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Lessons From The Desert Part 2 (Importance of Friendship)


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The moment I read the above quote, I knew this would be the opening quote for this blog. As I prepare for my journey out of the desert, I reflect on all the lessons I have learned while stuck there and one of the most important ones is just what friendship and companionship mean to me.

Jesus is the epitome of a true friend for as John 15:13 says “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” and lay down His life He did just for me. I did not have a true appreciation for friends until I started university, far away from my family and all that was familiar to me. I quickly learned that if I was going to survive I needed to surround myself with people with the traits I admired and that I wanted to grow within me. I was blessed enough to meet my group of friends within my first month in university and today, nearly eight years later, I am still very close with a many of them. These wonderful women really shaped not only the woman, but the friend I am today.

I can still remember looking at my one friend and thinking, “how can she be so giving, so loving and so supportive?” She just seemed to be living John 15:13 as she loved, gave and supported even when she had better things to do and it seemed that those she was going out on a limb for, including myself, were not deserving. I knew looking at her that she was the kind of friend I wanted to emulate. As I started practicing to give more of myself and care less about what I received in return, I noticed the results because before I knew it I was overwhelmed with love and support and friends who’d drop everything to come to my aid when needed. Given the constant nurturing frienships require, I sometimes wonder how I managed to sustain those friendships throughout university because I was in a pretty serious relationship for pretty much my entire university career. I am sincerely grateful I did because when the chips were down and my world as I knew it shattered, they rallied around and they were there!

The most significant relationship I have built my friend template from is probably the one with my oldest and closest friend. I cannot sneeze without her saying “bless you” from the other side of the world. We were so close in high school even our mothers became friends. Sadly went our separate ways for university and pretty much did not speak or see each other for years. But man, did it hit us with a bang when we started working together a few years later! I do not feel I have developed enough as a writer to do our friendship and how much she means to me justice. I will not even try. By accepting and loving me just as I am with all my imperfections, she has really taught me how to just be me. She is truly my anchor and always pulls me back when calamity tosses me out of control. Never with grand gestures, never making me feel like I am stupid for not seeing it sooner but rather with the utmost gentleness, love and care. I once read in Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ that the most precious gift we can ever give is time. My best friend continues to give me the very best of herself, never demanding anything from me in return and it is from her than I have learned what a blessing it is to be loved unconditionally.

As I think of my friends who have come into my life quite unexpectedly, I cannot help but smile. Their friendship was so unexpected that unlike the friends I’ve discussed above, I cannot recall the point we became friends but I’m mighty grateful that we did. One day we were classmates, colleagues or strangers in church and the next they had carved very special places in my heart. They have added such a beautiful, enriched dimension to my life. Starting my working life I had often been warned to treat colleagues as such because ultimately they are there to look after themselves. It was quite a delightful lesson to learn that friendship does transcend age gaps, heirachies and most importantly the barriers supposedly imposed by work.

It is with absolute fondness that I reflect on each of the friends I left at home. My friends had done for me what a safe, nurturing environment does for a child; made me confident in my abilities and made me feel I was ready to take on the challange of moving abroad alone. If I had moved across the country and was able to building friendships that have survived years of separation, what would stop me now? If I was able to turn colleagues into friends why couldn’t I do it here? Looking back I realise that maybe I was somewhat arrogant in my thinking. Perhaps I was even more arrogant to think I would be able to survive without the glue that has held me together through my adult life thus far!

In Lessons From The Desert Part 1, I spoke about how making life-long friends was one of my goals when I arrived here. I was quite happy that I had landed up in Edinburgh because I had often heard how friendly the Scots were compared to say Londoners(which had been one of my possibilities). Having spent a few weeks trying to break into existing friendship circles in the office, I quickly realised that I was banging my head against a brick wall. We did not share similar interests and most importantly I just did not feel that sense of security that they understood me and that I belonged. So my next strategy was to align myself with the other South Africans who were pretty much in the same boat. Since most of the ones I would be working with were male, I planned to get to know their significant others that they’d moved here with and hopeful satisfy that longing I had for female companionship. Sadly, things did not quite work out.

It is not for the lack of trying that I will leave with no sense of accomplishment in this area. In my heart I really do believe that I did and tried all I could but always careful not too push too hard and trust in the process enough to take of the rest. Even with all that, I still have the deepest pain in my heart with all the hurt I have endured along the way. It reminds me of how I felt when I was little and I did not have any friends at school and felt like an outcast. I feel an even bigger outcast now than I did then.

