Since I couldn't see Joseph over the break, I did a lot of the two next best things. Phone conversations and day-dreaming.
Before he left for Rhode Island with a friend of his, we had stood on the Hanwell's front porch to say our few-week farewells. He had asked Genevieve for prayer because he just knew that the group he was traveling with would be smoking weed in the back of the van on the way up there, and he didn't want to join them. He knew it would be tempting, though.
There were things about this relationship that I knew would be challenging. Namely: the way we began (with the Azalea mess), his pot smoking tendencies, and (most importantly) the fact that he hadn't totally accepted Christianity. He was still riddled with doubts and concerns, unable to fully put himself in Jesus's hands.
As for the way we began, the only thing I could really do about that was to try to make amends with Azalea. I had mixed feelings about marijuana use, depending on the person and the circumstance, but until now my feelings about it had all been irrelevant anyway. The only person whose choices I was responsible for were my own. On second thought, I was still only responsible for my own choices, regardless of how the other person's choices effected my life. My choice was whether to stay in this relationship or not.
The Christianity issue was the same deal. I knew that if he never fully embraced it, and it came down to him or God, I would have to choose God. We are not to be unequally yoked. I could never marry him if I carried my Lord's yoke and he carried the world's.
As I was thinking all these things, I was also deciding that he couldn't know that he would lose me if these changes didn't occur. I would never tell him. Because then the changes wouldn't be real. They would be forced. To keep me.
I remembered the night I first driven him to contra. I had given him one of my favorite stories. A dear friend of mine (BestfriendDavid's wife) had noticed a freckle I have on the bottom of my foot and showed me one that she had in the palm of her hand.
In a split second of ultimate human silliness, I had thought to my Lord, "I wish I had a freckle in the palm of my hand!". Later that night, I glanced at my hand and lo, there was a new freckle! I thought it was a speck of dirt, so I tried to rub it off. It wasn't a speck of dirt. It was a permanent reminder that He cares tremendously about even the tiniest and silliest of our heart's desires. That He listens in rapture to us when we talk to Him. I couldn't help but believe that this was something He didn't want me to forget.
When I related the freckle story to Joseph that night, he had shouted, "NO WAY!" and grabbed my hand to look for said freckle. I glanced over to see him looking awe-struck and incredulous as he whispered, "That's amazing!"
He was seeking. I knew that I would have to just wait and see how things went. I would pray for him, and I would hope. I would try to stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit's nudgings as much as possible.
Oh, life. I was never great at navigating it.
I fell asleep one night over the break restlessly thinking about all the things about Azalea that were endearing, kind, and good. Sure, she had accomplished a few villainous capers, but that wasn't who she was. She had done those things out of fear and hurt. I could hardly blame her. It's a particularly raw part of humanity. When we act out of hurt or fear, we make choices that have potential to cause more strife in the people around us. We've all done it. Chances are we'll all do it again.
I dreamed that night that I saw her at contra. My heart leaped. I ran to her and took her hands, looked her in the eye and told her that I was so sorry for every time that she hurt. I meant it. I meant it from the depths of my soul. I then proceeded to go on a tirade. I told her about this one time that had happened in real life that I remembered. It was after dancing when she knew I was about to take a long, tiresome drive home, so she said to me, "Get something caffeinated! And WARM! Make sure it's warm!". In the dream, my heart missed her. I told about how priceless and irreplaceable it was that she cared so deeply about people. How she, as a person reminded me of all things comforting and warm. Coffee and scarves. Autumn leaves, pottery clay, dancing and freedom. I couldn't help myself. I just went on and on listing everything about her that had touched my life in such a short time of knowing her.
Even though it was a dream, it was all drawn from life. How gentle her eyes looked when she talked about the elderly ladies at the group home she worked for and her passion for life in all that it is. I woke to find myself in tears.
As much as I wanted to hide behind the few catty things Azalea had done and the human limitations that she possessed. As much as I wanted to believe that I deserved to be in a relationship with Joseph and that she got what she had coming, it wasn't true. Not at all.
She wasn't all that different from me in a lot of ways. A girl with hopes, dreams, and a heart that longed for someone to love.
That's what Joseph had seen in her, too. It just hadn't been the right relationship for him. They weren't as compatible as she had hoped.
I pulled my laptop over and wrote her a message on Facebook. I related the dream to her as best I could because I wanted her to know that she was valuable. I knew how rejection felt, and I couldn't imagine that she wasn't experiencing pain over it at that moment.
It was an awkward, long, rambling, apologetic message. I clicked "send" hoping we might be friends when all was said and done, but doubting it very much.
Her message back to me was a rough read. She said that though she was touched, had forgiven and forgotten, and harbored no ill will or angry feelings, she didn't want to be friends again. She saw me differently. She absolutely wished me well, but I had broken her trust.
Broken pots, she noted, once glued, were still broken.
To be fair, we hadn't exactly been the closest of friends to begin with. But if I thought back on it and tried to see it from her point of view, I probably had given her false hope that I could be trusted with her boyfriend.
Those words took hold in my heart. I was a broken pot. Never to hold water again.