After 2½ years of grieving, I’ve decided to consider dating. But not without a great deal of trepidation. After investing forty years into a relationship, I fully understand the cost. That love is a risk and not all roses and champagne. As much as it satisfies, it can also hurt.
I’d become so comfortable being Tim’s wife. I liked the security and looked forward to settling into our senior years together. We were at peace with each other’s failures, eliminating the need to discuss them. And we deeply relished our successes. His loss wiped out the vision I had for my future.
So a large part of me wants to tuck myself in at night and protect my vulnerability. To thwart off any potential rejection before it creeps in. After all, do I even know how to build a relationship from the ground up?
At my age, I’m not sure I can control my emotions. I’m not sure the reasonable side of my mind can lead the feeling side. That I can logically evaluate a persons life experiences and choose wisely. Can I even follow the relationship advice I gave my children?
But somehow, that all feels too judgmental. Because, if I’m going to size up a man based on his failures, then in turn, he’s free to do likewise with me. And at my age, who hasn’t failed? At least in some part of their relationships.
And do I want someone to judge me on the sum of my short comings? Or, am I allowed to show how those experiences molded and shaped me into a better version of myself?
Many people my age are picking up the pieces of broken lives. And like Tim and me, they’re adding them up and applying the necessary grace to move into a very difficult season. But if those around them continue to hold them to the fire of their short comings, what does that tell us about the God who ultimately redeemed us all?
So, I think I’ll not look at a man’s failures, but seek to understand what he has learned about himself. After all, I know exactly what I would do differently with Tim. I know how I hurt him, and I’m committed to not go down that path again.
It takes a lot of grace to go the distance in any relationship. And if God counted the cost up front, would mankind ever have existed? What if it pleases Him when His children remember the grace offered them, by passing it on to others?
For that grace heals those deep wounds. It binds us together at the foot of the cross. And it reminds us, we can never give more than what has already been given.