I knew he would not like my reply to his text. I hit “send” anyway.
It was unexpected as unexpected can be. But in it held all the hope in my heart and possibility of the love I longed for all my life.
His text read: I can’t go back to Africa without seeing you. It came two weeks after I had arrived to Ecuador, my new home.
See, we had said goodbye to our relationship of nearly two years via email in October. Me in the US and him still back in Africa. The extra strain on our relationship from me needing to flee our home in Africa, my work—and him—because of the Ebola outbreak, and then my father’s passing a couple months later, was more than our love could take. We thought we had seen the toughest of times before that, living in the fourth-poorest nation on earth, battling corruption, and dealing with threats; the faces of poverty wearing us as thin as they were, at times; and me, starting over in my career, starting our new relationship. But the biggest test was yet to come. And we had failed.
The courage I found in my heart to continue on with my dream to move Ecuador, though without him by my side, could only have come from the divine strength I receive daily from the Angels all around me. My plans were set. I would not lose hope. At age 49 and with two divorces behind me, I would open again to love. I would keep working through my own patterns in relationship that stop me from experiencing what the Angels whisper is still awaiting me. And I would trust in those heart whispers that drive me onward. My plane tickets were purchased for a flight from Los Angeles to Dallas—where I could hop into my storage unit to change out my Liberia-life suitcases for my Ecuador-life suitcases—and then on to Ecuador. My new life.
However, before I departed for Ecuador, the Angels had their first big surprise for me.
I had called him after I received an insight about the way I had learned (unconsciously) to set up my man to fail me in relationship. (This was part of the blessing I received through my Daddy’s passing. It’s a powerful thing when a parent dies. And it can support our own healing if we allow it.) I called him to take responsibility for that and to say: “I’m sorry. I’m letting you off the hook for being the one who disappointed me.” I said, “I love you still, and I am also clear that I want and need my man to be able to take responsibility for how he shows up, too, and do his own work in the relationship. So, I’m moving on . . . I’m heading to Ecuador as planned, without you, but you’ll always remain in my heart.”
“When are you leaving?” he asked, still thousands of miles across the sea in Africa.
There was a short pause after I told him my plans, and he said, “You’ll be in Dallas, then you’re flying through Houston to Ecuador?”
“I’ve already bought my ticket. I’ll be in Houston at the same time.” We were both silent. I heard the whisper of Angels in the silence : It’s your opportunity for closure and new beginnings for you both.
So, listening, I said, “I think fate has stepped in. We can’t be in the same place after all we’ve been through and not see each other. It’s important to see each other face to face, do you agree?”
He said, “Can I come get you in Dallas and take you to Houston for your flight?”
“Yes. It would make me very happy for you to do that for me. It will give us time together, and it will save me the hassle of figuring out a way down there, which I haven’t yet. Thank you.”
We spent three days together in Houston before my departure date. Three days—after months like years, and miles apart—and the instant we were together, we could both feel the love; it was still there. But I was now committed to more than love. I had vowed to myself to stay committed to growth and to a life with a man who is willing to meet me there. So we parted at the Houston airport as friends after talking, screaming, crying, and laughing through what we both needed, face to face. I had the closure the Angels had promised me. And I entered Ecuador feeling empowered, loved, free, open to love in a greater capacity than I ever had been, open to the new chapter that was about to unfold.
So when I received his text, maybe you’ll understand now why I didn’t just say, Okay, great! When are you coming?
Though my heart was practically beating outside of my chest, I needed more than to know he still loved me.
My reply to his text infuriated him. I wasn’t trying to play a game or toy with his emotions when I replied, “So what are you saying?” But I challenged his words, which, from my perspective, formed an incomplete thought, even though I knew the intention behind his words was real. There was a huge reason I did a 180 on my life and said goodbye to the man I believed with all my heart was my True Love, goodbye to our dream of “Ecuador-and-Forever”—it was a gut-wrenching decision, not to mention terrifying. So I stood in my decision to be with a man willing to do the work with me in our relationship.
I was no longer willing to play a guessing game or put my heart somewhere it doesn’t feel safe. He needed to tell me what he wanted (I want to see you), why he wanted it (I can’t live without you), and what he was going to do about it (I’m coming for you before I go to Africa—I’ll be there on the soonest flight I can get . . . ). Period. See, I learned along the way that I used to do this work for him—it was my own pattern in relationships that kept me from truly experiencing the man I wanted and loved as my safe haven. By doing so, I cheated a man out of stepping into the true power of his masculine presence for his woman and cheated myself out of the true longing of my heart!
The only decisions that get made for me today are ones that are clearly in alignment with who I am now; no backtracking and dancing around what “might be.” And between him and me there was still much uncertainty. Though part of me wanted to leap into the ending song from Cinderella once she had gotten her prince, my wiser inner sage, who had recently taken care of herself and who had been willing to let him and The Dream go and begin anew, wasn’t going to jump without more—that’s all there was to it.
And what I hoped and prayed, since the time I met him, and even after the time I said That’s enough back in October, to now, was that he would step into that miracle mile of a new commitment to us—one that could stand the test of time. But I was no longer willing to be the one to lead us there. I needed him to make the move on his own, without any encouragement from me.
He said, “I’m coming to see you.”
This might be it, I thought, allowing myself to be hopeful. Then the next thought came. It will take another miracle, Angels. We’ve taken some very big steps, both of us, since we met; but this . . . this would be the biggest yet. This man, who hates flying, was choosing to fly from the United States to Ecuador for just six days, then back to the states, then turn around and fly across the globe through Europe to Africa, where he was expected to return from his leave. Plus, I’d have to sit in the uncertainty that in just six days, after months apart, we could somehow rekindle our purpose and passion, and that there would be some real shift occur that would bring forward what I was clear I wanted and needed—a deeper commitment. Tall order. And I knew my job was to let go of expectations and just be present, moment to moment, with the truth in my heart.
