“Were you there when I was hungry? Were you there when I thirsted? Did you have my name in your actions instead of your mouth? Did you love me when I had none?”
I can’t help but struggle with the concept of love. Watching Romantic Comedies, listening to As Cities Burn’s “The Widow”, having a heart-felt conversation with my roommate, bickering with my mother, having lunch with my grandmother and aunt, struggling with a desire to be loved as much as I love others. I’m always wondering where the reciprocation is? Caught between hopeful expectancy and melancholy apathy.
I know love is self-sacrificing because I’ve given myself so many times. I’m always surprised at the amount of me’s that I can pull out of my chest, like the machine from “The Prestige” is just pumping away right behind my sternum. Giving my clones away to passers-by like a man in a hotdog suit. “It’s by one get one free!” I call out after them, only to see the flyers of me discarded on the ground as they round the corner.
So I quit giving myself away. This paper-man had lived in so many different garbage cans by now that Oscar was getting upset for encroaching on his realty. So I moved upstate, into the seclusion. There was fresh air, there were song birds calling at every moment, there was the gargling as the rivers rushed about to meet their mistress the Atlantic, no reason to shave the forest that grew from my chin. I was akin to the stones and conversed often with the elk. We would talk at length, but the pines always brought back the same question from the elk’s mountainous hideaways:
“You know you weren’t made for solitude. You call to us like we can save you. We weren’t made for your companionship and we weren’t made to piece you back together. You always tell us of this man who made us as if we don’t know him. You call him by name, but his name is all you know.”
Elk always were the wise and mysterious sort. It was back to the Midwest where I would try and find community, where I would try and make a home. Find a cozy house with good bones, work harder at knowing Christ, find time to figure out what I believe and how love really works.
Sometimes, I like to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling. It’s nice to look at the bumps and ridges. They’re like their own little landscape, like another world inverted from ours. It often reminds me that that’s how I see things, like Death Cab’s “Lack of Color”, always fixated on the wrong things. I wonder how God does it. How we’re so small he can see us all with one gaze yet we’re oh so much more than bumps on the ceiling.
How do we love so effectively as you do? All I am is a mess of depression addled nonsense. I know I am more than that but how? Everything we are pushes against you as if our poles were magnetized to be opposite. The Creation has continued to sing you a love song since your thundering voice sounded those billions of years ago and all we do is sow in the discord. Every time I love, I love too much. Every time I guard myself I become calloused and cold. How can I be compassionate and look after myself at the same time?
There are few things I get anxious about, but love is one of them. It’s messy and I often times don’t know how to do it. I’ve messed up a lot of relationships and friendships. I’ve been too selfish, or too forward, or too vulgar. I’m constantly stewing in what I could or couldn’t have done, Bugs Bunny cutting up carrots as I yammer away, unknowingly boiling alive.
I’m really hoping that someday I will understand how to love fully. How to be compassionate and invested for the right reasons. How to keep a healthy distance to allow myself to grow and flourish just as much as those I give love to. Maybe someday I’ll realize that I’m not the only one who struggles with this and maybe one day this will allow someone to be honest with themselves, that’s all I can really hope.