The South African boys in the office have each other and their partners to go home to. Their partners have built a tight network and now have each other to lean on. And me? I have no one but myself. It is quite painful to sit and listen to the people you thought you would become friends with make dinner plans around you as if you are not even there. It’s even worse hearing about the parties that you were never invited to but would have loved to have been at. Thanks to social media it gets rubbed in your face over and over again when pictures are splashed all over feeds the following day. But don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for sympathy votes! As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “for everything there is a season, a time for every matter under the heavens” and this I believe has been my season of loneliness.

With each season in our lives we are to learn something; in spring the promise of blessings to come, in summer the joy of giving, in autumn the wisdom of preparation and in winter we must learn patience and the blessing in growing in seclusion.

I have learned a lot from this past year and I hope that I do not hold onto the pain and bitterness that lingers in my heart. For the past few days I have repeatedly prayed that the Lord grants me a forgiving heart, a heart that lets go and doesn’t hold onto the hurt and pain it feels. This experience has, if nothing else, humbled me. It has also opened my eyes to just how much I love and value the friends I left at home. It is with newfound clarity that I reflect on and appreciate all they have taught me and just how much they have shaped my life. The most important lesson was the one my bestie reminded me of when she said, “Babe,don’t let them change who you are. It is in your very nature to be loving and giving. It is their loss if they do not appreciate all you do for them.”

Whilst the intellectual in me knows that you cannot force friendship and you cannot build one when the other person is not invested in doing so, it still saddens me to think of the longing left unfilled in my heart. And whilst my survival through the year has proven that friendship is unnecessary, like C.S. Lewis realised during his time, this survival means way less in the absence of friends to share war stories with.

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Lessons from the desert Part 1


For at least the past week I have had a blog all written in my head but for some reason just could not bring myself to let my fingers meet the keyboard. It seems I have developed a fear of writing, some writers’ block. Before it consumes me whole and destroys any confidence I have left, I think it’s time to nip it in the bud so…..“Dear brain, in case you were starting to doubt this, I am in control and not you!”

In 35 days, God willing, I will be making my way back to my family and friends whom I miss dearly. Most importantly back to the me that I used to be. It sounds odd to say this because we all want to grow and develop, we never want to regress and yet here I am wanting nothing more than to be the old me. I can feel the heat on the side of my face from God’s stare as I type that but truth be told, I would rather go back to who I was this time last year and forget the past year ever happened. It would be easier. Less heartbreaking. Less painful.

Leaving home last year I was filled with childlike excitement at the prospect of a brand new adventure. I was about to embark on a journey I did not even dream possible right up until the day it was confirmed. I had hope in abundance and faith that this was meant to be. Like anyone granted the chance of a lifetime, I had high aspirations of all I would do and achieve and the kind of person I would return as in a few years time. Coming here, my goals and aspirations were clearly defined. I was here realise my life-long dream of travelling around Europe, I was here to advance my career, make new friends and maybe even meet the love of my life. Of bigger significance I was here to earn enough so I can clear off my debts and also help my family to get out of debt and finally start a comfortable, successful life. Above all else, I was to grow in my walk with God and learn more about the woman He wanted me to be. One by one each dream went to that dark desolate place where dreams go to die and just so I can look back and remember how it all went down, here they are:

1. Holidaying in Europe. I was going to see at the very least Paris, Venice, Rome, Milan and Madrid. Sad thing is I actually came very close to realising this dream. I had the trip booked, paid the deposit, had the two weeks leave that I would need booked and all I had to do was pay the balance. It broke my heart when I had to cancel because of competing financial demands and a part of me will remain sad that I never got a chance to do this.

2. Financial freedom. I was going to claw myself out of the pit of debt I’d been stuck in for the past few years. Well that dream quickly went out the window when I realised just how expensive it was to live in this country. Add to that having to send money home to help my family, now almost a year later I have sunk even deeper. Getting to a point where I wonder if this is what I was destined for? Will I have come out of it? In trying to do right by my family and to prove to my grandmother, aunt and mother that I’m not the selfish, self-centered brat that they seemed to think I was when I moved out from home to establish my independence, I was the one left stranded.

My dreams of financial freedom seem so far out of reach I doubt I will be reaching them anytime soon. I look at my peers and I’m filled with deep jealousy because I too want to be able to buy a car, buy a house and live comfortably and not have to worry how I’ll get through the month.

