Wondering about love

I was talking on the phone with a prospective employer late this afternoon when dad walked in the backyard, a sheet-and-a-half to the wind already, judging by his tread on the stairs. I wonder sometimes if my hyper-awareness of detail owes something to a childhood spent judging how inebriated he was based on how confidently he ascended the stairs.

When I didn’t respond to him immediately, he stumbled back out in the direction of the pole barn, and I know what that means. Something I don’t want.

“Excuse me,” I said into to the phone, and walked out the back, and yelled, “Don’t you want to eat something?”

“Not hungry.”

“You didn’t have any dinner,” I said, “Come eat something.”

“OK,” I said into the phone, again, “keep talking. I have a few more minutes.” I had made our meal an hour or so earlier and it was simmering on the stove. I microwaved a sleeve of rice to eat it with. Three minutes later we were seated at the counter.

We don’t really say much when we eat supper. If you knew my father, you might think this odd; he’s one of the more talkative people on the planet. But in that condition he has to concentrate on getting the food to his mouth, and I have to concentrate on wishing things were not this way. I push his fourteen-day pill box in his direction on the table, and pour him a little more milk, and watch as he swallows before he gets up and drops on the sofa.

This grinding at my heart, I thought tonight, this feeling that I gnaw between my teeth, it’s the way it’s always been. I love so many people in my life — all the important ones, I think — not because but in spite of.

I think this must be true of more people, on a wider scale; I’m not claiming anything special for myself. And I’m sure the people who love me also love me in spite of.

But today, I found myself thinking, in the middle of certain conversations, when I love from afar — how do I, how do others, resolve the tension between the need for the object to suit me exactly, to fulfill all of my needs so I can feel good about myself, and the freedom that we give to those we love to be who they are — whoever who they are is?

~ by Servetus on August 15, 2014.

17 Responses to “Wondering about love”

  1. Loving an ideal person versus loving a real person? Is it the same kind of love?
    When you love the ideal (ideal in the sense of an idea) person, you get something.
    When you love the real person, you have to give something.
    So one kind of love fills you up and the other depletes you.

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    • I think they are connected, though. Or rather, how I love in reality influences how I love ideally.

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      • I thought about it some more, and it seems that love is best when it’s like an energy exchange or cycle — where you give, but you also get back. You can’t always be pouring the love out and out. There’s got to be a way to fill yourself up, too. You need to feel like you’re getting something from the other person that nourishes you.

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      • 🙂 I like this thought.

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    • interesting

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  2. I don’t have any answers, but what a beautifully written post.

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  3. When or if I figure this out I will let you know. Thank you for writing this post.

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  4. I think expectations are my biggest enemy in these situations. there came a point in my life where I had to consciously learn to love what makes people who they are and put my expectations of who I wanted/needed them to be aside; to love someone for them instead of for me. it doesn’t come easy but eventually things shift within me. as for people I love from afar, the expectations turn into anticipation and appreciation instead, probably because there are no expectations that I have to fulfill in return.

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  5. is it really possible to make a sweeping statement about something like this though, “this is how I love”? I think we’re putting ourselves into a box when we try to do so. each person that we love comes with their own set of circumstances and their own individuality. loving one person may come easy while loving another may not. is that their fault, is it yours? I don’t think “fault” has anything to do with it because love just is, there is no measurement. we measure something in order to count it, to keep track of it, to control it. and in my experience, love can’t be contained or controlled.

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    • sorry about that! I get carried away w/my idealistic thoughts sometimes 😛

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    • I can’t speak for anyone else’s life, but in my life there are definite patterns; at times they are troubling, at times I think they’re actually useful. But they are there.

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    • And I think we may be talking about different things. I very rarely experience love that cannot be controlled. Only once in my life, I think.

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      • control as in how love makes you feel, or to control the situations love puts you in?

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        • isn’t it the same thing? To me love that is not controlled would be a feeling so intense that my actions and decisions were no longer under my control. I’ve experienced that once (when I was 14).

          My extensive childhood catechesis is probably at work here — in which love was viewed as an act of the will. That’s almost exclusively how I experience it, both really and ideally.

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          • I guess I’m just thinking of how sometimes I end up blocking what I want the most and inviting in what I want the least, so I see that as a loss of control over myself. being swept away by love, I think it sometimes feels that way metaphorically but it’s never happened to me realistically.

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  6. Kelbel75 you have nothing to apologize for. You make perfect sense and I completely agree with your statement.

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  7. S – Wow, this post has really plowed me under. :” Tracks of my tears.

    I think that’s love’s path of growth, in my life anyway…. from love overidealized – to love with eyes wide open, learning to sacrifice self for the needs of my loved ones, with varying degrees of success (I am not very “naturally” unselfish, and I know plenty of people who are so, almost reflexively, especially women)- and the final stages of love which first, understands when saying no is really what they NEED…. and next, the very hardest one for me – actually saying NO and following that through…. and knowing it’s because I love, NOT because I’m being selfish. (Yes, a really long sentence, sorry.)

    I also really feel Kelbel’s comment about expectations.

    “This grinding at my heart, I thought tonight, this feeling that I gnaw between my teeth, it’s the way it’s always been.I love so many people in my life — all the important ones, I think — not because but in spite of.”
    – I think I will never forget these words. ❤

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