Love As Sacrifice

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“If you need love take the time to be love.”

A song I used to listen to on Christian radio (back when I didn’t know Christian music was so musically uninteresting) used to tell me that. When I was young I often thought that if we loved others we would be loved in return. By others. By God. Everybody would just be happy all the time. Everyone would feel loved and cared for.

Now that I’m older I realize how misconstrued love has become.

More often than not, love is one sided. I realize this now. I’m not talking about the kind of boy meets girl love and they get married and have a family and stick with each other through it all kind of love. I’m talking about the ability to love people in general. To love the guy who paid for his garments while trying to pick you up. The girl at work who can’t stop making your life miserable. The struggling marriage. The little boy in Ethiopia who needs donations to get a better education and food. That kind of love. The kind that feels separate from you. Distant. Far away. Unnecessary. That kind of love. The kind that doesn’t give back, but takes from you. The kind of love that’s hard.

That’s true love.

I once had a philosophical discussion with one of my friends in college. She asked me, while writing her philosophy paper on the matter, about a scenario with two possible outcomes, and wondered which of the scenarios was a more true act of love.

“If a man marries a woman he believes to be in love with, but falls out of love with her, is it more of an act of love if he stays with her and takes care of her despite falling out of love? Or is it better that he leave her and let’s her find someone who truly loves her?”

I pondered it deeply. After a few minutes I concluded: “I think it is better to stay with her and take care of her despite his lack of love for her. As long as he is not abusing her and meeting her emotional needs in the same manner as if he were still in love with her.”

“So you think it is a greater act of love to pretend to love than to actually love?” She seems a bit disappointed in my response. Even shocked. She knew me well enough to be the kind of hopeless romantic who writes poetry and dreams of being in love with love. What she didn’t know is the romantic is only part of myself.

I am also a realist….on occasion.

“Yes, because I think love isn’t always a feeling. I think culture has helped us to buy into the idea that love is all about impulse and feelings. I think that’s only half the story. I think love begins as impulse and feeling. But over time, I think feelings are fleeting. I think when love becomes a choice it is more true. By that point, it isn’t about what you can get from the person, but what you can give. You leave the selfish behind and really have to take into account what they need from you, or even want from you, and set aside yourself. I think of that as a greater act of love.”

“Self sacrifice as the ultimate love.”

“Yes. Not to say that pretending you are in love with someone still doesn’t help you fall back in love with them either. I think emotions can take turns for seemingly worse, or even go numb from time to time. I experience it a lot.”

If you need love, take the time to be love.

People do stupid things to hurt you, intentional or otherwise. They fight with you. They don’t accept your help. They hurt themselves because they know it hurts you. You stop loving them because it’s easy. But need love means to be love. If you want to be loved you have to offer it in the hopes of it being returned, but not expect it. That’s the hardest part. Love can be one sided. Some people say it’s destructive to be in one sided relationships, but I’m beginning to wonder if it actually is. Emotions can be torn and broken, but the human spirit has an uncanny knack of justifying anything. Even for pulling ourselves out of emotional torment. I suffer from depression. I have learned how to keep living when emotions turn on you. You just do it. You get up and choose to stay alive. Perhaps that is what love is. Choosing to love even when it hurts. Choosing to care about someone or something even if it means agony.

Just wondering out loud.

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Sometimes hard things happen that you have nothing you can do about. Thankfully I have a God who is bigger than all of those problems.
I have a God bigger than my health.
Bigger than my relationships.
Bigger than any fears or doubts I could ever have.
That blows my mind.

Put I my two weeks notice at one job. Accepted the promotion of another. That’s about it. Long day. Too tired to write more.

No Good, Awful, Very Weird Day….

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“You know, not that we don’t care about you, but we forgot you came into work today too!”

“I’m just upset at myself that I forgot I had to come in at all. What’s wrong with me? Also, I ran out the door so fast….do you have any feminine supplies?”

She smiled at me. “Of course. In my purse, follow me.”

I was relieved, but no less embarrassed to hear those words. All of them. I had gone most of my educational career having not missed a day of school unless I felt like I was on my death bed. Even into college. To top it all off that time of the month had come without me noticing. It had been the kind of day that went from bad to worse very quickly.

Then it just got weird from there.

