It's a post in which, by force of habit, I find myself feeling the need to choose my words carefully. But it's also a post that I very much want to write, because it revolves around what it means to be thankful for long-term benefits that seemed like very negative experiences at the time in which they happened.
It's about the paradoxes that appear when life suddenly comes full-circle.
Those of you who know me and/or follow this blog regularly (all 5 of you) may remember a struggle that I went through several years ago, after I casually dated someone when I was on sabbatical.
When I returned to RI for the summer this year, he tried to reconnect with me. We actually haven't spoken in several years, and quite frankly, I wasn't looking to change that.
But this summer suddenly offered me a chance to gain some closure, so I took it. It was a huge weight, suddenly and surprisingly lifted from me.
Don't get me wrong: I have no interest in chatting with him, be it ever so briefly. Based on past experience, no good can come of it.
In fact, a large part of my closure involved making it clear that while I don't consider him an enemy, we just aren't going to be friends again. That yes, it's all water under the bridge, but in the end, it's left the bridge too washed out for me to contemplate crossing it again.
For me, he's just someone that I used to know. Sometimes, that seems like a good thing--that I knew him and that he was part of my life for a while. Sometimes, it feels like a bad thing, because in the end, it really wasn't worth all of the drama and unhappiness.
That's how I've felt for a really long time now. I'm thankful that life gave me the opportunity to communicate that openly. I know it wasn't what he was looking for, but I'm grateful that l had the opportunity to say, "This is who I am. And this is how I feel."
Several weeks afterward, I opened a news website to see that his ex-girlfriend was running for mayor.
No, I'm not kidding.
Those of you who know me or who read my blog in the summer months of 2011 already know the story with her. I'm not going to waste words or finger-strength reiterating it here.
It was very odd to see her popping up on a somewhat regular basis and to think, "That's that... woman." Especially so soon after the sudden and unexpected encounter with her ex-boyfriend.
It's an odd thing, when your past suddenly walks onstage into the present. (She lost, by the way.)
In the end, I'm thankful for the odd turn of events that marked this summer. Because as the summer unfolded, it became clear that, when it came to this woman, a lot of other people had had experiences with her that were very similar to my own.
I came to realize that what happened back then had nothing at all to do with me or my blog. Those were just the excuses that people used to do the things that they wanted to do and that they would have done anyway, regardless.
I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. It happened, but it ended. This year, for the entire summer, I was lucky enough to get regular reminders of that fact.
I always chalk the good things in my life up to my dad, because I know that if there is such a thing as an afterlife, he'd be doing what he could to make sure that things always work out okay for me. So I'd like to think that this summer of sudden, unsolicited insights came from him, and I'm very thankful that it came at at time when I was open to receive them.
But then he would know that too, now wouldn't he?
Sometimes, when things come full-circle, they arrive somewhere very different from the place from which they began.
And for that, I'm incredibly thankful.