It was the perfect relationship. At least, that's what I'd been telling myself. He was smart and adventuresome. We had similar values. In my mind, it all added up. This guy was boyfriend – even long-term – material.
Except for the fact that he wasn't.
Prayer is woven into my life in such a way that no part of my day-to-day existence stands outside my desire to hear – and follow – God's direction. So I'd been praying a lot about this relationship.
One idea I kept coming back to is that Principle and Love are synonymous, as Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy explained in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (see p. 465). In other words, because God is both divine Principle and divine Love, then God, who created me and who also created this guy, must hold us in perfect, productive relationship to each other. That was Love-as-Principle in operation. It wasn't up to me to define the relationship. But humbly asking, What is Love seeing? could show me what this relationship should look like in order to bless us both.
I was praying along these lines. I was also rushing headlong into a messy situation because, so sure was I that this relationship was right, whatever I was hearing from God was getting blocked out by my own (unconscious) willfulness, Things were going great, I told myself. I was happy. I was even a little in love.
Then, just like that, everything fell apart. And I was devastated.
For one very long evening I sat in my apartment saying, "But he's perfect!" over and over again. I think I was trying to tell God that He'd made a huge mistake. This was the guy. I knew it. What could God possibly be seeing that I wasn't seeing?
As it turned out, a lot. But I didn't get there right away.
I did, however, find ample opportunity to get to know God as Love better. And in my clearer moments I found myself asking, Isn't this what it's all about? In every sticky relationship I've been in – romantic or not – it's always been a better understanding of God that has enabled me to see what's really going on. Sometimes I've gotten a more spiritual view of the other person. Other times, I've seen the relationship in a new light.
Yet, I was feeling grumpy because something I'd found in Science and Health said: "Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love. When this hour of development comes, even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth" (p. 266).
I didn't get it. Love was gentle, kind. What was with the "forcing" in that last sentence? Rather than feeling comforted, I was more upset. It did seem as if God were forcing me to accept something. And even if that something – the end of the relationship – was going to promote my growth, I'd still rather have had the relationship. But I kept praying.
Then, a week after the breakup, it dawned on me. Love never forces us to do anything. It only seems like forcing because we're resisting.
So I stopped resisting.
Yielding, genuinely yielding, to Love became my modus operandi. When thoughts would come about this guy, I'd ask God to help me know what to make of them. When I felt upset, I turned to Love. I started to see that "this seeming vacuum" really was "already filled with divine Love." In fact, I wasn't being forced to accept a breakup. I was being shown a better, higher path for me – and for him.
Soon it was clear that the breakup really had been salutary. Growth-promoting, in fact. And I was happy again – happier than I'd been while in the relationship.
I can't say I've never felt the gentle leadings of Love as "forcing" since this realization, but that relationship did teach me something important: When it comes to divine Love, resistance is futile. Who can resist omnipotent Love? Then again – as I can say now – who would want to?