3. Career progression. Coming to UK was going to be a chance to jump start my career, I would come back having at least progressed one level. That dream was blown to smitherines pretty much in January! I do not know why things played out the way they did, all I know to this day it hurts more than I can even put into words. I came here confident in my abilities, I was certain I had the skills, the attitude, the strength and the stamina to make it here. All that confidence is now gone and I am left feeling exposed and vulnerable. So much so that I am scared of any job that comes after this.

I probably cried in my first three months here more than I’ve done in any given year in my life. By the time March came around, I was seriously considering resigning, packing up my things and returning home. Looking back I probably should have, I would have done far less damage to my emotional and mental stability!

It really hasn’t helped that I have struggled for nearly four months to find a job at home. Something that came as a complete shocker because so many people had so knowingly told me what a wonderful opportunity this was and that it would boost my CV and make me stand out from my peers. It hasn’t quite worked out that way for me and I can’t help but feel I jeopardised my career and set myself back.

I have come to accept that this year has set me back and I will now have to work that much harder(on myself) to ensure the effects are not permanent and I do not create self-fulfilling prophecies. How I will do this, I do not know!

4. Love. When I left Durban I was determined to leave the heartache and pain of past relationships and use this as my fresh start and hopefully meet someone new who would love me and teach me to love past the hurt and the pain. Sadly I guess tis was never in the cards for me. At first I thought I would leave it to fate and see what it brought my way and then when that strategy did not work decided it was time to “put myself out there”. I registered on a couple of internet dating sites, started going out more and nothing yielded any results. Months ago I started to resign myself to the fact that maybe I am just one of those people that were meant to die alone! Yet, that quiet romantic in me refuses to believe that God can ever be that cruel.

5. Friendship. I had often heard of all the wonderful, life-long friends people make when travelling or living abroad. As my time here winds down, I need to probably admit that I will not be telling such stories to anyone. Not for the lack of trying! I arrived open to meeting new people and expanding my friendship circle. Much to my dismay the only things that this venture has yielded are many tearful nights from sheer frustration and loneliness, months of feeling undesirable and just completely useless. It’s one thing not to be wanted by the opposite sex, but when women do not want your companionship it compounds you become convinced that there’s something wrong with you!

6. Realising God’s plan for my life. I still remember the day I wrote Send Me To The Nations. Everything that could have gone wrong with my move here, seemed to have already happened. Yet amidst all that I had the quite confidence and the peace that I was walking the path God had wanted me to walk. This year was the year my relationship with Him would grow exponentially. This was the year I’d be drawn closer to Him and we’d do wonderful things together. When I wrote Just God and I in January, I was starting to believe that maybe all the things that had started going wrong and all the longing I had in my heart was all to reinforce that He was merely drawing me closer. I was still on the right path. I don’t know when I wandered off that path but months it’s been feeling I have been stumbling through a wilderness where God refuses to show His face. I went through months not wanting to pray let alone open a Bible. I was lost, wondering around aimlessly and no matter how much and how long I cried for help, He just did not want to show Himself to me.

I probably could have dealt with each of the above “failures” if I had been hit with them individually. Together they have come very close to consuming me and burying me alive. I probably could have dealt with the first five if I had felt the presence of God, His companionship and His comforting embrace through it all. Through all of this it feels as if I’m the only person excluded from the protective cover of scriptures like Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 37:5. No matter how much I try cast my burdens to Him it seems He has turned His face away and closed His ears to my cries and has left me stranded in the middle of a desert with nowhere to turn and noone to turn to.

Among Memories and Pieces of My Broken Heart


“You see the smile that’s on my mouth, it’s hiding the words that don’t come out. All of the friends who think I’m blessed, they don’t know I’m in this mess…”  ~ The Story, Brandi Carlile

Some people walk into and then out of your lives again before you even have time to acknowledge their presence. Others walk out and leave a lingering, haunting presence; the kind you cannot shake no matter how badly you want them to be erased from your memory. Memory, I believe is nature’s way of torturing broken hearts; much like my own. I resemble a lost soul that is tortured and caught in limbo between two worlds. I have been left behind in the graveyard where unburied pieces of my broken heart lay scattered. I have nothing to keep me company except old memories which threaten to swallow me whole. I know turning back is not an option, so I try to pick up the pieces as I move forward but when I look around me I am disappointed by just how little I have achieved. I want to cry or even shout out for help but then I realise my voice just won’t come out. So here I sit, among memories and pieces of my broken heart; unable to cry and unable to feel and unrecognisable to myself.

