What I know now,
that I didn't know before:
Love is not enough.
testimonial Tuesday #13
I do still believe that it is at the basis of everything that we need to truly thrive and experience all that life has to offer, however, it is not enough to make things happen day to day. Love alone will not get you into grad school. You still have to apply and write the essays and collect the letters of recommendation etc. Love alone will not win you the job of your dreams (see the previous sentence). Love alone cannot even make a relationship work between two soul mates. It is an excellent start, and certainly leads to a strong foundation, but beyond all that love…there is work to be done.
I remember hearing this as a child and scoffing at all the grown-ups who clearly knew NOTHING about the topic. Certainly their cynicism could be cured with a dozen red roses and a good Walt Disney Princess marathon. ‘Love is not enough’. Pa-leez. Even The Beatles know the truth; “love is all you need”…again…see the above paragraph. Truth be told, I never really understood what all those cynical grown-ups were talking about. Not enough for what? If you love your partner, then you should be completely blind to everything that they do that bothers you, overlook all of their shortcomings, and forgive them for everything, always, no matter what. Why? BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM. duh.
However, as I have gone through my own series of relationships and have experienced love in a completely different way each time I say the words, I believe I may be on to what all those stupid boring grown ups were talking about.
Love alone is not enough.
It is what you DO with that love that counts.
The choices you make.
The way you express those feelings.
The mere act of saying the words out LOUD can be enough to frighten some people off for years, or even lifetimes. You may be madly in love with that woman across the room, but if you never tell her…odds are, she’ll end up with someone else. Someone who makes the choice to simply say ‘Hello’. Perhaps you are much better for her than he is, perhaps you could make him much happier than the person he chose to marry, but perhaps that was not the choice you made. You chose not to pursue that particular relationship. You chose not to apply for that job. You decided NOT to do so. Even in the face of love, there is free will. Which means that even in the face of "wove...twew wove..." (Princess Bride, anyone?), we still have to make the CHOICE to participate.
What I seem to be discovering is that, while I can love someone deeply, or while I can love different elements of life or different places I have lived etc., that love is not always enough to make it work. When we look at love vs. a life filled with that love, we come face to face with a whole lot of decisions that must me made, day to day, in order to keep that love alive. And some of them might be choices that we decide that we do not want to make...and....wait for it...THAT IS OK. We can love, and still choose someone or something else.
I was so madly in love with my college boyfriend, but we made other choices. We absolutely could have gotten married and had children and figured out how to live a life together, but we did not. Instead, we chose to pursue our own interests, and find out where they might lead us. I guess you could say that we chose self-love instead of love for each other. A choice, mind you, that I do not regret. Nor does he, as far as I know.
As I look back on those choices, and I gaze into a future of choices yet to be made, I see where the weight lies. I can love, and I DO love, but I also have to act. I have to move. To make choices. Love might be a great place to start, but if it is where I wish to END, then I must choose it time and time again. I must choose love, in SPITE of everything that happens in life that bothers me, and in SPITE of the shortcomings of another, if, indeed, I want to see that love through.
How does it feel to YOU to act upon love?
What do YOU know now, that you didn't know before?