A Whole New World

The week I’ve been dreading for the last month is finally over. Every year for the last four years, this past week was a Fishie and Kaitlyn week. We would hang out, eat picnics, and every Thursday evening was special. I was not looking forward to facing the memories.

But it’s a good thing I had to.

For the last month, I thought I was “okay.” I realized this week that ignoring a problem does not equal being okay. I have pushed him out of my mind. Anything that reminded me of him or anyone close to him I crammed into a closet and locked in the recesses of my brain. But eventually all those things will break down the door and suffocate me in my sleep. They tried to this week. I saw imaginary Fishies in my office, in the church auditorium, underneath my bed, hiding in my refrigerator, and driving every car from Greenville to Spartanburg. I had a paralyzing fear of anyone who looked remotely male. And the only defense mechanism I had to retaliate with was anger. I’m surprised my computer is still intact. I apologize to any guys I’ve talked to this week.

But I had to recognize that Fishie is far from buried in order for me to give him a proper funeral. I began the preparations on Friday morning. Back up seven years. I gave my life to the Lord when I accepted Christ at sixteen. Suddenly, nothing was too much of a sacrifice. I broke up with my unofficial boyfriend, and martyrdom was beautiful and exciting. Then life began to get in the way. I moved from the North to the South and lost the only home I had ever known. I entered “the best years of my life” and hated it (that would be college). My family dynamic changed drastically. I learned about the fear of the unknown for the first time. I discovered false securities for the first time. And I lived through them somehow. Life has been mundane the past two years but fine. I looked forward to my times with Fishie as my pick-me-ups. Soon they became my hope and my expectation. I trusted him implicitly with my fears and faults. When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, I told him before I told my own family. To this day, he and my mother are the only two people who know exactly how much I still struggle with the implications of my life-long disease. His opinion became the only one that mattered. And on Friday morning of this past week, I realized that somewhere in the process of the last seven years, I had stopped loving God’s way and loved my own instead. I have been manipulating to get what I want, only I found out that I can’t have what I want, thanks to Fishie.

I used to “glory” in how evil I could be. Cool people in my high school were the ones who looked good but secretly rebelled–like stealing street signs, watching R-rated movies, or sniffing too many gluesticks. When I wanted to be cool I would admit to struggling with anorexia. But when a struggle is truly a heartbreaking struggle, the last thing you want to do is share that struggle. I haven’t wanted to say that I have been worshiping a human being for five years. I haven’t wanted to admit that I’m scared to read my Bible. I don’t want to find out that Fishie’s opinion of me is also God’s opinion of me. I haven’t wanted to admit that I’m afraid that God will reject me too. I’m a Christian; I’m supposed to be a good example. I’m supposed to be “perfect.” But true Christianity is not perfection. It is growth. True Christians recognize their need for God’s grace in their lives. True Christians see their brokenness. And I have never before been so broken.

On a lighter note, this last week has also opened up my eyes to a new world–one that includes sushi. Thank you, Red Bowl, for having a sushi happy hour! I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch leftovers.

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