The human heart is a very strange entity in and of itself. Its something of a mystery that creates such pleasure or immense pain in our lives. It causes you to feel things for people or situations, whether you like it or not. When exploring the human emotions, we see this great phenomenon of experiences. This overload of all our senses, depending on the emotion, can be a positive or a negative experience. It can be a positive thing to feel infatuation for someone. But there is also an element of context. That same infatuation you feel for someone can also become a negative if the emotion is not reciprocated by the other party involved, hence the next inevitable stage in this emotion which, for the sake of this conversation we will call “heartbreak”. This is always a negative emotion, as everyone knows. Heartbreak is not bound by context, but can, in some instances, actually define the context of a situation. Heartbreak is where every person ends a chapter in their life and must turn the page to start a new chapter. It can be heartbreak over the loss of a loved one from death or divorce, or it can be from the loss of a job or even just a general loss of really anything that means a great deal to the person.
Why am I discussing such a topic? This has been on my mind a lot lately. The idea that our heart can control so much of how we view different things in life. What are we to do with such a muscle that can actually override our logic and reasoning? its a terrifying thing really. Its an unpredictably predictable thing, this heart of ours. We may never know what we will feel about something or someone, but we can always count on it to be counter-intuitive, completely at odds with our logic at least 90% of the time. This metephorical symbol of the center of the human’s being is such an interesting creation. I love the idea of having something so vastly magnificent that it alone separates us from all other creatures in all of the universe. We have this thing inside us that literally makes us experience life in such a way that it makes a chemical reaction to another human being something so real and vivid, like we can reach out and touch it. We have this ability to manifest this thing we call love, and have it overcome us like a plague, effecting us to the core of our being, causing us to act erratically and irrationally. This same emotion dances dangerously close to the same symptoms of insanity in most cases. We must lose our sanity, that is, our logic and privilege of reasoning, in order to feel the depths of love for someone else.
Most of us only discover the depths of love once in life. Someone comes into your life, and you know it will never be the same ever again. Maybe it’s her eyes, her smile, her touch. Maybe It’s the way she laughs, the way she walks into the room. Maybe its the way she looks at you when you say something you mean with your whole heart and in that moment you know she feels what you feel, and she sees you for who you truly are, faults, blemishes, and all. No matter what the case may be, you know. You know when this moment happens. You can’t escape it, you can’t erase it or pretend it never happened. You can only embrace it. You are forced to acknowledge this overwhelming sensation that seems to blot out your need for sleep and your appetite for food and all other pleasures in life. Its like you have been awakened to the meaning behind what it means to let go of yourself, put it all on the line, and risk it all for something that is worth losing everything you have, just to experience this moment, this feeling, for even a second.
Then there’s the fear you might actually lose it all. What if you do lose everything? What if you throw the proverbial ball that stands for everything you feel and believe in, hurling into the darkness that is the void between you and the recipient of your love, only to have nothing returned. You wait, and wait….but nothing. The waiting turns to panic, panic to fear, fear to acceptance, acceptance to mourning. The realization that you were so close to something so great, and yet so far away. How do you reconcile the contrast between having the best, and the worst case scenario of losing everything becoming a reality. Its like having a nightmare, only to wake up and find out that the nightmare continues, with no way to wake up. Every morning feels colder, the sun seems dimmer, colors fade into grays. Life seems tasteless. Nothing seems to excite you. Love is but a painful distant memory, a vapor of a feeling once felt, but never again. You make a pact with yourself to never fall again the way you fell before. Never again will you let your heart be exposed. Rather, you build a fortress, walls impenetrable by anyone and everyone that would ever try to be close to you again.
Time passes by, like a rich man passes a beggar on a busy street. You work hard at becoming numb to all feelings, only succeeding half the time. What you find is you have made a life of dirt and sticks, no foundation, no support, subjected to the winds of change and the storms of trial and tribulation. You have no shelter, no sanctuary, only a memory of something once warm, bright, and beautiful. What is life at this moment, but a curse and a burden?
But, as I previously stated, there is a time where this chapter must end, and a new one begins. There must be a climax of all things dark and dread, in order to move to the refrain, that is, the good part of the story. We lose all hope, all faith, all belief in a good creator, creating good things. Love is something that defines us as human beings, and yet it’s the least understood emotion and action in our whole existence on this earth. Love is something not to be feared, but embraced with all we have.
