“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” ~ Psalm 119:71
It’s been five years. Five years since I met the man who would change my life and my perspective on so many things in less than a 2 month time period. And while it doesn’t seem that long ago, this past Saturday actually marked 5 years since he died – since he was killed, actually.
It’s kind of amazing how time works. There are days when it feels like I met him a million years ago. Like the girl who I was at that time wouldn’t even recognize me. Like it was another life being lived, and I only watched it on TV. And then there are times when it seems like just yesterday that this cute, tall, dark chocolate drop of goodness slipped me his phone number in one of DC’s most popular eateries. He was so slick about it, in fact, that for a minute, I didn’t realize it had happened. It wasn’t until I walked out that I noticed the receipt that read “Simply beautiful. Call me.” It listed his number and name, and that was it.
I naturally thought this man was a smooth operator and was not to be trusted. Who could be that slick and not be a shyster, right? It should be noted that I met him at a time when I was beyond jaded about the men in my life. I didn’t trust anyone, and without realizing it, I’d created this slightly dark and twisty outlook. I didn’t want people to hug me. I didn’t like cuddling. And most importantly, I didn’t believe anything any man said to me. Anything.
And yet, over the course of 2 months, this man knocked 90% of those walls down. I don’t know how he did it. One day I was doubting that he even actually knew who I was, (When I was finally convinced to call him, I argued him down that he probably gave that message to several women and didn’t actually know who was calling him. I shut up when he described my entire outfit and gave a very accurate description of me, down to the freckles on my face and the nail polish I had on.) and the next thing I knew we were texting each other silly high school ish like, ‘just thinking about you boo,’ and ‘I heard this song today that reminded me about you.’
Somehow, this man had taken me (dragging and screaming, mind you) to the point where I was not only ok with seeing him everyday, I wanted to. To where I was growing comfortable with having honest and vulnerable conversations with him. And then, of course, out of nowhere, it was all gone.
For the longest time, I reverted back to the shut off person that he’d met in 2007. I went back to not wanting any physical contact of a comforting nature, always fearful that I would start crying at any moment and not be able to stop. I’d locked all my feelings about the situation inside, and if possible, actually became more closed off than I was before. Ironically, at one point, I even got a tattoo to symbolize a reminder to myself of why it was important to keep my heart open (because time is not promised to any of us), but that tattoo didn’t actually serve its purpose. It just sat there as a reminder of what I wasn’t doing; how I wasn’t honoring what he’d taught me.
Today though, five years later, I can finally say that I get it. I don’t always get it right, but I get it. And I think that’s part of the reason I don’t just remember the horrible, empty feeling I felt when he passed. I can now remember all of the good that came from our time together. I can now remember his infectious laugh and smile about it. And I can meet a man these days and not be afraid to ‘put myself out there’ with him. Montana taught me that life’s too short to be insular and afraid of love, and everyday I’m alive, I’m thankful to God for having brought him into my life.
It’s because of him that I appreciate all of my relationships more. I don’t take my friends for granted the way I did before. I cherish the little moments I have with my family. And I thank God every day for this life he’s allowed me to have. It may not be perfect or always go the way I want it to, but it’s special, it’s had some fabulous moments, and it’s still continuing.
Happy Thanksgiving guys! May you have a very blessed day with your loved ones. I surely plan to.
PS: This will be the last blog post for this week, but come back bright and early Monday morning for the next post (or spend some time perusing through the archives – you never know what old goodies you might find)! Love ya 🙂