Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Love, such as it is

For as long as I can remember, I regularly had episodes of strong deja vu.  I chose to interpret this as a small evidence that life was going the way it was supposed to.  Turns out, my brain was malfunctioning on a regular basis, and it hasn't happened since I started taking medication. But, hey, if you want optimism, I'm your girl.

I have a lot of reasons for optimism.  I have been well-loved by good people, and life has been mostly good to me. I have faith in things much bigger and more beautiful than human foibles and squabbles, things that make the hard stuff and the mistakes less painful and easier to endure.

I made a sort of critical comment the other day, and Doug said, "Wow, you don't have much faith in humanity, do you?"  I laughed and said, "Of course not. Tremendous love for, yes, but faith in? No, no I don't.  I've been told not to put my faith in the arm of flesh, and I've found that life goes better when I don't.  My faith's in bigger things."  Love the people around you, and put your faith in God. Its a pretty happy way to live.

I do have faith in individual persons, to a degree.  I may misread someone's face now and then, but I almost never misread a person's countenance. I am rarely surprised by people.  But Doug has accused me of occasionally having too rosy a view of some people. He's usually been right, and when that happens, it annoys the heck out of me.  I've found that if you believe the best of people, and treat them as though that's who they are, they will mostly live up to it. And when they don't, well, I'm not so hot, either, so maybe we can all just be a little kinder and more forgiving of each other, and we'll try again tomorrow.

But there are some cuts that go a little deeper, some disappointments that sting a bit more.  And once in a while you realize that someone just isn't, and is not going to be, the person you wish they were, and maybe they aren't even capable of it. Not necessarily who they need to be or should be, but who you want them to be, for you.  And maybe that does coincide with who they should be.  You can't argue or lecture or shame or cajole or even necessarily persuade someone to be a different person, especially if you are the one hurt by who they're not. No matter how much it may hurt at first, sometimes you just have to accept that they are what they are, and, with the Lord in your life, you don't need anyone else to be anything for you, as desperately as you may desire it, and even as much as they should be.  You simply need to forgive them for being mortal and love them as they are, with no other expectations.  That may be the only way to have peace, and to love them as much as we should.

I've found that when you do that, suddenly you can see the good things about them a little more clearly, and love those things a little bit more. Resentment can melt into affection, even gratitude.  That person who caused you so much hurt and anger can become someone you adore.  They won't become the person you had wished they were, but forgiveness and letting go of those old expectations can transform you.  You learn to not only love, but like the person they are, instead of resenting them for the person they aren't.

There may be moments when you see something that resembles the relationship you think you want, or should have, or deserve. And it might spark a moment of jealousy, anger, frustration, and/or hurt. Take a step back, take a deep breath and remember that the Savior loves you completely. And that person probably loves you the only way they know how.  That needs to be enough sometimes, and peace only comes when you let the rest go.

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