So you come to a point where you must let go of what you love yet again. First it was your heart, but now it’s her you must let go. You know she may still have your heart, whether she wants it or not, and yet you are surprised to find you don’t care anymore. As the old saying goes “if you love someone, let them go.” You embrace such a statement with open arms and with your life. Now the faith is in them leaving with your heart, knowing you have no desire to have it back. So they leave, and you stay, wondering what just happened. You know you won’t stop feeling this way, and yet you find that it’s okay. You know you will see them again. There’s plenty of time, you tell yourself, plenty of time to get things right, to make things right. And yet, it feels as if there will be no time. Tomorrow may never come, tonight may never end. Your life may be turned upside down and you never get the chance to say what you meant to say. You may lose her forever.
The loss isn’t actually the worst part. The fear of making a grave mistake we can’t undo, a decision we can’t take back and try again, THAT’S the worst part. You scramble to make a decision, the right one. Sometimes, though, there is no “right” decision. Sometimes, no matter which direction you go, you have no definite safe route ahead of you. This is where faith comes in. There’s something deep down in you, something embedded in your DNA, something that tells you it will be okay, that something much greater than yourself is able to see the big picture. What comes next is a series of moments and events that may last two weeks, or two years, depending on the situation. These moments, these events, are the marks, the signs that what was once a shattered heart, is now a heart on the mend. Tastes return, your appetite for life peaks through the cracks of the ruins of what was, almost like a switch was flipped and now instead of decay and destruction, there is order and reconstruction. Till one day, you wake up and feel the warmth of our not so distant star, beaming through the window of what seemed to be your cell of contempt and misery for so long, but has now transformed itself back into your safe haven of solitude and peace. Love has become anew, Mercy seems attainable, and life has restored itself. But nothing is as it was before. No, its something different, something better.
Here you are, on the brink of a new world, a new chapter in the ongoing story of you, written before time began. You are free to rediscover all things afresh, as if you had never experienced such things.
Love is the driving force behind all things. Our very existence, every heartbeat, every notion, however selfless or selfish it may be, is driven by our love of something, or someone. We desire to feel, we desire to see and experience all things. We yearn to know just how much our bodies can take. We push ourselves to the brink of certain destruction, and bounce back from the messes we make, and keep moving as though nothing happened. But life requires more of us than the gratification of our own selfish desires. God created us for more.
If we are, in fact, made to be in communion with our creator, as well as a relationship with those around us, then we are, by definition; relational creatures. For most of us, this means we are constantly on the search for that “special someone” who will be our companion through all of life’s obstacles and joys. Yet, we are so counter-productive in our efforts. We find many ways to be the thorn in another’s side, or maybe our own as well. I know I definitely feel like the thorn in my own side quite often. And yet there is something that spurs us on towards a greater love, a selfless love. I believe you, as well as anyone, can imagine that the ideal relationship is one grounded in a selfless love for one another. Yet we can never accomplish such motives on our own accord. We must rely completely on something that is much beyond ourselves. We must, in a sense, die to ourselves, our own desires, our own thoughts, our own logic. You see, to experience the source of all love, joy, and goodness, we must follow the same path it took us to fall in love with someone. We must become, or appear, insane. I find this fact quite fascinating. How can we truly love something, or someone, that we cannot touch, or see, or at many times feel? How do we move past our reasoning, which constantly feeds us warnings of foolishness and deceit.
You see, the reason I am talking about what may seem to you like two separate blogs in one, is because I believe the reason I have failed so many times at loving someone else is because I wasn’t accepting the love of God in my life, and certainly wasn’t pursuing a love for Him the way I should have been. It leaves this empty void right in the middle of your life. My hopes and dreams had a weak foundation. The very image I thought I saw of myself was quite inaccurate, based on the image God saw of who I was truly meant to be. Love was always meant to be His first, before we gave it to anyone else. Its as though God is the means in which we love others. The catalyst of selfless love is God’s Spirit, working in us and through us.