Seven weeks ago my life made sense. Seven weeks ago my life was filled with hope and promise. The harsh Scottish winter was finally giving way to the promise of spring and with it bringing me some much-needed light in what felt like the longest winter in my life. I was finally starting to feel a bit at home in this country, with its unfamiliar and oftentimes temperamental weather. I was finding my place at work and not hating it as much. Most of all my heart didn’t hurt as much from the pain caused by the one who’d disappeared out of my life with no explanation and without a trace. Looking back I ask myself whether I was just being naive for thinking I deserved the little bit of sunshine that I was starting to see peering from behind dark clouds that always seemed to hang close to me.

May 3,2011 will be etched in my brain forever. I will forever remember it as the day one misunderstanding sent a carefully spun web of lies and deceit crashing down. I will forever remember it as the day I discovered that the house I once thought was solid enough to withstand being separated by thousands of miles not only had cracks in the foundation, but was built on quicksand.

If you had asked me before this day to describe myself in as many words as I could think of, I would have come up with an impressive list ranging from determined, resilient to overly sensitive and somewhat aggressive. Gullible, unperceptive, stupid and home wrecker would not have made their way onto that list. But ever since discovering that I spent almost two years loving a man who had no intention of ever telling me that I was his filthy secret he had no intention of airing out, those are the new words I use to describe myself.

Day after day I replay separate segments of my relationship with him and I keep on asking the same question, over and over again, “HOW DID I MISS THIS? Did I learn nothing from the previous relationship that ended in a similar fashion?” As much as I am filled with hundreds of questions for him, I will never ask them because I know he has no intention of ever being honest with me. If he did would I have found out six months later from someone else that he was engaged? If he had cared at all for my well-being would he have started any form of relationship with me knowing his intentions. What kind of supposedly God-fearing man walks into your life, claims to understand your situation and that you are fragile and vows to look after your interests and to try never hurt you, knowing…knowing….knowing he grinds away your heart with every calculated step and action?

How does one get over this? I have been trying to figure this out every day for the 49 days and I don’t seem to be any closer to an answer. Instead I am still utterly humiliated, angry, baffled, depressed and filled with more hatred than I can bear to admit. My heart has become so hardened; I refuse to let more than a handful of people in anymore. Once trusted confidants might as well be strangers that I have just met. Strangers are kept on a simple one strike system, after all it was giving someone the benefit of doubt, multiple chances and wavering boundaries that got me into this mess. My mind will not let me feel anything for longer than a fleeting moment. All the while I smile,never acknowledging the hollow pain in the cavity where my heart once rested. And where is he while all this is happening? He is living his life, planning his wedding, buying baby clothes and preparing for the imminent arrival of his bundle of joy. Completely oblivious to the pain he impregnated my life with. And what is to become of my joy?

With this experience, my once clear vision has failed me to the point that I cannot see beyond the horizon. Whilst I have faith that God will heal my heart and make me whole once more, I do not think I can ever love another quite the same way again. My friendships will never be as innocent and doubt-free. Acquaintances will never be welcomed with the same openness and enthusiasm. My intuition and discernment failed me and now I don’t know if will ever be able to completely trust myself again let alone trust another man enough to want to build a life with them.

I lost the part of me that I treasured most that day, leaving me so debilitated by pain I have to wonder who the empty shell that stares back at me is every time I walk past a mirror. Sometimes I pray for God to allow me to cry but my tears are held captive behind an impenetrable wall I am not allowed through. Consequently I spend many sleepless nights and countless hours silently watching the memories float one by one in remarkable clarity and detail in front of my eyes. I let them play on and silently pray that they will wear themselves out and someday I will wake up and find myself free from their captivity. Until then I sit here, just me and these persistent, unwanted memories trying to make sense of it all, trying very hard to assemble the scattered pieces of my broken heart.

The Other Woman


“My heart was blinded by you. I’ve kissed your lips and held your hand.Shared your dreams and shared your bed. I know you well, I know your smell. I’ve been addicted to you. Goodbye my lover. Goodbye my friend…” ~ Goodbye My Lover, James Blunt

Today I find myself intimidated by the blinking cursor on my screen.I know what I want to write but the memories of the events that have led to this point threaten to open the floodgates that have remained securely closed since the day I made the discovery that shook my whole existence. It would be easier to shut my computer down, switch off my side lamp, pull the duvet over my head and go to sleep, burying for another day what lies in my heart but I won’t. Doing so will only be an admission that this is the end of me which it isn’t. This is just an end of a painful chapter in my life, even as I type that a smile crosses my face because I know this is an important step.

