Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be

Love makes you better.

You don't realize this until you first really love someone. Until the first time you comprehend how it is possible to love a person even when and while you're furious at them. The first time you know with absolute certainty that you can tell them, that one person, anything. When you balance their needs with your own and find them equal, when their happiness is an essential part of you being happy, when you trust them with anything and everything. When even when you don't understand each other, you still know, still trust, still love. It doesn't have to be sexual or even familial. The first person who really teaches you how to love might be a friend, a brother, a companion. Parents teach us something different: what it is to be loved unconditionally, a love we cannot ever equal.

Perhaps no love is ever really equal - there always seems to be a push and pull, a time when one loves more, then the other. Or perhaps simply it's a time when one needs more, and then the balance of need shifts. Such things can happen over months, or weeks, or days, or even hours and minutes. But love... love is constant.

Each person might have his own faults, her own difficulties, but those are faced and known and accepted, even if they are not comprehended. Maybe I don't understand why certain words trigger a reaction in you that you don't even recognize - but I do, and I know those words, and I step lightly around them. Perhaps you will never be able to understand why my vulnerabilities run narrow and deep, a core handful of issues the mere touching of which is enough to send me into a tailspin that might last days. But you remind me of them, remind me when I am most exposed to them, and when all else fails... you pick up the pieces and form them into me again. Love means that I watch myself carefully, so that the tailspin doesn't harm you; love means that you're there for me even when it does.

Love doesn't require wholeness, or enough-ness, or change. Love sees you exactly as you are today, with every flaw and fault and issue, every wound-tight tension and heavy load, every imperfection of character or form or thought, and says one thing: "Let me be closer to you."

And then love shakes its head. "Let us just... be one in heart, and I will be happy. Let me know that the hurts we do each other will not last in the long run, that you will always be with me, that no distance will part the closeness we have in heart."

Love doesn't care that this morning we were fighting, if you need me now. Love will shelve any difficulty, irritation, or upsetness until it can be faced and handled - but love will make us face them, so that no weaknesses from them fester in either of us.

Love does not fight dirty. Two who love know each other's fault lines, weak points, know the words that would hurt the most, know which idea will do the most damage in a moment of weakness. Love is fighting without using those cracks in the soul to win. Love knows there are things it will never say to you, no matter how true, because they are the things you need love most not to say.

Love is not spent, or limited. Loving one person, even infinitely, does not infringe upon the ability to bear more love, to show it to others. Love is not hoarded or reserved for special occasions, because it cannot be restrained. And yet... love is imperfect. Or perhaps it is just that we love imperfectly.

Sometimes we say the things we shouldn't; sometimes the issues between us become more important, for a moment, than us - and sometimes in that moment we make mistakes. But even then, love is there to understand, to regret, to repent, to forgive. Love lets your hurts pull me out of mine, so that I may attend to you; by such, love helps us both.

Love is a moment and a memory. It is a smile, a hug, a family, a friend, an understanding of something no one else in the world knows. It bends, perhaps it changes, but when it's real it never goes away.

And as the Clint Black song goes... it is truly something that we do.


  1. This is beautiful Whit! I miss you and love you so much!!

  2. Wow Whitt! I LOVE this... I cried... Thanks for the deep thoughts. Love ya!