[4 of 6] Love Hurts? 6 Things I Learned About Dating and Love in 2017
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They say that love hurts…
Well, at least they sing it.
The Everly Brothers. And Nazareth. Emmy Lou Harris and Roy Orbison. Cher and Rod Stewart.
It’s a catchy phrase.
And a comforting defensive crouch…
“I’ll love you but promise you won’t hurt me.”
Love doesn’t hurt.
Distance from love hurts.
When you love, you will get hurt because at some point the thread will feel broken and you will feel like you are spinning off into space, doomed and alone…
That happens because we and our partners vary.
We get distracted. Selfish. Scared. We do things we wish we hadn’t.
We cut the cord from time to time, and then scramble to re-thread it.
But I have another perspective on love…
Love is not merely a tenuous cord that keeps us in mutual orbit.
It’s not so paltry.
To me, love is like a giant banquet table piled high with delicacies…
And our seat is always available.
But look at us!
We push ourselves away, not believing we are worthy of that seat at the table.
Or we sulk and starve ourselves because we prefer a different chair.
Or we want someone to serve us rather that simply reach out and fill our own plates like a fat, happy child.
We say “no” to love so often (and I’m talking about simple daily encounters), that soon enough, we find ourselves outside the banquet hall, shivering, staring in longingly through foggy windows.
Have you ever asked yourself – “What’s wrong with me? Where did love go? How come I can’t find it? Will I ever find it again?”
You don’t have to do that.
The truth is that it didn’t go anywhere.
You wandered away from the table.
The feast of love is always right in front of you.
The table is always piled high with goodies.
Pull up your chair every chance you get.
Look into the eyes of the feaster across the table, and next to you.
Just for a change, don’t pay attention to the costumes and the masks…
Try to see, hear and experience the fat, happy child inside each person who wants to feast on love – just like you.
That one inside them who is simple, and playful…
Who wants only to connect and laugh…
To relax and accept and live in this moment, tasting love.
And talk to THAT part of them.
Love THAT part of them
I think that it’s possible to connect with this fat, happy, feasting child with everyone and within ourselves…
And to love them as they are – enjoying the bounty of life as best as their outer adult shell will allow them.
I think we will discover that this is a cord that cannot be broken.
Wendell Berry writes in “The Peace of Wild Things…”
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
When I coach, when I teach, I find so that many people“tax their lives with forethought of grief.”
Or with grief’s memories.
The feast feels lost.
The feast feels so far away.
But it’s not.
“Rest in the grace” of the person in front of you.
Not in their ideas, which are bound to be goofy or ill-thought out.
Not in their opinions, which are probably just as wrong as yours.
Not in their stories.
But simply in that part of them that like Berry’s “great heron” is nibbling here at the feast of love, maybe timid, maybe gorging…
But here, at the same banquet table as you.
Hoping maybe to catch your eye.
And break bread with you.
So that they can remember that we are all this feast together.
So that you can, too.
Counting down to a New Year,