Dear future husband,
Can I tell you my worst nightmare?
I’m lying on a bed in a room completely void of light, my arms and legs held down by invisible ties, my limbs feel paralysed, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. The darkness that surrounds me crawls up my body and it won’t be long until it closes in on my neck and squeezes hard. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid because this feels like death, and I’m alone, and it doesn’t matter how loudly I scream because no one will hear me…
I struggle and thrash around but finally the screams turn into short gasps for air. I feel lightheaded from the lack of oxygen. My heart beats hard against my chest, the rhythm pounds against my skull and I hear the blood rushing in my ears. Finally, my heart stops beating and the blood stops circulating around my body. My brain stops working almost immediately. My body no longer struggles, but is still and lifeless.
A day or so later someone will notice that my curtains haven’t been drawn and windows haven’t been opened and they didn’t see me out on my usual morning walk. The report will say I died of natural causes, a relative will be called to confirm my identity. My funeral policy will be called up, people will be notified and arrangements made. People I haven’t seen in years will gather to sing songs I didn’t like and a lacklustre sermon will be preached.
But it gets worse.
Strangers will stand up to give false testimony. They will speak of my great virtue and be character witnesses for someone they didn’t really know. Many a crocodile tear will be shed. And there will be a display of culturally appropriate histrionics – the wailing and the pretending to throw themselves into the grave. And when the last flower is laid everyone will leave. Life goes on. People will go home to their families, and their jobs and their social media posting. Here lies Zola Ndlovu, unloved, unknown and alone.
I don’t want to die, but it’s not so much the dying that scares me. It is dying alone. I think God created humans with a basic need to connect, to be known and yet loved, to have someone look at you, see right through you and say, “I will stay.” I think this basic need drives us to make reckless decisions. To give ourselves away to people who don’t really care about us, to give ourselves up to what feels like love but is anything but.
And it hurts.
When you give your heart to another, and they take it, stomp all over it and throw it back in your face, you feel like you will never love again. You’re reminded of your bad choices. You’re convinced that all men will fail you and none can be trusted. You’re haunted by loneliness, Little Girl Blue, never chosen and always rejected. You tell yourself that you will never love again.
Learn more about Zola’s online course, HEART DETOX!
I will love again. I have to believe that my past wounds do not define me. I have to believe that beauty can rise out of pain and that even in heartbreak there is hope. I have to defy the lie that I am unlovable, I have to embrace vulnerability and let my heart respond again to another, to receive love. To laugh deeply, to desire passionately and to give myself unreservedly.
The world tells me there are no good men out there but I see them, I see them everywhere I go.
First, I see the father with his son, walking down the street in the rain. An umbrella in one hand, a briefcase in the other. His shirt is soaked down to the skin because you can’t cover yourself and your boy at the same time.
Next, I see the brother who works two jobs so he can pay school fees for his siblings. He defers his dreams to see those of others fulfilled.
Lastly, I see a man with his wife, he still pursues her. Two decades later they still flirt and publicly display affection, her face still captivates his heart.
I know you’re out there but I need you to understand that for all of my life I’ve been encountering counterfeit versions of you. The father who raises his voice in anger and his hand in violence. The brother who is indifferent. The husband who turns to another when his passion has cooled.
I need you to understand that women are taught to protect themselves from these men. We learn to cover up and hide ourselves and display big ‘KEEP OUT’ signs outside.
We do what anyone would do with anything of value. We keep it locked away. Not just to keep the wrong people out necessarily, but to let the right people in.
I am like a locked garden. It won’t be easy for you to come in. You’re going to have to learn to observe my beauty from a distance, to recognise and appreciate my scent. You’re going to need to be patient or you’ll grow tired and give up, which is what all those who came before you did.
I am a locked garden. It won’t be easy for me to let you in. To let you be the one who plants, waters and cultivates. To accept your words that cut, to prune me for my good and not to harm me. I’m going to have to give you the key and let you in.
And when I do… when I say I do you will discover what you thought was a little walled garden is actually a field of dreams. My heart has depths and heights you will need a lifetime to explore. And some. My mind is a land of wonders with surprises around every corner. I am a work in progress, being completed and perfected by the Master Builder Himself.
I long to know you. To hear your voice and see your face.
I know I won’t have to make you stay, you will choose to. And when I’m walking through the shadowland, you will walk with me. And when I take my last breath, I won’t be thinking about my hurts, my disappointments or my pain. I’ll be thinking about you. I’ll be thinking about the father who takes the rain and the husband whose love is unfading. I’ll be thinking about the beloved son who lays his life down so others might live.
Because that’s what love is about. Love is about sacrifice. Love is about making vows that bind us beyond feelings because feelings don’t last. Love is what lets us know that we’re not alone.
Love is here now.
So hurry up already.
I’m waiting for you.
Zola Ndlovu’s aim is to help you escape the overwhelm and live intentionally in every area of your life. Join her course HEART DETOX when you sign up here. It’s completely free: http://eepurl.com/bP-AIP