“Excuse me, are you Emily?” She asked me. I looked up and smiled. Professional as always.

“Yeah that’s me.” Who wants to know and why? I couldn’t help but ask in my own head. It had already been a bad day. I didn’t want it to get worse.

“I work at the eye clinic down the hall, and wanted to see your frames because a lot of customers have come in and told us that you have some they want. We intend to start buying your brand.”

“Oh, yeah. Here.” I took off my glasses for a moment and handed them over. You’re wearing a lab coat, you look more than trust worthy. She looked at them, wrote down the brand and color, and then handed them back to me. “Thank you so much have a good day.” She told me. I watched her saunter off, her white lab coat swishing behind her as she walked down the hallway of the mall. I hadn’t even known there was an eye clinic down there. Oh wait. I did. One of my former coworkers went there after work one day and came back after having an issue with eye irritation. I had forgotten about that.

A very odd conversation. Even more odd that people could know me by name, when I don’t know theirs. Even more odd that I had started a community trend without ever knowing it. After a moment I took off my glasses and squinted hoping to read the brand, realizing I had never known either. Etnia Barcelona. I had never heard of them. Wore them for four years and never even knew. I’d Google them later. Maybe Pin them on Pinterest.

Maybe I wouldn’t.

The glasses were a gift from my aunt. She had gotten them for me one summer, because I had gone with her to the eye doctor and tried them on for fun. I was living with her while I was commuting to my internship during the week, and had been such a joy and help to her, that she felt she wanted to get them for me as a thank you. “Who says function can’t be fashionable?” She cooed as I put them on. I felt artsy then. Like a designer, working in a design studio, complete with sweet specks and a pen in hand. I didn’t mind that I was just an intern. I had work to do. Designs to plan out. Sketches to make. That was then.

Now I just felt/feel strange. About everything.

Later that afternoon my manager came over to talk to me about a position opening up. “Part Time. Benefits. Vacation time. It might be worth your while.” I was a little awe struck. “I just came in late and you’re giving me first dibs on this position?” It felt inappropriate. Even wrong. “It’s only your second offense….actually it’s only half an offense if you come in and call. So you’ve had only 1.5 offenses. You get like six of them.” I didn’t know what to say. My brain over loaded with the possibilities and opportunities. I could only manage to say “I’ll think about it.”

Now I’m here. Writing about it. Relieved the day is over, but still having a million things to think about.

Awake Too Early and Writing

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Emotionally, my yesterday was rough. Today, I don’t feel much different. My heart aches missing him. So much so that I spent $35 to get my nails done so I felt prettier and therefore better about myself. It helped very little as all monetary attempts at happiness do. My body is tired from working both jobs yesterday. I have to waitress again today until who knows when, depending on how busy it is.

I’m awake far too early right now.

Some people in my life are not taking to the idea I might end up in the Pacific Northwest someday. Giving it some time. They fear I will never be able to see them again, because their funds and mine will be lacking in the future. Like they know I for sure I won’t get a good job somewhere that will make me a decent amount of money and I’ll be poor all my life. Please. I am not concerned about it really. One day they will come around. Right now they just think I’m having a post vacation high, and it will pass. I’m afraid I’m too stubborn to let this pass. I’ve made my decision.

Though maybe I should have waited a bit longer to tell them my plans.

Perhaps I will write you a much more interesting post later. Perhaps not. Maybe not until tomorrow. Not so sure yet.

Fly Away

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The plane ride was much faster for some reason on the way home. I dreaded touch down. I dreaded stepping off the gateway that made me feel closer to him. The moment I got my bags and stepped into the parking garage ever ounce of me hated the Midwest. It was flat. It was cold. He wasn’t here. It just wasn’t my place. It never has been. For so long we argued about living in the Midwest. Now I was there. Now I am here. There is no comparison. There was better for me.

When I was waiting in San Francesco, every heartache I had ever felt seemed to collapse on me all at once. I didn’t want to cry at the gate. I didn’t even want to cry in the car, he just seemed so optimistic. On the plane I didn’t either, since there were just too many witnesses. So I festered anger in my sorrow, and when I got home and closed my bedroom door behind me…I cried on and off for a good long time.

I had for once in my life felt happy. Now it was so far away. So now, I plan to fly away…just need the funds.