When People Walk Out

2 12 2013

I’m sure you’ve been left before.  I am sure that there has been someone in your life that has left you.  I’m sure someone has broke your heart and left.  I am not alone in heartbreak, there are tons of songs and tons of poems and movies and TV shows that deal with the subject of leaving.  This is real pain, when he walks out, despite your every protest.  This rips you into pieces when that girl that promised that she’d never leave, walks right out that door, and doesn’t even look back.  People leave sometimes.  That’s just a fact of life. 

I’ve been left.  I’m gonna get a little personal here, and if you’re mentioned here, don’t take it personally, this is not your story and it’s not anything other than my story.  The first time I was left, it was actually when my biological mother kicked me out.  I was homeless.  This was after months and months, years even, of emotional abuse, an atmosphere of fear and control.  I was told to leave, that I no longer had a mom…and no longer had a home.  All I had were the clothes that I had packed, and the car I was driving at the time.  To make matters worse, I apparently wasn’t moving fast enough, so she started breaking the glass in my dad’s shotgun case…I didn’t stick around to see what would’ve happened if she actually got the gun out.  The second time I can remember, I was in this relationship with a person who meant alot to me.  I recognized that if I continued on this course, that life as I knew it, would change, and I wasn’t quite ready for that change just yet.  This person left, because I wasn’t ready.  They left because I wouldn’t be ready for a few years.  I met a girl in college, and she became a fast friend.  We were connected not only personally, but spiritually.  It is because of her that I grew so much in college in a spiritual sense, because she challenged me.  She didn’t always agree with me, but she would challenge me to make sure that I knew why I thought what I believed, and why I believed what I thought.  Eventually, we both realized that this wasn’t going to work out.  There was one thing that I was, that she could not reconcile me with that one thing.  And I pushed her out the door, and she didn’t look back.  I was in a relationship about a year ago, and the person I was with, got scared, realized the relationship was more serious than they wanted it to be, and they left.  Then they left again, when I was honest with them and told them exactly why it would never work out between us.  And they left.  There are several more stories of me being left, but I think you get the point. 

Why do people leave?  This is a question that I posed to a very dear friend of mine.  And the only response she had was the following quote:

“You keep listening to those that seem to reject you. But they never speak about you. They speak about their limitations. They confess their poverty in the face of your needs and desires. They simply ask for your compassion. They do not say that you are bad, ugly, or despicable. They only say that you are asking for something they cannot give and that they need to get some distance from you to survive emotionally. The sadness is that you perceive their necessary withdrawal as a rejection of you instead of as a call to return home and discover there your true belovedness.” -Henri Nouwen

 

I cannot say it more clearer than that.  You see, initially, I realized that all of these people left me.  They left ME.  What was the problem with me?  Why could they not handle staying?  But then, this quote, which has become more and more beloved with each time I meditate upon it….it says that should a person leave…it’s not your fault.  It has nothing to do with you.  Instead, it has everything to do with other people, those who left.  They gave up, they cannot give you what you’re asking from them, it’s just not one of their capabilities…and in order to flourish, in order to be okay, they have to distance themselves from you. 

Let me use an example from my life:  Four and a half years ago, a very dear friend was taken from me.  In many ways, this was the first time that death became personal to me.  I struggled.  I really had to endure pain as I’d never encountered it so before.  A very special friend died.  I didn’t know how to cope.  I didn’t know what to do.  I would cry, scream and pout that this beloved person was taken away from me.  I tried to live my life, I tried to move on, but it just wouldn’t happen.  And I had this friend, who just told me to “suck it up” and “move on.”  They told me my grief was irrational, because they knew that I would see them in heaven, and that I just needed to grow up and not be so selfish.  I grieved for a really long time.  The longer I grieved, the less important the friendship became, because in the end, I realized that this friend truly did not know how personal grief is, and had never experienced true pain like this, and was incapable of relating to me and relationshipping with me.  And so she left.  What I was going through, she could not handle and imagine, and did not understand. 

Sometimes, it’s tempting to look after the one who is leaving, to attempt to drag on their coattails, hoping they’ll stay.  Sometimes, it’s easy to look at the person who is leaving you, while forgetting to look for the new person that has come to take their place.  Sure, sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to have not let that person walk out the door, to stand there and fight for them, fight for them to stay in my life.  But here’s the thing, if someone is leaving, it’s best to just let them go.  They can’t give you what you need, and so, let them go.  Instead of grieving over what has left, take a look around, look at the people and things that haven’t ever considered leaving you, and hold on to those instead. 

Those who leave were never apart of your destiny.  If someone is supposed to be in your life to see your destiny fulfilled, they cannot leave, and they won’t leave when given an option.  If someone is able to so easily walk out of your life without a second look, they were never a part of the destiny you have.  Let them go.  Don’t try to make them stick around, don’t fight for them, stand up, and take a good look around, and recognize that if these people are meant to be a part of your destiny, they’re not going anywhere.

I considered leaving someone once.  It was a few years ago.  Me and this person were going through an extremely rough time.  And I considered walking out on them, leaving, because the relationship was just stress and rough times.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t.  Something inside me knew that this person was a part of my life, and I was supposed to be a part of this person’s life.  Something inside of me knew that I was connected to this person for the rest of my life.  Since, we’ve left that rough place in our relationship, and are currently enjoying peace and connectedness, and wisdom and support, regardless of what’s going on.  I have since learned that leaving is not quite so easy, when your destiny is tied to that person. 

