Love Defined. (April 2017)

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“Love Defined” is an intermittent series of writings that reflect the way “love” continuously gets redefined in my life over the course of my experiences over time. My goal is to have a record of the way love matures and manifests itself in action as I continually give it and practice it in my life.

Love Defined in April 2017:

Love is an continuous act of respecting a person’s decision to reject you — though I fail at honoring this about twice a week, I am learning that love and respect are so interconnected and need to co-exist. I used to think that “lack of communication” is the downfall of many relationships, but I now believe that underlying the communication is the level of respect two people have for each other. When that respect is lost, then even good communication won’t really matter. I have to come to terms is that what was being lost over time unbeknownst to me was mutual respect – of each other’s time, of each other’s commitments, of each other’s needs. This lack is probably why I still find myself wanting to keep in contact despite knowing better. This next month, the goal is to fully and truly honor the decision of the rejection, continually choosing to respect space that was desired.

Love is the coming to terms with what love looks like now — have you ever wondered how much suffering you’re able to take on simply because you love someone else? It’s astounding how much bandwidth I have for “punishment” and “pain” because of how much “love equity” I possess with someone. I think the breakup process is the gradual exhausting of that love tank, so that you’re able to actually objectively observe the condition of the relationship, and make better decisions about your own health. I absolutely hate having to “demote” someone who no longer wants my heart from the position of “significant other” to “just-as-significant-as-the-rest-of-my-friends.” As someone who has committed the past three years of his life to voraciously communicating edifying, uplifting words to others, to actually say beautiful things that I have in my heart to tell them that I see in them, it really really sucks that the relationship is no longer in a place where they can receive it in the way I want to express it. But that’s where it is now – they have chosen to lower their level of significance in my life and therefore it’s no longer appropriate to affirm who they are to me at that level. The only encouragement for me is knowing that God can actually take over and surround that person with even better words and encouragement and life that I could only dream of saying. In fact, I know that’s the conversation God has always been having, and knowing that, I am glad and more able to step away.

Love is a truth-teller that is not concerned with making you feel better — A breakup is when you decide someone isn’t worth your time anymore. That they are no longer worth fighting for. That the value of your life increases when they are removed from it. That you believe in a future where you are happier without them than you are with them, and you want to invest in that future. That’s the subtext behind the action. That’s why it hurts – it’s a rejection that has evidence. They tried you out and decided that in the long term you were not for them. But love is always revealing truth, and that truth does provide the necessary perspective to focus on health and wisdom. And the truth is that I will never know what is in her heart, and it will never be shared or made known to me. That evidence is clear. The wisdom, however, I am gaining from this process become the guideposts that will help position me better for when love for someone else arouses in me again eventually.

Love Defined. (March 2017)

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“Love Defined” is an intermittent series of writings that reflect the way “love” continuously gets redefined in my life over the course of my experiences over time. My goal is to have a record of the way love matures and manifests itself in action as I continually give it and practice it in my life.

Love Defined in March 2017:

Love is not found in the strength of its grip but in the tenderness of its release — of my role as a pursuer, stepping down as the warrior determined to win her love, setting down my weapons of words, setting aside my climbing gear that I’ve used to scale the walls surrounding her heart. It is a submission to respect her desire, her wish.

Love is an offering — of my role as her future partner, a stepping aside, making that position available, trusting that the next person will far surpass the standard I’ve set, exceed expectations, who will deliver an authentic love that resonates from deeply within him that her soul will respond to naturally.

Love is a submission of authorship — the origin story of our relationship made me prideful. I gloated and bragged about how I pursued her, how I asked her out, that while God was clearly in the beginning of the story, in control over its authorship, over time I kept wanting the pen; I wanted to keep writing the words. I wanted to be the director of the story… the re-director. The truth is that God saw the relationship coming to the end, and similar to the tragic outcome of so many great TV shows that suffer from far too many seasons, running too long and becoming more and more irrelevant, I wound up diluting the poignancy and depth of the relationship by adding in too many chapters. Rather than the passionate short story it was supposed to be, it instead became a strung out relationship story of faded, fraying worth.

Love is a transition done well — viewing the relationship ending as a transition, not as one person quitting. The truth is that the relationship was over months before the actual breakup, and recently, as I have taken in and  re-read books and plays that are dear to her, and as more time goes on, the more I’m hearing confirmation of the death of the relationship, rather than a temporary season that will eventually end with us getting back together. Paulo Coelho said, “anyone who’s lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them.” I am equally afraid of facing the feelings of rejection and abandonment as I am the feeling of guilt from moving on… but love is letting someone win without you rather than letting them lose with you. Love as a transition means that we are released to become more as individuals than we would ever be as a couple. She is free to transition from a relationship with me into her thriving future as a storyteller; I am released to transition into a man of character and into a person who can experience the greatest season of growth that will become the bedrock of my future. And if, along the way, we encounter our respective lifelong partners, then we have ultimately loved each other well by transitioning well.

Love is not the reward of doing the right thing — I am proud of how I have loved. While it may not have won me the heart of the actual person I was loving, I do believe that it was all worth it, and I got to practice loving someone humanely with patience and quiet strength. I have discovered the way I want to love someone in the eyes of my peers and in the eyes of God. I am not ashamed of the light that surrounded my decisions. I am not less of a man because I honored her “no.” Doing the right thing regardless of the outcome is the essence of love. Acting in love is a scarce resource that is produced so little by the people in this world, and it is a rare force that many fear, especially when it is misunderstood. Love is not a tool that draws attention to a cause… Love must be the cause.