What does it mean to love? I’d always pictured it as a big strawberry-scented pink bubble, that envelopes you in warm feelings and then sweeps you along. You can’t resist it; and when it happens, it makes everything simple.
But when I think about the people I love and the relationships we have, they’re definitely not pink. On many occasions, loving others seems not just resistible, but impossible. There’s all kinds of feelings in there: and they’re complicated instead of simple. This love is not a bubble bath. It’s an antiseptic when I’m covered in scratches. This love hurts and works and prays and persists. It’s a decision that’s made over and over and over again, in the nursing home as well as the sunset; over Weetabix as well as roses.
Jonathan Edwards says that love is putting your happiness into the happiness of someone else. Which, when you think about it, is absolutely bonkers.
Other people let you down. They want different things to you. And if you let them in, they might actually see you as you are. BUT if you do life alone, you can rely on the results. You get what you think you want. You don’t risk rejection. You don’t have to see the holes in yourself. You don’t have to go to the trouble of finding folks to love you; or asking for help. You don’t have to receive what they offer and be grateful. You won’t be disappointed when they let you down. You can hide behind who you think you ought to be, instead of being who you are. And you don’t have to risk yourself, day after day.
There are holes in me, holes I can’t fill by myself. Holes that won’t be covered by the sound of the TV or the click of a mouse or lists or busyness.
There are gifts that God has given me and feelings and understanding that only blossom with others. Sometimes getting to know people makes me nervous: but I’m more myself in relationship than I am on my own.