They left us, but they were never really with us.  If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end.  In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.  -1 John 2:19 (MSG)

 

I just recently found this passage of scripture.  It has been really powerful to me.  In context, the writer of 1 John is talking about those who are not a part of the body of Christ, and those who have abandoned the faith, but I think it can also apply to those with whom we share our lives with.  If the people we share our lives with are supposed to be with us, and are supposed to be a part of our lives for a really, really long time…then they will never leave.  Should they leave, then that is the moment that we know that they are not supposed to be with us for the long haul, because they are not equipped with whatever it is that we need, in order to be successful and thrive in this relationship.  Should a person leave, don’t look longingly out of the door, don’t go through their facebook pictures, don’t lament and moan and groan over the fact that they are gone, simply know that they’re not part of your long-term life, and move on!  Don’t be hung up on someone who is clearly and obviously not hung up on you!  Don’t long for what was, and don’t ponder the “what-ifs,” go on!  Get a move on!  Grow up!  They couldn’t possibly give you what you need and what you’re asking for from them, so why do you want them in your life???  Go on!  Have the courage to make that break and look forward to what is coming!  Have the courage to make a break with that past and move on!  Do not let the unanswered questions of today hold you back from your destiny.

But Mary Beth, I love them.  Don’t you dare say that!  Don’t you dare use love as an excuse to allow yourself to be drug around by someone’s coattails, don’t you dare use love as a reason to be all depressed.  If someone is going to leave you, let them walk!  If a person truly loves you so deeply and personally, they’ll be unable to walk away.  If someone truly loves you and is truly capable of being everything you want in a person, they won’t consider leaving you for a moment, they won’t be capable of it.  Let them walk!!!  If they won’t look back at what they’re leaving, you should not waste your time with them.  Pull yourself up, pull yourself together and recognize that something greater is coming.  It may not be a person, but something greater is coming, and that is part of your destiny, that is closer to the life you’re going to live for a really long time. 

Learn to recognize the difference between people who are tied to your destiny and people who are seasonal.  Both are important, I truly believe this.  Some of the friends I’ve had for a season have been some of the most valuable and refreshing relationships I’ve ever had.  I treasure those moments, and I am so grateful that we had that time together.  I define seasonal people as the relationships you have for awhile, and then for some reason or another, the relationship  ceases to exist.  Nothing blew up or caught fire.  It just was no more.  But those people with whom you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with…you know it.  Something invigorates your soul in being around them.  You have a spark, that connection that you just simply cannot let go of, for whatever reason.  Some people define the seasonal people as those with whom you live and share life with for awhile, but then you don’t.  This can include those people that walked out.  Regardless of your definition of seasonal people, either way, there comes a time where the relationship is no more.  Not every person you meet is tied to your destiny.  And that’s okay.  It’s not a bad thing.  There’s a peace in knowing whether the relationship is seasonal or “destinal.”  And if they’re seasonal, recognize the value of what it is, when it is, and understand with compassion, when it becomes no more, and is no longer a part of your life.  Let them peacefully go.  Don’t cause havok, but let them go and chase the people who are a part of their destiny, as you chase those who are a part of yours. 

Sometimes, relationships last.  Sometimes they don’t.  As the old Adele song says:  “Sometimes it lasts in love, and sometimes it hurts instead.”  And when they don’t, this is the very time to recognize that you need to get out of that bed, get off of that couch and go live your life without them, while you wait for that person or people with whom your destiny is tied to!  Do not allow yourself to get discouraged!  Remember this, you are far too amazing to beg someone to stay with you.  If you have to beg someone to stay with you, then they’re not supposed to be with you!  Look for those people who already recognize how awesome you are and don’t need to be told why you’re so amazing!!  Go forth! 

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3 responses

3 12 2013
Amber Pruitt Bowman

Wow! Very powerful!!!

” They left ME. What was the problem with me? Why could they not handle staying? But then, this quote, which has become more and more beloved with each time I meditate upon it….it says that should a person leave…it’s not your fault. It has nothing to do with you. Instead, it has everything to do with other people, those who left.” Yes. YES!

“I considered leaving someone once. It was a few years ago. Me and this person were going through an extremely rough time. And I considered walking out on them, leaving, because the relationship was just stress and rough times. But I didn’t. I didn’t. Something inside me knew that this person was a part of my life, and I was supposed to be a part of this person’s life. Something inside of me knew that I was connected to this person for the rest of my life. Since, we’ve left that rough place in our relationship, and are currently enjoying peace and connectedness, and wisdom and support, regardless of what’s going on. I have since learned that leaving is not quite so easy, when your destiny is tied to that person” Is this who I think it is? I’m sure it could be someone else, but it definitely stuck out to me. If it’s who I think it is, then I can say, aww 🙂

“Learn to recognize the difference between people who are tied to your destiny and people who are seasonal”. Mhmm.

“Remember this, you are far too amazing to beg someone to stay with you. If you have to beg someone to stay with you, then they’re not supposed to be with you! ” That’s so deep it’s worthy of a facebook status! haha.

I think all of these things you have shared here are true and are reflections of biblical principles. When you truly love your neighbor as yourself, you never give up on someone. You can transition the relationship if you have to, to keep your own sanity, but you never throw your hands up and walk away for good. Sometimes we have to love people from a distance, if they’re in a very unhealthy place, but we never give up. It’s like Christ. He stays. He doesn’t say, “You know, you’ve just been too dirty today. You’ve had too many bad thoughts and you’ve really gotten on my nerves today. See ya!” I love that promise, that he WILL raise me up on the last day, as scripture says. He stays with us, not because WE are necessarily something special, but because HE is.

Like you said, when someone leaves you, it has NOTHING to do with you. It is usually that they are in a battle with themselves.

5 12 2013
deafragamuffin

I figured you’d like it.

7 12 2013
When People Stay | deafragamuffin

[…] Note:  Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post entitled “When People Walk Out” and in this post, it talks about when people leave you, and do so without looking back, and […]

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