Love will hurt.
What a depressing way to start a blog post.
But, it’s true.
No way around it and yet, we still long to be loved relentlessly and to love the same in return. Love is mysterious and amazing. Love can also be crushing.
Two sides of the same coin.
Before I go any further with my — seemingly dark — thoughts, allow me to take you along on the ride I was on before I realized love is a losing proposition.
However, even though love will hurt, I am more determined than ever to love more deeply and completely.
Dating My Kids
I date my kids.
Yes, hubs and I do date our kids. Since we have a passel of them, we wanted our children to have one on one time with either hubby or I. This means we — semi — regularly take them out on dates.
As they get older, it gets much harder to do.
The teenage years are looming far too close already. They usher in many changes, and they make it harder to take the kids out. Their taste change. They have more friends and more time with those friends, or it becomes harder to find activities which they — and I — find exhilarating. At ten, the zoo is fun, at fourteen, not so much. At the same time, this mama is not going skydiving.
In the Southern Arizonan desert, our Summers sizzle…literally. Even though you may not think so, there is indeed a plus to abnormally elevated Summer temperatures: amazing deals at phenomenal resorts — which we would not usually be able to afford.
I decided to treat the twins to a night at one such fun place…with a very large pool.
It was a Wednesday afternoon, and we were zooming down the road on our way to our date when my thoughts went wonky — which for me is not uncommon when I drive. As I was listening to my kiddos in the back of the car, I was also thinking about how much I love them.
My thoughts also took me to all those I love — even some who are no longer with us.
That’s when I realized, love — like life — is fragile.
The Pain of Loving
Love will hurt for many reasons: betrayal or love remiss are the most common. However, love will hurt even when it is genuine and pure.
At some point, our loved one will leave us, or we will leave them. Death will claim us — sadly — for some sooner rather than later, and when it does, we will have a broken heart, or we will cause a broken heart.
Departing may not be as final as death. If we are parents, our children will leave us (as they should). Friends will move to another part of the country. Either way, we will experience pain because we love.
No way around it.
Some would say: what’s the point then? Why love? Why not just become a hermit and avoid the whole shebang?
Fair questions to be sure especially when we have witnessed — or experienced — the pain of parting. We would do a lot to avoid such pain. I know the idea of never hurting is enticing although it is entirely utopian to be sure.
We never want to experience the pain of loss, and we do not wish it on anyone. Nonetheless, it is a certainty. It will happen.
While running for the hills may appeal to some, knowing love will hurt makes me want to love more.
True love is the lifeblood of a life well lived. We are wired to receive and give unconditional love. We are meant to be in relationship from cradle to grave. We thrive under the watchful eye of true love.
Knowing what I know about the brevity of life, and realizing I have now lived five decades, I want to abandon myself to unconditional love more fully than ever before. I can’t take anything with me when I go and none of the “stuff” matters. I am not saying I do not enjoy “stuff” because that would be a lie. However, in the end, stuff is stuff.
One of my grandmothers has been gone for more than thirty years, so has my nanny and yet, they remain alive within me. Gone but not forgotten. Same with my parents.
All these beings were part of my life for a time, and now, they are gone only leaving behind memories and love.
My goal is to let those I genuinely care about KNOW they are loved. No questions. No doubts.
I want to love with abandon, unafraid, and relentless. When my time comes, I want to know I loved well and true.
Yes, love will hurt. I will have to say more goodbyes. However, I want to say goodbye without regrets. Goodbyes I can live with. Regrets, not so much.
Life is short.
It truly is.
Shorter than we think when we are young.
One day, I was a first-time mom, half-crazed from lack of sleep, wondering how I could ever possibly raise this little tyke to adulthood without making too many mistakes. I blinked twice and there he was all grown-up holding a child of his own and having turned out rather well despite my — many — shortcomings.
I am so grateful that in love, there is also grace.
It’s true. Anyone can tell you how quickly life enfolds.
Thirty years is but two minutes in the face of eternity.
For this reason, we must make every minute count.
The erroneous thinking that if we fail to take a chance on love, we, therefore, will not feel the pain of loss is as unwise as it is untrue. The withholding of love does not equal no pain. Not participating in relationships does not infer a pain-free life.
The pain of loss after having loved well is nothing compared to the feelings love was foreign to our shores. The feelings of not being loved create far more issues than the grief we experience when a beloved one leaves us.
Now, let’s be clear. What we call love is not always love.
We can utter an “I love pasta” as readily as an “I love my daughter.” I would venture to say an individual will love pasta a heck of a lot less than their child.
The word “Love” is thrown around like confetti. Even abusers and controllers whisper “I did it because I love you.”
Love is a verb…meaning it involves action. It is not merely a pretty word or punctuation like a period at the end of a sentence. Uttering “I love you” does not make these word magically become true.
Love is Kind
I don’t mean to get all religious on you nor to proselytize, far be it from me. Nonetheless, allow me to humbly share a Scripture — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to be exact:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Brené Brown says it thus:
We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.
Love Will Hurt
I have struggled with losses in the last few years: my best-friend moved away, my father passed away, and three of my kids have left the nest, two to another state.
All painful for various reasons and at the same time for the same reason: change.
My best friend and I are still best friends even though maintaining a long distance friendship has its drawbacks.
My father, I take comfort in knowing I was with him and was able to say my goodbyes and let him know he was loved.
As for my children, it has been hard. How can human being I carried within me and spend so many years raising could leave so easily and move on?
“Bye, nice knowing you, gonna live my life now.”
At the same time, I raised them for this very reason…to leave and have their own life.
Even though, I know they would one day go, it does not make the parting easier. I miss them.
I could dwell on the loss.
I don’t want to.
For each of these relationships, I want to mindfully be grateful for the years they were here with me. I want to enjoy my time with my loved ones. I want to let them know they are loved, and I must take care of myself as well.
Rather than focus on the losses, which I still do on occasion, I must take care of my needs and look to things, places, and people who bring me joy.
I can set my mind on the blessings.
Yes, love will hurt, but the pain I feel means I loved and that is everything.