I’m still not sure why I reached out to her that night. But everything changed when I did.

But first, I need to backtrack a bit.

All I can tell you — fo’ real, fo’ real — is the worst part of a breakup isn’t the gaping hole you’re left with for a while. Naw. It’s the picking up all the pieces and learning how to function again.

That’s the worst.

Some people are better at it than others. It’s like they’re hardwired for hardship; they brush themselves off, kick open the doors to their next season, and bounce back stronger than before.

Others aren’t so lucky. For us, our canoes keep treading water as we try to navigate through the torrents ’til we catch a glimpse of the shoreline. Any shoreline…

And. Then. What?

I remember reading the Woman at the Well passage in the Bible about 100 times during my low points this past season. I appreciated her response to the thirsty dude with a scraggly beard and worn-out sandals.

“Oh, so you want me to fetch you some water? Yeah well… I’m a Samaritan, and you’re a Jew. And if people spotted us mingling like this, they’d stone me once for this unholy allegiance. And they’d stone me a second time for… You know. All the dirt I’m gonna hide from you.”

(I’m paraphrasing because it’s way cooler that way.)

And it wasn’t the weight of all of her sins that resonated so profoundly with me — it was how badly she tried to push Jesus away.

She wanted absolutely nothing to do with him even as he stuck around so he could change her life forever.

I could totally relate to that.

My own breakup disrupted my identity. It made me hate myself. For not being good enough. Or handsome enough. Or strong enough. Or rich enough.

Whatever I could tell myself to stay exactly where I felt most comfortable that season: on the ground, defeated.

So I pushed Christ away.

“Oh, so you want me to talk to you? Yeah well… I’m a loser. And you’re Jesus. And if people spotted us mingling like this, they’d think I’m just being dramatic. And they’d think I had everything put together, because they can’t see all the… You know. All the hurt I’m gonna hide from you.”

It took rockbottom to remind me the thirsty dude with a scraggly beard and worn-out sandals… Still. Stuck. Around.

Even as a wallowed. Even as I pushed away.

For me, healing took time. I had to rebuild my identity first and love myself for all my flaws and all my busted up circuitry… because Christ still loved me for all of it, too.

I was gonna be fine. And I had to really, really believe that. And I did.

And that’s when I met her.

I’m still not sure why I reached out to her that night. But everything changed when I did.

To be fair, I had gotten to a point where I became good at “being single.” I was a workaholic, and I had enough on my plate driving me forward that a girl probably didn’t fit into my plans for the foreseeable future.

I was okay with that, but my parents weren’t. But they’re probably just a tad bit dramatic anyway. So whatevs.

I was preparing interviews for my blog when I saw somebody on Facebook share their friend’s post. Pretty girl, marketing background. I thought, Okay cool. She’d be a great fit for this new piece I’m working on.

I scheduled an interview with her, prepping by reading her work and putting together questions to ask her. There was just enough realness in her writing online that made me pray to God for a rapport with her before I ever even talked to her.

We talked the next day.

I’m marrying her next year.

The truth is I don’t know if I would have even noticed her if I hadn’t noticed Christ first. I’m well aware of this: he saved my life over and over and over again. During every rockbottom I felt I’d hit this past season.

I wouldn’t have known how to genuinely care about her if I couldn’t genuinely care about myself first.

And she’s so much better than me, y’all. She connects better with individuals, she’s more dynamic in a crowd, she bends time and space and pulls heartstrings with her writing, she gives people the benefit of the doubt.

But this wouldn’t work if I didn’t know Christ was giving me the strength to stand again after countless defeats at the hands of life and love.

And so, in a lot of ways, there’s nothing magical about any of this. There’s no secret formula for love. There’s no 12-Step Plan that can mend your heart, find you a spouse, and get yourselves some dope tax breaks.

But there’s a dude who can help you heal.

Fo’ real, fo’ real… we’re all broken people, waving our resumes that show off our accolades in a rich 12-point serif font and all our flaws in the best invisible ink we can find.

But there’s a real strength in realizing we weren’t meant to be broken.

Picking up the pieces and learning how to function again starts by sitting at the well, hearing out this thirsty dude with a scraggly beard and worn-out sandals, and understanding he’s not about to ditch you for a better story.

Sure, healing can sometimes gets you the girl.

But only because the dude in the worn-out sandals reminds you what love really means in the first place.

It’s because you were worth fighting for that anybody else will ever be worth that, too.

mm
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I'm a strategist, 73% of my conversations involve puns, and I enjoy asking uncomfortable questions.

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