Coming full circle with the worst breakups

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By Nancy Kennedy

When I was 12 I went steady with Paul Minardi.
He gave me his blue St. Christopher’s medal, which is what boys gave their girlfriends back then, back before St. Christopher was de-sainted.
I don’t remember how long we went steady, only that he broke up with me and shattered my 12-year-old heart.
It was the Worst. Breakup. Ever.
Until the next one, that is.
I sobbed and mourned and grieved over the marriage and family I would never have with him, which probably made my parents and siblings want to stuff me in a soundproof rubber room.
Yes, Mr. Neil Sedaka, breaking up is hard to do.
I broke up with my hairdresser once. Ever since I found her when we first moved to Florida in 1991, I followed her wherever she went, from salon to salon. She even cut my hair at her house for a few years.
At one point, however, our schedules wouldn’t mesh and I had to sever our relationship. I called her, told her, “It’s not you — it’s me,” and found someone else.
I didn’t like the new hairdresser nearly as much as my ex, and every time my ex saw me, she, too, wished we hadn’t broken up. Neither of us liked the way my hair looked.
Eventually, our schedules worked out and we got back together.
On BeliefNet.com, Jason Boyett writes a blog called “O Me of Little Faith: On Doubt, Christianity, Culture and Writing.”
Last December he invited people to write guest blogs about doubt and its impact on them personally. His friend Nicole Wick wrote one about breakups.
She began by saying she had had a “long and illustrious history of being in the wrong relationship with the wrong man at the wrong time” and had experienced her share of bad breakups.
“But none compares to my absolute, dead worst breakup of all,” she wrote. “During the summer of 2005, I broke up with God.”
She described it as surprisingly amicable. She wasn’t angry, just felt her prayers weren’t getting her anywhere and that things between them just weren’t working for her anymore.
She told God, “It’s not you — it’s me, except that it really is you. I need my space. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
She said he took it quite well and didn’t make a scene.
Prior to that, Wick and her husband were going through their third separation and she was utterly exhausted from pouring her heart out to God, asking him to heal their dysfunction, but nothing changed.
Unlike some of Boyett’s other guest bloggers, she never doubted God’s existence, but she doubted his goodness and his willingness to answer her prayers.
“And yet, in my doubt I loved him,” she wrote.
After the breakup, Wick called a friend and asked her to pray for her, since she wouldn’t be praying for herself, and began her silent treatment with the God of the universe.
Wick said the breakup only lasted three months, shorter than the breakup with her husband.
She said that when they got back together, that’s when she discovered that he had never stopped loving her the whole entire time she had turned her back on him.
She learned that he’s OK with doubt, that he can handle it. He doesn’t fall apart, is not vengeful with his own.
“I learned that he is a big, big God, capable of handling my angry words and my criticism,” she wrote. “I learned that his arm is long enough to let me go and explore my faith, or my lack thereof, all the while keeping me within his reach.”
She said she learned that Psalm 86:15 is no joke: “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Like Wick, I’ve discovered that too. I’ve had my own times of doubt. I’ve even broken up with God on occasion, but he’s never broken up with me, and he never will.
And no matter how long I may stay away, his faithful love will always draw me back.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via e-mail at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.