I have had this feeling I can’t seem to ignore any longer. This longing for something more. Simply loving someone else isn’t enough. Being loved by someone doesn’t do anything but feed into the fire of our ego if not first grounded in the love of Christ. Yet what I feel being effected most is my love for people. I have recently used the phrase “its not my relationship with God that’s been affected, but rather my relationships with people.” But aren’t they one in the same in many ways? If I no longer desire close relationships with anyone, is that not evidence of aspects of my relationship with God being broken or missing?
I feel myself becoming detached from church ministry. I find my ever growing cynicism becoming so prevalent in my thoughts, targeting and inhabiting my views on the church, not just as a whole, but also my very specific situation. It seems almost impossible to escape such an enveloping despise towards a particular type of “christian” group. So I reluctantly acknowledge that I am at a crossroads in life. What is it I’m really supposed to be doing in this life? How am I to love people? More specifically, how am I to love one person?
I think the thing I’ve noticed about myself is this tendency to overreact when I fall for someone. I over react in the sense that I become increasingly insecure and find myself trying to find security by any means, and pushing the other person away in the process. I can’t help but wonder if I am subconsciously just preemptively attacking, in fear of the other person wanting to leave first. There are three emotions that are almost always the most devastating to the growth or progression of our relationships; fear, insecurity, and doubt. These three emotions cause us to act irrationally in very unhealthy ways. But aren’t we all insecure to some extent? If someone is secure with themselves, we would consider them prideful or cocky. If someone has no doubt, we would call them reckless. If someone has no fear we would call them foolish. Why? Because, the majority of people feel all of these emotions all the time. We are unable to shake our insecurity, cast out all doubt, or overcome our fear of another person. We cannot fathom a world in which we would not feel these things because we are unable to love with a reckless abandon, a complete disregard for our own self preservation. We concede to our fears and we play it safe, avoiding all risks, being content as emotionless robots, or at least trying to be.
My hope is that I may some day let go of this thing inside me, this insecurity that tells me that to put it all on the line is to have such a strong fear of falling. The only way to truly love someone is to put it all on the line each day. While women are told to guard their hearts, Its a man’s duty to lay it all on the line. Proving his love by action and consistency. And yet this is the biggest risk, the hardest path to tread. The fear of falling, of letting it all go and putting your heart on the line, is something not to be taken lightly. Its why a man must wait for the right woman. Patience is the greatest virtue here. To put yourself out there to any attractive woman you think you have a few things in common with will only result in the demise of your self-esteem, your confidence, and your willingness to love.
So many men prematurely allow themselves to fall for someone, while later trying to retract all previous statements and actions in an effort to reverse the effects of their actions. This, I believe, is where we get our stereotype of men having “commitment issues.” But I don’t believe men have issues with commitment. I believe men have issues with poor discernment and management of their feelings, which is usually an issue of maturity, or lack there of. Young (and sometimes not so young) women allow men into the chambers of their heart, giving them liberties that no man should be able to obtain easily. The problem comes when a woman accepts a man’s words and actions at face value in the beginning as some sort of truth she doesn’t have to subject to the test of time. Therefore, letting the immature man who loves all “willy nilly”, into the inner most places of her heart to wreck and destroy her emotions and self-esteem.
To sum this all up, I believe we should first look at ourselves, as I have attempted to here, before allowing ourselves to love another person with our whole heart. Love is so much more than a feeling, but we act as though it is nothing more. Love is more of a lifestyle. When you truly love someone, your life should be altered. Every decision you make, every chance you take, every path you choose to follow, should be in light of the person you love. If you are not able to do this, then spare the poor soul the travesty of being the next victim in what I would be willing to bet is a long trail of tears and broken hearts in your life. I know I have my trail and I am not proud of it.
All I can do is learn from my mistakes and look forward, hopeful and optimistic, grateful that today is new, and for now life is still worth living. If there’s anything I hope someone else might take away from my story thus far and the obstacles I’ve faced, as well as the messes I’ve made, it is this; though it is never easy, love is always worth the risk. When the right person comes along, the risk is much greater. Because, to lose someone who could only be described as mediocre is not nearly as big of a loss as someone whom you might deem the missing piece to your puzzle, the completion of your picture, the icing on the cake, the yin to your yang….You get the idea.So move slowly, pray often, and proceed with caution, as though your life depended on it. Because you just never know what the consequences of your actions may be…