February 2008 I met a guy who I did not pay much attention to because to me he was just another guy at work and I happened to be madly in love with my boyfriend with whom I was piecing together our relationship after it was blown apart the year before. Over the year that followed we became friends and even worked together on a client in August 2008. Still I felt nothing because well I still had a five and half year relationship I was focused on. Funny thing about the things we focus on though, they don’t stop disintegrating simply because we are focusing on them!

January 15, 2009 was the day I was dumped. I received an IM from the then love of my life telling me he was tired and our six year relationship was over. We didn’t need to discuss it in person he said. He was just tired and he wanted out there was nothing more to it. There was no other woman, he still loved me but he couldn’t do this anymore. So somewhere in the midst of all that focusing I had missed all of this completely!

 His supposed unhappiness which seemed very sudden to me was not the only thing I had missed. As I later discovered, I had missed the other woman in his life. How long had she been there? To this day I do not know and do not want to know. What I do know though is that they got engaged in a conveniently short amount of time for people who only started dating after I was out the picture.

In the months that followed I spent my time nursing my broken-heart. February is simply a haze, I do not remember how I got through it but I pulled through. People often told me that the best way to get over someone was to find someone else, so that’s exactly what I did. I went out, had fun and met a few hotties in the process. 

By the time April rolled around I was all hottie’d out and was taking a breather from the men with good genes so when my friend re-entered my life in mid-April it was a welcomed relief. He’d been on holiday for a few months and our differing client commitments ensured that we hadn’t crossed paths in close to six months. In that time he’d moved up the ladder and moved departments and had bought a new car that he was quite excited to show me so Wednesday April 29th was set as the evening he’d come visit and we would catch up. 

We had a fantastic night on the Wednesday, I cooked, we ate and watched tv and just chatted. Thursday he was back at my place again. This time we stayed up till 6am watching movies, chatting and laughing the night away. It was somewhere in between that he confessed that he had liked me since the day we had sat down to write part one of our board exam. He hadn’t said anything to me because I had a boyfriend and he was respecting our relationship though at times he did try show me he liked me and I just never noticed. I sat there laughing at him as he recounted all the little gestures that I was supposed to have realised were signs of his affection. Before he left in the morning we kissed and I was instantly hooked on him. Sunday the 3rd of May we talked about what the kiss had meant and from there decided to build a romantic relationship.

That relationship lasted close to 18 months  and as far as I knew it was still in progress when he moved cities end of September 2010, six weeks before I was to leave the country. However, I was wrong because the week after he moved he stopped answering my calls and replying to my messages and that was that. For the past seven months I have been stuck in a state of confusion, anger, frustration and most of all hurt because I just could not figure out what I had done wrong. Secretly I still loved him very much and had a glimmer of hope that we would one day reconcile, perhaps when I went back to South Africa. All of that was blown out the water when I discovered two weeks ago, on May 3rd, that he was now engaged and his fiance was pregnant.

I did not realise up until I was typing it that I learned of his infidelity on the anniversary of the day we first started going out. But then again why would it have clicked in my head? We never even celebrated that anniversary! We never went anywhere in public together, very few people even knew we were together. Quite naively I thought it was because we were preserving the sacredness of our relationship from the prying eyes of all our colleagues. Little did I know I was being taken on the worst joy ride of my life! For seventeen months all I really was to him was a dirty little secret. I was the other woman and I did not even know it.  I was the home wrecker that I had sworn to myself I would never be again. Yes, again.

In January 2007 I had met an older guy and to this day I cannot figure out what attracted me to him let alone made me risk everything for him. He is nothing like the two guys I’ve loved in life, he is short, chubby and way older while they are both tall and no more than two years older than I am. I cheated on my beloved with him and even though the affair itself was short-lived it had lasting consequences. It tore my relationship with my boyfriend apart when I confessed what I had done and my mother was less than impressed with me. I paid for what I had done, dearly and in ways I am not ready to write about. Seeing how much harm my cheating had caused, I vowed never to put another person through that again only to have it done to me. Not once but twice! When they say, “what goes around comes around, multiplied”…they are not kidding!

In “Unworthy Entanglements” I first acknowledged that I knew both relationships were bad for me. Later in “Three Versions of The Truth” I wrote about how I felt my second ex-boyfriend had been lying to me but I never thought it was to this extent. I never saw this coming, it’s as if he had lived another life altogether and I was completely oblivious of it. I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to piece together every sign that I missed, the breadcrumbs that he was leaving behind but none lead to me discovering that he proposed to someone else without my knowledge. 

