Love

I found this website and so far I like this quote:

it erupts from the soul, then subsides. that’s when you make the decision. work it out and stay in it til the end because it’s inconceivable, just the thought of being apart. it’s not necessarily the breathlessness, or the excitement, nor the sex involved. it’s not laying awake at night, imagining how those kisses felt. it’s all those things, plus the hope, that deep down feeling burned into you after that initial rush. its that weird thing people fall into when the find someone with a weirdness compatible to theirs. they call that love. it’s what you and i have. it’s not something measurable. but instead something inconceivable and you can’t even imagine not having it even when you’re fighting. as some say “Love is the irresistible desire to be desired.” others claim its a friendship set on fire. There are so many definitions, you kind of have to figure it out yourself. but the one thing I can tell you for sure is when it happens, you’ll know.

It’s true what they say, all the clichés that I thought were lies, like the one about knowing when it happens. I’m almost 40 years old and never felt as intensely as I do now for the man who came into my life almost three months ago. I thought I felt this for my ex-husband when I first met him, but I now realize it was part lust and part mania from leaving my first husband and going out on my own. While I considered him a good friend and a good person, I realize now that the love I felt for him didn’t hold the spiritual connection I have with Steven.

When I was a child my mother told me that love was conditional, in spite of how we want to say that it’s not. She told me these words – she had learned them from her therapist. You do what I want you to do, then I’m happy (and I love you). You don’t do something else that I want you to do, then I am disappointed and I’m unable to find happiness, and I will eventually leave you because you’re not giving me what I think I need. That definition of love was confusing to me then, and remained confusing for years. To this day I’m not sure if I misinterpreted what my mother said, or if she misunderstood her therapist, or if her therapist was just bat-shit crazy. If I were to ask my mother about this today, I doubt she’d remember or agree that this is an accurate definition of love.

Because the problem with that broken idea is that there is no God in it. It’s limiting and full of expectations. It places dependence upon another person for one’s own happiness. The real meaning of love is the opposite of all of those things.

I got a lot of old ideas about love from my mother, my grandmother, and the rest of my family that people will not love you if you don’t do what they want you to do and be who they want you to be. That people will talk about you behind your back if you don’t help with the dishes when you go to visit them, forget their birthday, don’t make up your bed, drop out of school, don’t get a good job, go to jail, get diagnosed with mental illness.

Looking at my mother today, it’s a different story. She’s married to a wonderful man she complains about sometimes yet loves and is committed to. She talks about what a good man he is, and how he’s always trying to help others though it’s sometimes inconvenient. She showers her grandchildren with affection, her time, and gifts. She loves her community, where she does volunteer work for the poor, the sick, and the aging. It took her a long time to grow up, just as it’s taking me a long time to grow up.

My grandmother still loves my grandfather, who died decades ago, and she never remarried or dated any other man after his death. She talked about him like he was a saint, and she kept the secret that he’d gotten another woman pregnant while he was in the war, and had married the other woman while he was writing letters to my grandma professing his love for her, which she kept to this day, over 70 years later.

True love, to me, is less about a “desire to be desired” and more about loving the other person without expectation of getting anything in return. It’s knowing that no matter what happens, even if that person leaves, that now I have the knowledge that my heart was true and open, and that I was given a gift from God to have an ability to open my heart and allow someone else in.

We all want to be loved. But for some of us it’s harder to love than to be loved. Maybe my perception is incorrect, maybe I really do have such a deep desire to feel loved and accepted for who I am, and maybe there’s this old wound that feels unloveable, and is so afraid to be rejected for not being the person I think the rest of the world – especially the object of my desire, or affection – wants me to be. Now that I am writing these words I’m seeing how this is true.

The old belief that I’m unloveable is what causes me to have difficulty in loving another person. In the past, if I felt hurt or rejected, I closed my heart and withdrew. That kept me from getting close to people. For years, for most of my life.

In order for love to grow, one cannot allow fear to take place, or to be the cause of my actions. My actions must be based in love, faith, and honesty. I have faith that no matter what happens, if he dies or leaves me, I’ll be okay because God is taking care of me. If I cling to the fear that I’ll lose what I have, I’ll miss out on what I have today, in this moment, because I’m too worried about a future that may never happen. If I cling to a fear that things won’t turn out exactly the way I want them to, again I am not focused on the present moment, nor am I appreciative of all the gifts this time brings. The biggest gift for me is to love someone else with a pure and true heart. To accept them for who they are, flaws and all. To turn those thoughts inward and see that I am loveable too, in spite of my flaws, or perhaps because of them. To be able to forgive them for their mistakes, and to also be able to forgive others for their mistakes, and to forgive myself for my mistakes. Because harboring grudges does not serve me, or anyone else. I’m thinking of my friends who I haven’t talked to in a while – my best friend specifically, who I think of as a soul sister – and who I hope to reconcile our differences with. I don’t know if she’s ready to accept me back into her life, and I have to be willing to accept that. More on that later. The point is, I have so much gratitude for this moment in my life, and I have learned so much, all because I fell in love.

Here’s a song that’s been in my head for a couple of weeks now, which speaks to me about loving someone through tough times.

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