Friday, December 5, 2008

To love...or not to love.

So, all my friends keep getting engaged. And married. No babies on the way that I know of… yet. While I am genuinely happy and excited for them, I can’t help but be slightly overwhelmed by the whole idea. Marriage, last time I checked, was a life-long commitment and thus a fairly LARGE decision that promises to change your life forever, for better or for worse. There are aspects of it that sound appealing, but to be perfectly honest, it scares the living day-lights out of me.

I don’t know if it stems from a fear of commitment or a fear of being hurt. Perhaps a combination of the two. But it’s the latter that really gets my panties in a wad.

You know the saying “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? I don’t know that I agree with that. I am fully aware that this makes me sound a bit bitter and cynical, but I am truly trying to come from strictly “romantical” sense of the phrase. (I am also fully aware that romantical is not a word… I don’t care.)

Is it better to have loved someone so whole-heartedly and lose them, than to remain fully intact? Have you ever seen or spoken to someone after a break-up? They are devastated. They render themselves ruined. They lose appetites. They lose interest. They lose focus. They lose themselves.

They are wounded, defensive, and often times embittered. They become hard. They become calloused. Or, they become desperate. And they run to anything and anyone for attention and the shallow allusion of love.

I understand that, to a certain degree, this is a stereotype. So, let’s say that the previously described, hypothetical person does not exist. Let’s assume there is another person having experienced the same loss.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity and misery, they look at each relationship as a “learning experience.” They take from each person lessons that they learned and were able to grow from. Each person with whom they shared themselves and conversely took from, they used as an opportunity for development, knowledge, and understanding.

Does that sound romantic? It is a more tolerable and less emotionally taxing way to deal with the losses, to be sure. But, how long will that last? How long can one say to themselves “Our time spent together was productive in that I now am/can/have ______.”

How long can you share such experiences, such moments in your life with so many people before you realize… you would have preferred the consistency, comradery, fellowship and faithfulness of just one?

Do you not leave a part of yourself behind with each person? Do you not have less uncharted territory of your soul to offer? Is there less of you that has not been seen and shared with someone than not? Is it crazy of me to want to reserve, hide, and protect places of my heart and crevices of my soul for only one person? Because when push comes to shove and someone up and walks away, taking the intangible pieces of your heart with them… what do you do? How to respond?

Do those elements of your being that you so freely gave away grow back? Or is it that they never left but are simply bruised, losing the radiance of their former untapped glory?

On a highly personal note, I don’t think that I, Meredith, have the gumption for such transitions because of my innate and unrelenting attachment that subconsciously and viciously develops over a short period of time. I am someone who, through no understanding of my own, has the ability to grow emotionally and sentimentally attached to strangers, much more my friends or a man that I may be interested in.

And this is something that is very hard to deal with. Something that complicates, for me internally, the whole idea of relationships is my seemingly uncontrollable attachment. It is one thing to be unaware of your weakness until after the fact, but it is entirely different to be SO aware of it, knowing that it is inevitable. This foreknowledge creates fear and trepidation.

I know that, in an earlier post, I committed to ignoring such fears and taking the dive because it would be worth it. Turns out, that’s easier said than done.

I’d love some opinions on the matter. I would love to be proved wrong.

4 comments:

Becky said...

I think there's great truth to the "better to have loved..." thing. Here's why.

Whatever happens in the end, for that time that you DO love, you experience a joy so COMPLETE and so TRUE and so totally GOD that it's worth risking anything and everything for it.

Believe me, I went a LONG time protecting myself from the risk of pain. But C.S. Lewis talked about this. It's my favorite quote of all time: http://beckytschamler.blogspot.com/2008/06/love.html

The Gyrovague said...

Meridith,

The most attractive aspect of a woman is not her beauty, it is not her resume, it is not her list of accomplishments or list of relationships. The most attractive thing about a woman hands down is her humility. I say that to encourage you not to get tied up in relationships, dont worry about them. When you are cultivating your relationship with the Lord to the point that you are humbly submitted to him in all things and in all ways you will be so attractive to a Christian man they will be begging to enter into a relationship with you.

Humility attracts humility. When you walk so close with the Lord you will attract an equally humble man who will humbly enter into a relationship with you, and if that relationship is fore ordained you will have a marriage together.

We get so tied up in the relational dynamics of man and woman and it causes so much pain. The risk you take when in proper relation with God is with him as your father, not with the man in this life.

hang in there, cultivate a humble spirit and just wait and remember the words of the poet who said "be still, for something good this way comes"

GinSpaghetti said...

I'm right there with you girl! At 27 I thought I'd be the friend that never found anyone. I thought I was too picky (and maybe I still am), etc... and I'd end up alone forever. Being single has lots of perks though. I enjoy the freedom and the quality "self" time. I'm finally with someone now that I can see as being it for me. (We'll see...) If this is any comfort: Habakkuk 2:3. Take Care! :)

Vicki Small said...

I'm coming from a very different perspective, because I'm much older that you. I spent 16 years in a marriage that never came close to satisfying either of us. We divorced, which is a kind of ongoing death; there's loss of a dream, of a partner, often--as in our case--of a home, as well as a loss of some friends. I took a long time getting past that, but I didn't have sense enough to refrain from "dating," while I healed and learned more about myself.

After six and a half years and a lot of counseling, I met Bruce. We will celebrate our 20th anniversary, next month, by renewing our vows. Our marriage is incredible, Bruce is incredible, and we talk often of how surprised we've been, over the years; we just never imagined a marriage could be *this* good! Don't get me wrong--it is not and has not been "perfect" (ain't no sech animal), but we've always loved each other enough and have been so fully committed to each other that we have done whatever it took to work through the rough places.

When one or the other of us dies, should we say, "Oh, it would be better never to have loved, than to have loved so deeply and lost!"? No way. Nor did I ever consider my first marriage a "waste" of love, effort and years. I grew through all of it and moved closer to being the person I needed to be for Bruce to love, and to be able to love him as he deserves.

Sorry to have gone on so much. By the way, I agree with Gyrovague--put your focus on being the person God intends you to be, where He intends you to be; if, in time, He can use you best by marrying you off to someone, He will bring that to pass. And if it's a marriage He has planned for you, it will be a bit of heaven on earth!