That night changed everything.
She was only a child and didn't fully understand the circumstances that had led to that night. At 25, she still didn't entirely know. What she did know was that trust and hope went up in flames.
She convinced herself she was fine. Saying, "I'm fine" with a fake smile became a reflex and a real smile came very difficultly. They became few and far between. She became so good at it, no one even noticed a difference between real and fake. She even managed to convince herself she was fine. She was just sucking it up, dealing with it, handling life, and moving on. None of which are necessarily bad.
When used as a defense mechanism, they can cause more harm than good.
She went on with life clinging to her, "I'm fines" and, "No worries". When she got to college, she began to slowly hope. She had even more friends and a few saw straight through her facade.
One day, she met someone. He gave her attention, focused it all on her. She felt like the center of his universe. She dared to hope even more. He reminded her of another young man. His over-sized t-shirts still in her pajama drawer. That young man, with his packed up car, left and she had felt helpless.
She didn't want to be/feel helpless again. Subconsciously, she determined to help him, fix him, keep the past from happening again. She opened up and allowed herself to fall in love. The red flags were everywhere but she ignored them. She was going to get it right this time no matter what.
But it was not meant to be.
She was forcing something that he wasn't ready for. She pushed too hard and realized too late her mistake. The day he left, was another moment she would never forget.
It was the end of one of many long days of class and work. He had come over just as he had every night that semester. As they sat relaxing on the couch, he asked a question. He was looking for an argument and she fell into his trap. Their argument grew louder. Soon her roommates became caught up in it.
He was losing and the truth of all those ignored red flags came crashing in with a deafening awkward silence full of glares and heavy breaths. With that it was over. He left. Without another word he was gone.
With that, all her new-found hope and trust dissolved. Flashes of over-sized t-shirts and a packed car flew through her mind and into her dreams.
She had failed again. She felt utterly defeated. There was no hope and no one to trust. The next two years sped by in a blur of KFC mac & cheese, ice cream, and extreme slothfulness. Without hope she felt lost and extremely afraid.
Then, at a Singles camp out, she met someone who reminded her where true hope comes from and in whom she can always trust.
Thus the healing process has begun. It is a slow process, but one that is worth the journey.
"Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear"