My Dear Friends and Readers,
Tonight, I write about love and how my beliefs about love have changed and matured. Here’s is where I began my journey in love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Almost 30 years ago when I first got married these were my beliefs about love, and as a general guide they served me well, but I continually failed to keep most of its tenants. Despite the trials and tribulations of life I have always carried the last part of this biblical verse in my heart “love never fails.”
Then after my husband died I began a tumultuous relationship with a man who stretched all my notions of love. First of all, he loved his work and he could get lost in it for days. I envied this since I had nothing in my life that engendered such passion. Secondly, he had a young child that he personally cared for and placed as a priority in his life. I was a distant third in his life and oftentimes he chose to care and nurture his aging aunt and his mother.
There is nothing in these set of facts that anyone could find fault with, except I was often jealous and envious of all the people who he loved. Moreover, I wanted to be the center of his universe and I was not. I wanted to normalize his life. He should turn his creative work life into something I could work with. Dinners and lunches and breakfast should fall into some reliable pattern.
It wasn’t going to happen, he was moved and designed his life around inspiration and the needs of his young son. Yet we were passionate about each other- or least I was passionate about him. In the end I couldn’t take being a distant third and ended the relationship with him.
In my initial analysis of why the relationship ended I came up with three reasons- none of which put any responsibility on me.
1. Never date a man with children, especially young children.
2. I felt I gave more than I received.
3. Never date a man who loves his work more than me.
On a more psychological level I realized that this man represented aspects of both of my parents that I had never resolved. But there was more, there was something that I could not quantify, something that if it were not true would make most of my beliefs about life and love to be false. Had love failed? Had everything that I had believed about love only been naive proclamations like “all you need is love.”
For two years I despaired believing that love was not enough. I spent the next two years coming to grips with the fact that I had lived most of my life believing in this thing called love which I believed was the only real thing and that everything else was an illusion. I read Rumi, the entire works of Carlos Castaneda, Depak Chopra on Love and everything that I could to explain why love
had failed. I don’t recall how and why I began listening to a DVD series by Wayne Dyer. He was not my kind of go to guy. But nevertheless, I began listening to what Dyer had to say about love.
The singular most important thing that I learned from listening to ten hours of Dyer was that if I wanted someone that fit into my image of love that wasn’t love- but only my ego’s projection of myself unto to another person. Secondly, love cannot be measured or compared. Finally, true love was to love the person exactly the way they were and exactly the way they were not. Here are my new tenants of what I consider love:
I leave you free to be yourself
To think your thoughts and indulge in your tastes
To follow your inclinations
And to behave in ways you decide are to your liking
And you still have my love.
These were difficult words to say, far more difficult that the biblical words which to me were an impossible standard that only God had attained. I added to my new tenants that I needed to love myself more than anyone else and that there was no neediness in love.
As we approach Valentines Day I have come to learn to live by my tenants and there are times that my beloved and I need to calibrate our constantly changing needs and desires. I will add that after those two years of searching that I rekindled the relationship that I had ended. Things are not perfect but the love we have for each other is steeped in respect and care and this has been an on going Valentine’s Day for me.
Find your passion and your heart’s desire.
Happy Valentine’s Day,
Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes