Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My story: Reconciliation

Between yesterday's entry and my brief mention of it a few months back, I've alluded to a relationship that I had while I was finishing college, but which ended shortly after starting seminary, leaving me rather depressed. The story actually didn't end there, though. Oddly enough, I was reminded of the epilogue to this relationship by listening to NPR's report on the new Chronicles of Narnia movie.

Don't worry. It will make sense as I explain.

The relationship ended while I was attending seminary in South Carolina, but it really didn't end all at once. We'd been having trouble for a while, and my girlfriend decided that we were causing each other more pain by being together than we would be by ending it. That was bad enough. A trip to the college to see a play directed by a mutual friend only made it worse. As the first time my ex and I had seen each other since the break-up, it served to make clear that we really weren't going to get back together again. Then, about a couple of weeks later, I got an e-mail from her, informing me that she was seeing someone else. In fact, they had talked about seeing each other already by the time I had seen them both at the play, but had decided not to start dating until after the holidays in order not to cause me more pain. Realizing that this couldn't be helped, they decided to come out into the open about it.

That got me packing. Within the month, I had moved back to Louisville, as I've already detailed earlier. Fast forward to two years later. I had finished my first year at the seminary I eventually graduated from, and was staying with a friend for a few months (the apartment I lived in during my first year was a nightmare, and I got out as soon as I could. But that's a story for another time). He had allowed me to set up my computer in a spare room so that I could check e-mail and keep up on my assignments. I was shocked to find an e-mail from my ex-girlfriend, who I hadn't heard from in those two years. Apparently, she had spoken with a former roommate of mine from college, who I had kept in touch with and was familiar with the situation, and he told her that I would probably be able to handle hearing from her again.

While being back in touch my ex again did cause a bit of emotional confusion for me at the time, I apparently kept my head enough not to do anything stupid, and we maintained e-mail correspondence for another couple of years after that. About a year after she reinitiated contact, my ex went to Ireland for an internship to finish out her college degree. She used a different e-mail address while there, but we kept in touch, and it was clear that the family she was staying with had been very kind to her, and that the whole experience was extremely positive.

The following summer, I was due to be in Montreat again with my Louisville church's youth group for that year's youth conference. As I've indicated before, the youth conferences are a huge part of my story, and I've tried to arrange to be in Louisville whenever our church took a group down so that I could join them. This meant that, for the first time since getting back in touch, my ex and I would be in about the same geographic area (as she had just completed her Irish internship), and we decided that we should get together. This was not a decision taken lightly, as neither one of us wanted to cause the other more emotional angst, but it was decided that we were both finally okay with how things had turned out.

At about this time, I was doing some research on C.S. Lewis, and found some information on the web relating to Douglas Gresham, his step-son. The web page contained an e-mail address for Gresham, which I was shocked to recognize as the exact address my ex-girlfriend had been using for much of the previous year! She had been interning with C.S. Lewis' step-son, and had never even mentioned it to me! So, during that week I was in Montreat, we verified that she had indeed been working for and staying with Douglas Gresham and his family during her internship, and that she had never mentioned the Lewis connection because it had (and I honestly believe this) not seemed like that big a deal to her.

Anyway, my ex-girlfriend and I met a couple of times over the course of that week, and we had a chance to talk about how things had gone, what we were up to, and basically had a nice visit. We left on good terms, and I was finally able to "move on" in a way that I had not done previously.

During today's NPR report, Gresham was interviewed regarding the input he had given into the making of the new movie, and I was reminded of that last meeting. I've never met him, myself, but it's kind of cool to know that I'm only two degrees of separation away from the step-son of C.S. Lewis!

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