 I could spend the rest of my days blaming myself for everything I should have seen but failed to see because that would be a rather futile exercise. I loved them both and that love was completely wasted on them. As much as I accepted the first as me paying for when I hurt him as well, the second betrayal makes no sense at all. I had never hurt him in any way for him to repay me with such malice and cruelty.

I am grateful though that I found out when I did because this knowledge extinguished whatever flame I had flickering in my heart. All ties are broken, I look ahead with no wish to ever look back. For months I have been upset and have been dissecting what we could have had, but now I am know we never would have had it anyway. My life with him may have ended but my life has certainly not ended.

Three Versions Of The Truth


“Dear Lie, you suck! You said you could fix anything. Instead, I’m {done} you made things worse for me. If I had balls I’d tell you get away from me. Guess I’m not smart, I let you unnerve me.I let you control me afraid the truth would hurt me when it’s you that hurts me more…”   ~ Dear Lie, TLC

For the past few months and more so the past few weeks I have been performing a thorough relationship post-mortem. Yes the tears were shed a long time ago, eulogies read and friends rallied to be with me in my time of loss, but my heart was just not at peace. It became even more apparent to me that I had to have the relationship exhumed for a further post-mortem when I became acutely aware of the anger and hatred that was consuming me. What was the whole process supposed to prove? What was I hoping to gain? The truth!

The very sad thing about the truth is it’s not always what we expect it to be. Even worse, it does not offer us the absolution we so desperately crave when a relationship ends. We do not want to believe that we were responsible in whatever way or form for our heartbreak. We want to walk away thinking that we did all we could. We want to believe that we did what was right, we were true and honest, not only to the other person but to ourselves. Yes, you were perfectly happy, and then one random morning you woke up and with no warning whatsoever you were faced with heartache so great the arteries in your heart were constricting with every breath. No, you are not the one that should be facing the firing squad for killing all the dreams, hopes and plans you had for the future. Right?

I have spent the past six months vehemently hating someone because I felt they had used me, abused my love and kindness and when they were done gorging the most delicate parts of me discarded the very little that remained of me, not caring if I lived or died from that point on. I was justified! He lied to me! For two years I was a victim to his lies. Every time I spoke to him and saw him in two years he lied. He never cared at all, it was all a carefully orchestrated plan for my demise. He knew how he was going to get me to love him. He knew he was never going to love me back so he lied about it. Over and over and over he lied and I was convinced that my happiness would only return when I’d seen to his demise. This was the testimony I was willing to give in any court and in my view this was nothing but the truth, the whole truth. Since this was the truth, the cross-examination shouldn’t have been a problem.

Are you sure he lied to you over and over for two years?

Yes!

He never once told the truth?

No, not once!

So you’re the victim in all of this?

Yes!

In two years you could not tell he was lying to you?

….silence

Answer the question please.

I’m sorry what was the question?

How can a fully grown, intelligent and perceptive woman like yourself not know that they were being lied to, “over and over and over”?

….silence

Did you not just swear that your testimony is the truth and the whole truth at that?

Like I said, the very sad thing about the truth is it’s not always what we expect it to be. There are three versions of this story; his, mine and the truth. As much as I want to believe I only just discovered the truth now, I would be lying. I knew all along and I allowed him to lie to me.

It has not been easy for me to admit this but if I am to ever have a chance at piecing my heart back together I need to come clean about the hand I played in all of this. I believe that guilt and shame only intensify the pain we feel and part of the healing will come from dealing with the root of the guilt and the shame.  Unfortunately for me, I do not think I have matured enough in my spiritual journey to have fully mastered the ability to forgive and let go. I can’t just write this all off to a lesson learned and move on from there. For a while I have been flogging myself for all I have allowed to happen and all I have become as a consequence of the past few years. I am hardest on myself simply because I feel that I should know better, after all I did come up with the code of conduct for my life.

My code has explicit rules on what I will and will not tolerate. Rules are explicitly laid out on how I would like to be treated and in turn how I will treat you. In each instance there are rules on how to proceed when a contravention has been identified . But what do I do now that I taught someone the code, allowed them to repeatedly break the code and then stood by idly and watched as they unleashed destruction in my once peaceful kingdom? No ruler wants to ever be seen as weak and not serious about the laws they set. I have become despondent, I have stopped fighting the upsurge in lawlessness and with great dismay I can’t help but stand and watch everyone else disregarding the code. Though yes some people do it very innocently, for others it all seems pre-meditated. I watch as friends now treat me way worse than any ex-boyfriend ever did. 

