I can’t tell you how many times I have opened old wounds for the sake of ‘finding closure.’
I’m an over-communicator by nature and an over-talker by choice.
Naturally I have this deep need to understand others and be understood by everyone around me. I was born like that, but the fact that I never stop talking is a choice I daily make. My mom says I had an “extensive vocabulary” by 9 months and this is surprising to no one.
I absolutely love to talk. Talk about feelings, talk about what I am thinking about my feelings, talk about what I think he could be thinking about what I am thinking I am feeling.
Due to my excessive need to analyze and communicate and talk through things, I have struggled to let go and move on from various things in my life, because there are always more answers I could get. I could always try to understand it just a little better.
When a chapter of the story ends in my life, big or small, I want to be able to punctuate it with a neat little period (or exclamation mark if necessary). I want it to wrap up neatly, and I would like to have a section for footnotes at the bottom with detailed explanations of the whys and the hows, preferably from both parties amicably.
It could be facing a disappointment, walking away from a job, the end of a friendship, a breakup, moving on from a deep hurt; anything that requires the ability to let go of the past.
No matter the loss, big or small, I have struggled with exactly that.
Things come and go from our lives, and some leave before we are ready to let them.
I have experienced loss a number of times in my 25 years. Nothing earth shattering compared to the actual scale of human suffering, but I have felt pain, and I know what it feels like to want something you can never have.
I may not have experienced valleys of unimaginable tragedy, but I have loved and I have lost and I know the kind of sadness that settles deep inside your bones.
In almost every way, I have lived a privileged and “easy” life, but 5 years ago, my life felt anything but that as I went through my first breakup and realized that ‘first love’ isn’t always the right love.
I was the worst at breaking up. It was my first one, and it happened in a Taco Bell parking lot. Cut me some slack.
The biggest lesson I have learned from loving and losing, and one I am able to apply to every loss I have experienced since then, big or small is this:
I don’t need all the answers to move on.
My college roommates probably shudder when they hear the word closure, thinking of me listening to my Country playlist and sobbing, thinking that I ‘just needed closure’
I chased around this idea of having “closure” thinking one more conversation or explanation would finally make it feel okay.
Ohhhh, 20 year old Jenna.
Let me save you a few years of heartache.
There is only one thing that can heal you.
No one else can give you the closure that you aren’t ready for or aren’t willing to accept.
Closure is not hearing an apology from the person who hurt you most.
Closure is about finding the strength though Jesus to let go, regardless of the words and actions of another person. It’s about being able to move on even if you never hear the words “I’m sorry.”
Because an apology is nice. It can be helpful.
Sometimes one more conversation makes it easier to shut the door.
An apology can help stitch up wounds, but anyone who has been deeply hurt knows that the real work is done separate from the person who has hurt you.
It is done privately, in the trenches, praying and hurting, and hearing “I’m sorry” might be a step in that process, but it certainly doesn’t fix it.
The issue with seeking closure is that we often put the power in the other person’s hands.
The wrong person’s hands.
In our minds, they hold what we so desperately need: the answer, the apology, the explanation of how they could have hurt us the way they did.
We reach out to others, or accept the invitation of others under the assumption that they have the key to locking the door behind us, and without their words or their tears or their apology, we are stuck.
But this assumption is totally wrong. We aren’t stuck.
Because a lot of times, we don’t get apologies.
We don’t get explanations.
The person who says they are going to change, doesn’t.
The person that has treated us so badly has a beautiful boat and a gorgeous house and life isn’t fair.
The person who has wounded us opens their mouth to speak and begins to hurt us even more.
People let us down.
Chasing closure from other people just takes you back through the same door that you’re trying to shut. When you peek your head back inside that room, you are opening yourself up to every emotion you experienced when you lived there.
Closure happens when you make a choice to move forward independent of the words and actions of someone else.
We can’t control other people and we can’t make them apologize and we can’t make them feel bad for how they treated us.
Sometimes you just have to leave it at what it is, accept that you have no control over another person, and leave it be.
Not all of the chapters in my life have ended with neat punctuation with detailed footnotes. Actually, most haven’t.
The closure I have been able to experience from loss has all come from time for healing, and a whole lotta Jesus.
The advice I would give to younger Jenna is this: Stop looking to other people for closure and start looking to Jesus.
He will heal your wounds in ways no apology or serious conversation over coffee ever can.
( I will need this reminder by Tuesday of this coming week. You on it, Sami?)
Always blessings, never chins