle, no load He cannot lift, no emotion He hasn't experienced and conquered. Anderson carried me until he couldn't anymore... and now Jesus is carrying me the rest of the way home.
It took throwing me into a raging inferno to free me the burdens I'd bound myself with. Anderson helped me let go of a few burdens as gently as was humanly possible. Some things were so ingrained... carried around for so long that they just permanently attached themselves to me, restricting my movement, restricting my freedom. Junk that wasn't meant to be there. I wanted to let go of it but I couldn't... not on my own.
I don't know how or why God decided that I, of all people, had to be thrown into the fiery furnace that was my life in 2009. I do see how He had orchestrated much of my life since I graduated high school to prepare me for 2009. You know what... I might even have asked for it. I might have asked for God to draw me to Him and this is what I got. I do, however, thank God for it. All the heartache, the pain, the tears, the suffering... I'm thankful for it all... not for those things in and of themselves, but for what was produced as a result of them. My burdens and my shackles that had weighed me down needed to be burned off so that I could be free to be who I was meant to be... and who I was created to be is a lover of Christ, conforming to His likeness, taking up my cross daily and following Him with all I've got. And I have never been happier.
Joy inexpressible is possible. Perfect peace. Contentment. Freedom. Faith. Purpose. Meaning. Love. All are possible. Even the greatest loss of my life... my husband... is not really a loss at all... just a break... a momentary pause. I've been promised to see him again and spend an eternity with him because the same Jesus whose blood covered my sins also covered Anderson's. Jesus has made it all possible... to give us all a future and a hope... and life everlasting. What is a few more decades in light of eternity? Even to replace my heart of stone with a heart that beats, that cares, that gives... all possible through Christ. I have no doubt in my mind Whose I am. And I have no doubt that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it. I've come a long way and I'm not done yet. That gives me hope and I hope it does for you too. And if you want it, you can have it. Never say never.