Positive Living Newsletter

Rebirth Starts in Our Darkest Hour

Elle White

I still hate separation; however, it is like a curse that I can never run away.

The major depression that I experienced several years ago, triggered by the failures in both my previous romantic relationship and academic career, transformed me and gave me a new life. This was after the seemingly endless dark days when I could see no light. I still vividly remember the heart-wrenching pain and the unstoppable rumination when I was struggling to find the meaning and a way out of the dead end.

I could not understand how a relationship that I had been pouring all my heart and energy into for two years could be ended so suddenly by “I’m so sorry, I don’t love you.” “Why? What can I do? Please don’t leave me,” I desperately pleaded with my ex. However, he told me that there was nothing I could do to change his feelings: “It is not about you. I just feel no passion in the relationship with you anymore.”

And there I was: unemployed, defeated, heartbroken. Realizing that I could no longer live by myself, after a decade of independent living, I came back to my hometown to live with my parents. Every choice has its cost: I gained my freedom outside my hometown; yet life was so hard and I was so lonely. One of the dreams I had been harboring was to find my life partner. As a child whose heart was twisted by numerous traumatic childhood and adolescent experiences, like many other unhappy young people, I was so desperate to run away from my original family, build my own home, and find my life partner. However, the more anxious I was in my relationship, the more wounds I suffered as one relationship ended after another. I thought a good relationship would finally make my broken self whole; however, it was the relationship I cherished most that hurt me the deepest in the end. I was too young to understand what true love is.

Finally, I stopped pursuing any romantic relationship out of despair. This was coupled with seemingly endless suicidal ideations. I could not see any worth in myself nor any hope in my future.

However, looking back, it was during those days that my rebirth began.

It was the first time I found my true friends. Who could believe that there would be friends who were willing to sacrifice their own welfare to accompany me? Who could believe that there would be friends who would support me all the way through? I had never seriously invested in friendships before! Without a romantic partner, my life felt like it was missing something, but there were other relationships–equally important and equally meaningful.

It was the first time I forgave and reconciled with my parents and family, realizing how much they loved me despite their imperfections. Being deeply wounded in my relationship made me extremely sensitive to every bit of goodness that other people showed to me, which I had been ignoring in the past. Though they did not have the language to say kind words to me, each of their actions conveyed genuine love directly to my heart. However, I had been numb to all this love while holding onto the hurt for so many years.

It was the first time I got to know who God truly is and what His teachings truly mean. God is love (1 Jn 4:16): His love will not help us avoid suffering in life, but His love gives us protection and strength amidst the suffering (Ps. 18:2). In desperation and struggling, I resentfully asked God: “Where are You? How can You let these things happen to Your child?” (like Ps. 18:6) Looking back at the dark days, when I could not walk, He carried me on His back walking step-by-step until the end of the seemingly endless dark tunnel. Though I could not feel it at the time, He was always working in my life. Faith in God is believing and trusting Him even if I cannot see (2 Cor. 5:7). The suffering in my life is for me to learn from it, to find the meaning in it, to become more spiritually mature.

It was the first time I gradually learned how to love–to love myself, to love others in God’s way–thus transcending my limited self-world. Love is not a passionate feeling, but the willingness to sacrifice joyfully for loved ones. It is the spirit to be patient, to be forgiving, to be understanding, to be compassionate, to be kind, to be caring, to be supportive, to be truthful. Who can imagine the panacea for me in the end is love–when I finally accept that I love my ex deeply though he doesn’t love me. I finally realize that if I truly love him, I need to let him go, to let him do what he wants, and to let him love whom he loves. I pray for him every time my heart wrenches thinking of him.

I could have never imagined that there would be a day when I am here, writing my story down to share with you, in a sound and grateful mind, about all my previous experiences, both positive and negative. I could never have imagined I would work as a school wellbeing counselor, giving the love I have received to others–helping students alleviate their mental pain, find their life purpose, realize their potential, and live meaningful lives despite unavoidable failures and suffering. Under God’s blessings and guidance, it is all actualized in me. There will be suffering ahead in my life, but God has been training me to be more competent to fight the battles. And He is with me, every step along the way.

Somehow, I believe my life partner is also walking towards me, though I still cannot see him. Somehow, I believe he will understand this story like you do.

Separation is inevitable. Therefore, I cherish the time I have left, more than before.