“Where one story ends another begins.”
I knew something was coming as I could sense I would be sharing this story for several weeks now but I couldn’t imagine how I would be telling it nor how I was to be this open with everyone, therefore, I chose to keep my mouth shut and not write until He told me to …
…Here we are …
For the first time in over a week, I am lying in my bed and not watching an episode of Downton Abbey. The reason for this is that I have completely started and finished the series in a week’s time. What can I say? Go big or go home! Now for those who are not familiar with Downton Abbey, I should share that there were only 5 seasons and 9 episodes per season. Each episode lasted 45 minutes to an hour, give or take a 2 hour Christmas special. Kudos to those who actually watched the show while it was in production … I would have been so frustrated with only 9 episodes per season.
This show literally had me feeling “all the feels” … anger, joy, disappointment, heartbreak … all of it. I did not cry in some of those episodes that most have cried in but I could have. This is why I am accused of being heartless. Ha! There was very little language and I truly mean very little. They did touch on immoral issues but unlike today’s television show’s they were not issues to be celebrated but things to overcome. They showed how everyone, no matter their background, should be treated with love and respect. I will be watching this show again and again for years to come. It was not anything that I had expected and I am so glad.
I have never been one to become emotionally invested in a TV show. I like television but it’s entertainment. What I did not expect was to see myself in the three daughters of Downton Abbey. And lest you think I have visions of grandeur for myself, I do not. It was their faults and/or weaknesses that I seemed to resonate with the most. While I do not want to give away too much of the show to those who have not watched it I am about to become more specific with a few details.
I saw myself in Lady Mary’s coolness in her attempt to mask her feelings and her frequent regret over her sharp tongue. The sharp tongue is something I have worked hard, by the grace of God, to overcome over the course of my roaring 20s. In Lady Sybil, I see the war between doing what is right and wanting to rebel at the same time. Thankfully, she finds the right balance of being able to honor her family and stick to her convictions as well. For me, that was growing up in the ministry but still being my own person (i.e. not allowing everyone’s opinions on how I should dress, color my hair or when I wanted a break from singing in the choir determine my decisions). Finally, there is Lady Edith. Oh, Lady Edith. Lady Edith really struck a nerve with me. While I could not identify with her issues in seasons 3 and 4, I saw myself in her in seasons 1 and 2. I have never been more annoyed! I saw her chasing after a man and not taking the hint to leave him alone … it was all I could do to not groan out loud in frustration.
I spent 10 years of my life basically in love with a man who did not love me back … at least he wasn’t in love with me. We were friends. I still remember the first day I met him. I have movie reel in my mind that I can pull up at any moment and play through various memories of those first conversations. His smile. His laugh. His look in those first few years. Those first years when it seemed that something might form from our innocent friendship. Moments when there was flirtation coming from him. Then something would happen and I’d watch him shut down. So I would chink away at the wall he had put up again.
I had looked for the “signs” as all good Baptists do. You know the ones I am talking about … things that the world would call coincidence but believers know are of God and had found them. I could even find biblical significance in the number of years that we had been friends and so forth. I was that desperate for this to work. He was everything I had imagined for myself, except for a few things. He was “the one”. I knew it. Others seemed to know it. He just didn’t know it.
I dated some in between but my heart always his. I was finally challenged by a friend to ask the Lord for him. So I did. I got down on my face and asked the Lord. I called it my “bold request”. It took a few months but it became clear one night that I would never mean to him what he meant to me. He was never rude and it wasn’t anything he said or did. In fact, it was what he didn’t say and he didn’t do that told me everything I needed to know I remember leaving the dinner that night absolutely crushed.
We are still friends to this day but it is one of the many reasons why I do not have close guy friends anymore. The water can become too murky. Invariably one will end up wanting something more. My best girlfriends are the ones allowed into my soul and they, in turn, now help me to “hide my crazy” when it comes to men. I am sure he had to of known because I was as subtle as Lady Edith was or a bull in a china shop but he was always so kind to me. It is for that reason and so many more that he will always mean the world to me but he no longer has my heart. He hasn’t had it for some time. I just couldn’t see it or simply refused to see it, because, like with so many other things, it feels like another death of a dream. But, instead, I am thankful for the things the Lord taught me through those 10 years of being “in love” with him and for the things my friend taught me as it only increased my faith.
It is funny how a television show was able to help me finally bring that chapter of my life to a close but it has. So here’s to moving on … not necessarily to bigger and better because this isn’t a negative thing or bitter situation but simply in a manner more surrendered and less spastic! I’m looking forward to the days and years ahead because of this promise that I have from the Lord … a promise that doesn’t require a sign because I can enter His presence with just the whisper of His precious name.
I love you all!