Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Loving Love

A lot can happen in a year. Last year this time, I was in a deep emotional quagmire over a relationship in which I found myself involved that was neither healthy nor nurturing.  I knew that he was taking advantage of me but couldn't pull myself out of it, in spite of pleading from my closest friends. It wasn't until I met someone else that I saw what I was doing to myself through his eyes. That other person turned out not to be a "romantic interest" (much to my chagrin, but in hindsight for the best) but more the catalyst for me to finally see how following the path I was on was getting me nowhere fast.

When I think about where I am today with my outlook on life, it amazes me that the thought of finding someone to spend my "right now" with has been trumped by thoughts of finding someone with which to spend my "ever after".  I believe that gone are my days of casual, pretend-relationships where I was fully aware they are short-term in nature, but yet refused to accept or believe that until they self-combusted. I think those times when my heart felt broken and busted into tiny shards, it was because I was most hurt by the person closest to me: myself.

In my 20s and 30s, I jumped from one inappropriate man to another even more inappropriate man, not realizing what sort of damage I was self-inflicting.  For this, I've paid the price: physically and emotionally.  The mere thought of how much time I've wasted makes me a little bit sad, but wallowing on the sins of the past does nothing to ease the present or set the stage for the future.

There's a song by the Mowgli's, an energetic and vibrant LA-based band introduced to me by my equally vibrant sister.  The song is called "San Francisco" & the opening verse says this:

"I’ve been in love with love
And the idea of something binding us together
You know that love is strong enough"

How be in love, with the idea of love.  An ideal notion that love conquers all your woes. Indeed, that was true in my case. I was playing at love in order to ease whatever ache I was feeling inside.  In reality though, I was doing a disservice to myself. No amount of play-love could cure what ailed me.  I was treating a chronic disease with placebos when what I needed was medicine for my soul.

I read something recently in Proverbs 3:3 that stuck out to me:

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."

I took that passage to mean Love of God; in turn, Love of Self. In my view, to love God is to love yourself enough to put complete Faith in Him and trust that He will guide you down the right path. Don't try and go it alone, as you may find yourself going down the wrong way on a one-way street, towards a very grumpy cop. No one wants that.

If you had asked me a year ago how I felt about God and spirituality, I would have given you a very honest and academic answer: "I believe in a higher power, and that my relationship with that power is mine alone."  And although I still believe this to be true, I think that notion is very shallow and not at all satisfying. Much like the relationships I've had with all those inappropriate men. Going through this process of redefining what my spirituality means to me has served the very important purpose of redefining what I mean to myself.  I am special, in the eyes of the Lord and beyond.  I must respect myself in order to find that person who will respect me and treat me well. 

It is only then, that true love will bloom.

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