As the dust starts to settle in my head, I’m starting to realise that I can’t expect to regain some sense of control until I have cleared away all the debris. No foundation is going to stand if I build it on top of rubble. Some important questions need to be asked and answered in an effort to level the ground again. I allowed a lie to unnerve me. I allowed a lie to get under my skin and reside there for so long it became my truth. 

The levelling exercise is going to take a long time still but at least I can smile because I know I am making progress. There are a lot of feelings I need to work through before I can even start to make peace with them. Dear Lie, I would like you to know that you can stay in my mind a little while longer but I WILL find a way to uproot you once and for all.

PS: The truth did not hurt me more, you did! You weren’t just trying to be my friend and protect me now were you? I guess you lied about that too, huh?

Unworthy Entanglements


“I would do anything for you, I would go through all this pain, take a bullet straight to my brain. Yes I would die for you, but you won’t do the same!”  ~  Grenade by Bruno Mars

I fell in love with this song almost instantly. From the moment I heard the first verse I knew it was going to be one of my favourite songs. Quite like everything I have professed to love, in a matter of days I had worked myself up into a frenzy and my love had morphed into obsession. It became the subject of almost all my status updates on both Facebook and Blackberry messenger, it was playing on my mind all day everyday. I’ve come to realise that there’s a pattern in how I love…I’m an obsessive, compulsive lover!

Being single is, without any doubt, a sad and lonely time and it chips away at your self-esteem one piece at a time. As much as you know you have  friends and family that love you, you still feel like you’re undesirable and unloveable. This feeling is especially heightened when it seems like everywhere you go you’re bombarded  with couples including events and activities exclusively for them that are designed to specifically alienate you, the lone single person. It feels like a cruel, undue  reminder that you have scarcely had time to forget because the feeling of emptiness just never leaves you. Every time you are catching up with old friends and relatives you hear of all the people getting engaged, the upcoming weddings and the freshly announced pregnancies.  What deals the biggest blow however is undeniably the moment you find out your ex is now engaged!

No matter how much we protest and how many volunteer hours we spend to prove we are not, we ARE inherently selfish! I for one do not love my ex, do not want him back and I strongly believe I am better off without him but do I want him engaged? No! Especially not when I am single and I consider myself to be the more decent one of us both! What makes it so painful is you start thinking, “Well there must be something wrong with me if he spent six years with me and didn’t marry me and before I even have time to fetch my stuff from his place I hear he’s with someone else and less than two years later they’re engaged!” When the bitterness creeps in I just smile to myself and start singing, “I pity the fool who falls in love with you, oh shit she’s a gold digger, I just thought you should know…” and yes I go on to sing, “although there’s pain in my chest I still wish you the best” which I’d be lying if I said I meant it, I just sing it because I love the medley.

I have to wonder though, will I meet somebody or will I die of a broken heart, a non-scientifically proven yet still very real cause of death? Of late I have started thinking a very scary possibility; God will not bring me my life partner until I get over my addiction.

I am known as a person who loves others and showers those I love with immeasurable amounts of love. I used to think that this was a great quality to have but now I have come to realise it is also my Achilles heel. I have come to realise that the reason I love Grenade so much, is that it is about me. I have spent many, if not all, of my romantic entanglements catching grenades for people who would not do the same for me! As much as it is as a sad realisation, it is also a liberating one because it makes you realise that you deserve so much more than what you were getting and it’s ok to let go because you will not get anything worthwhile from that relationship anyway.

I might be wiser beyond my years in some areas of life, when it comes to relationships though, my growth is severely stunted. I do not think I will progress much until I learn to overcome all my weaknesses that feed into me being the way I am now. I always find it amazing how all my failures in life are always linked to me disobeying God. We all assign different names and different sources to that ever-present, still, small voice we converse with everyday. Pinocchio’s was Jiminy Cricket, who can forget the legendary, “And always let your conscience be your guide?” My small, still voice? Well that’s God of course. I am ashamed to say that He speaks and oftentimes I do not listen and I wonder why when I get hurt and have to crawl back to Him with shattered pieces of a violated heart.

I have had two serious relationships in the past eight years and in the interests of complete honesty, I was never meant to be in either one of them. I knew they were bad going in. I knew both guys were not ready to give me the relationship that I wanted and I still entered into relationships anyway. Not only that but I gave them both(not simultaneously of course), all that I had to offer and they became the very core of my life and that is my greatest sin.

