I spoke in this
post about awaking to the notion of seeing people as God sees them. And then in this post about the loneliness
that can follow.
On the occasion of my anniversary, I want to explore how marriage can assist in the ability to love others, in the true meaning of Christian love.
This has been the loneliest year of my life, I think. (Edited to add:
this sentence and the title of this post are not necessarily related).
Strangely, this bout with loneliness has been fruitful, rather than fearful. Not
to say there haven't been some very dark moments or lots of sad tears shed.
But the loneliness-as-desert metaphor seemed more real to me, less like the empty platitude it had been in the past.
I feel it is the relinquishing of the loneliness to God that helps. Yes, I am lonely, afraid, sad. It hurts. I can not do anything about the deep ache in the chest that I have. I can not will it away. I can give it up, endure from one breath to the next, and make a resolution to love through the pain.
Have I done this perfectly? Absolutely not. I have caused hurts and misunderstandings in my novice efforts to love. Opening to love means opening to pain. Opening to love means taking the warm flush of returned love along with the cold heaviness of love ignored.
Loving means that if the other can't love back, you still love.
Loving means that when the other chooses to attend to others, you still love the other and the ones being attended to.
Loving means overlooking human frailty in others, and begging God to forgive your own.
Love means loving for the sake of the Other, not for your own. Love.
Can this be done through sheer force of will?
Only the grace, freely given from the One who gave all, can make love possible.
Only complete union with the Suffering Servant can make our own suffering bearable.
The temptations to strike out, draw in, and protect are strong. Sometimes given into, even. Does this ease the pain of loneliness? No.
There is nothing self-indulgent about True Love.
So then, what is the answer?
One breath to the next, offer the heaviness for all the lonely, abandoned, unloved. Solidarity. Companionship in loneliness. Unite the suffering with the Conqueror of all suffering. The One who conquered death is the only One that can make our own littleness bearable.
What does this have to do with my anniversary?
This year defies description.
disappointment ~ delight
panic ~ peace
grief ~ goodness
loneliness ~ love
fear ~ fortitude
terror ~ trust
These all apply.
The contradiction of life.
The Mystery of Love
The Eternity of LOVE!
I am learning, through my marriage and my dear husband, to embrace the mystery of Love, to soak it in, to let Love run through me. To relate to the world in love, with my marriage as a classroom and laboratory. To have a safe place to be while I am learning, and to have a companion in the effort. I am learning what needs to be done, and purifying my intention to carry it out. I am learning just how dependent on God's
grace and mercy I am if I am ever really to love well.
It is with utter gratitude and deep love I thank my husband for our marriage, for our life together, and for our shared love of Love Himself.