His plane arrived a little late, or maybe I had just been too early—so anxious to see him, as if it were our first reunion. The minutes dragged, and I tried to speed them by practicing Spanish with some locals awaiting their loved ones, hardly taking my eyes from the baggage area doorway. I can still see him in my mind’s eye as he rounded the corner, as much as I can feel the sting of tears in my eyes. It was like living a dream when he grabbed me, met my wet eyes with his own, and kissed me. “Bienvenidos mi amor,” (Welcome to Ecuador, my love), I giggled.
The dream felt alive and renewed with him at my side in Ecuador. But it still took another four days for the miracle I had prayed for to occur.
It was the day after my birthday. The days leading up to it were fun, and we focused on how it felt to be together in our dream location. But there was still something missing. My birthday (the first one we were together for) had been a beautiful day of being loved by nature and horses in the exquisite magic of the Andes, but a disaster in love and what mattered to me most—connection and feeling his presence; the expression of his heart and truth toward me. (For men reading this, a quick side note: This is all that matters to most women, and it’s the only thing that will open a woman and make her feel safe inside—your masculine strength. She craves it because she can’t get that from within herself; it’s what she needs from you. And when she has that, she will innately serve you as though you were a king! Ahem. More on that for another blog! Back to my story . . . ) It became a day of triggering past wounds (both his and mine), and we spiraled into hell, so that no matter what he tried to do (flowers, dinner), I was happy with none of it. We went to sleep that night not with love in our hearts but with contempt. And as my head hit the pillow, I vowed to have him on the first plane out of there in the morning.
When the light of day came, I lay awake and felt the feelings of anger, betrayal, disappointment resurfacing. So I prayed: Angels, please support us. Please soften both of our hearts to allow in the truth. And Angels, please work on his heart. Create an opening for what I know is there, stuck behind hurt, pain, and fear. Help me; I do not want to be the one, yet again, to be the first to say I’m sorry, to be the first to forgive. I need him to come to clarity of his depth of love for me and us on his own. Give me the strength to deal with this lovingly.
I got out of bed without a word, though I knew he was awake, too. I put on my clothes; fed and walked Barnaby; made the coffee and brought him a cup, setting it next to the bed; and walked out of the room. I grabbed my journal and began to write. I knew that, in bringing him that cup of coffee, I had moved from anger to compassion (though I still was feeling hurt) and had made the first peace offering—and he would know that. It’s kind of a sign we’ve had the last two years; after a fight, if there was no coffee there for him, he knew it was really bad and I wasn’t yet back in my heart.
He came into the living room, and I got up to get another cup of coffee. No words, just tears in my eyes. He followed me to the kitchen and turned me around from the counter. When our eyes met, I saw such deep sorrow as I had never felt from him before. “I know I fucked up; I’m sorry,” he began his apology. He described to me how he had recalled his eighteenth birthday, when a friend he was hanging out with said, at six o’clock that evening, “Hey, isn’t it your birthday?” And he had replied, “Yeah, I guess it is,” without feeling or showing any care one way or another, having not received a single call from his parents or family. This was a pattern that had begun in his early teens (or even earlier, he doesn’t remember) and has lasted throughout his life. It has ruined birthdays and holidays for him. I remembered how much he resisted me throwing him a birthday party the previous year, for his fiftieth. Looking into my eyes, he told me he knew what he should have done—and what I had wanted from the first moment we awoke—but just didn’t do, and he hadn’t realized the depth of the result of his hidden pain until now. Peering deeply into his eyes, I said, “I’m so sorry baby—I’m so sorry you weren’t ever celebrated the way you deserve to be.” Tears filled his eyes and his heart cracked open.
Our embrace was long, and then he released enough to look me in the eyes and say, “I know I haven’t communicated enough of what’s in my heart. You deserve more from me. I’ve got some makin’- it-up-to-you to do, don’t I?” “Yeah,” I chuckled. “I want to do that—forever,” he said.
“What do you mean, baby?”
“You are the only woman I’ve ever really loved; I don’t have any doubts any more. They’re gone. I’m committed to you. I love you.” My heart completely cracked open. I could feel his truth from his heart—he was here with me.
“Baby, I’m leaving in two days. But I’m coming back to you—to us. Do you want to find us our home?”
“Really? Are you sure?” I queried grinning from ear to ear.
“Yes. I’ve never been more sure. Find it for us—let’s do it.” I shrieked and jumped in his arms.
I found our new home in Ecuador five days after he left. Sight unseen, and “trusting my Goddess” as he says, he wired the money.
We still have a journey apart—minus a short vacation or two—until he completes his mission in Africa. But our love now grows without doubt, without fear, and with an immense gratitude for our true love journey. When it comes to love, there’s nothing that can stop it if it’s real. Guess we got to put our love to the ultimate test (for now). Life gives us peaks, valleys, and plains until we die. The only thing that gets us through any stage is commitment. In a previous blog (The Recurring Resurrection of Love) I shared that there was always a “question dancing on our lips,” because we still had the work to do (both of us) to get to the commitment we have now. And there is more discovery yet to unfold. But this time, we are committed to the discovery together. After all, finding true love isn’t a destination—it’s a beginning.
May your day be filled with miracles.
Dance, Love, Smile… Spryte