First two commandments, notice how it’s two and not one and also how it is number one and two and not nine and ten, are about worshipping no one other than God. Exodus 20:4 commands us to “not make an idol of any kind…not bow down to them or worship them.” One of the dictionary meanings for the word “idol” is, “One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.”  Just like that, I have been repeatedly breaking two commandments in the way I conduct myself in romantic relationships.

I would be lying if I said I had stopped, though I do pray for the grace to stop. I do understand a bit more now that it is for my own protection that I remain single up until I can love someone in a constructive healthy way. It is time to accept God’s call to rehab and stay there till I am healed. Up until then I am ducking all grenades that I spot flying my way and I am certainly not about to go catching any for anyone who would not do the same.

Someday I will


The hardest part of any pain is actually being in the depth of it and not feeling like it will ever get better. I have spent over 30 hours of this weekend sleeping just so I don’t have to think of you. I don’t hate you, really I don’t…I’m just not as over you as I would like to be.

They say God never wastes a hurt, that all your pain is preparing you for your purpose in life. Someday, one day I will come to appreciate this but that day is just not today. Today I just want to cry when I think of you. Today I just want to know why you’ve left my world without so much as a goodbye. Today I would like to know why God thinks it’s fair for me to go through such heartbreak twice in two years. First the one I’d loved for six years walks out on our relationship because he was “tired and just doesn’t want to be in the relationship anymore.” Now you here you are, gone…without a trace.

Was I wrong to love you in the first place? Is this my punishment for turning a friendship into a romantic relationship? Somehow I feel that I was disobedient. Somehow I feel that God had not wanted me to be with you at that point in time. If this is the case then why then did it feel so right? Why then is every moment I’ve spent with you etched in my heart and painted vividly with yellows, oranges, pinks and some bright blues? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a season and time for every matter under the sun.” Was it just never the time for us? Ironic though how you were the one that once quoted this scripture to me. Why did you not add, “oh honey, this scripture applies to us too.”

I have so many questions I want to ask you. Not least of all being, why did you turn what was a beautiful friendship into a relationship knowing that you would not take care of me like you did as my friend? Was it just greed on your part? Was it that you just couldn’t bear the thought of someone else loving me? You knew the kind of pain that I had recently gone through and you said it yourself that you had never wanted to hurt me. Why did you then?

I will not be melodramatic and say that  I will never love another the way I have loved you because that would probably be a lie. I will not tear a page from a story book and say I have never loved another as much as I love you because guess what? I have loved so many others and I continue to love others each and every day. I guess that’s the beauty of a human heart, even when it feels like it is so weary that it will just never function the same again, it just surprises you because it just keeps pumping blood and supplying life to your whole body and as much as you are an unwilling participant, you find yourself doing exactly what you swore you’d never do again….loving another.

While for me the other is by no means another man, I love so many things even as I profess deep heartache. I love my friends, I love my siblings, I love the God who created me. I love Him because like Psalm 139:16 says, ” Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being.” How wonderful is that knowledge that even before I had left my mother’s womb, the Lord knew the kind of pain that I would be in on this very day…25 years 8 months after my birth. Should He have stopped it? The immature Christian in me, shouts YES before I can even finish typing the question. Let me be real for one moment, I got myself into this situation! I was the one seeking a relationship, I am hurting today because of the very choices I made.

I cannot go a single day thinking of you. As cruel as it may sound I wish I had never met you. Though yes that would deprive me of the life’s lesson’s I was supposed to have learnt through my encounter with you, still in my defiance I say, “I wish I had never met you!” Let’s reverse time to that fateful Saturday morning when I was sitting in a lecture and I turned around and there you were walking into the back of the room wearing your rugby jersey and blue jeans. Then we would have no need to erase all the encounters that followed, all of which I could recall on request. If there was any justice in this world, I would be able to erase the day you officially stepped into my life as my boyfriend. Blot it out of existence! I think that is the only way I could feel like my heart could resume its normal pace.

After all’s been said and done, I love you. I don’t understand why but I just do. I wish I could say I didn’t but then what would be the point in lying? Because of this overwhelming pain I feel I am incapable of reaching any point where I feel happy. I take my antidepressants like I’m supposed to and even that doesn’t help keep me out of this pit of despair that I am in. Sure I smile on que when I am around people. Yes I crack jokes. On a good day you might just find me actually putting in a good couple of hours of work. But does that change the fact that sometimes it hurts so bad I feel physical pain in my chest? Does it change the fact that every time my phone makes a sound I still wish it was you? No it doesn’t! As pathetic as it is…I love you and I won’t stop loving you today but someday I will!