27 September 2011

Falling in Love

I've kept from writing anything like this in any public channel for as long as possible, lest I make either of us look bad or ruin any chance of repair, but I don't know. I guess something had to give.

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything."

A friend's Facebook post recalled this old Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ quote to me this morning, but to be honest, it's been on my mind for the longest time.

If you asked me whether I harbored any bitterness over the breakup, I'd point you to that quote, then tell you that the love had decided everything for me: where I lived, how much time I spent with other people, which dreams to pursue and to shelve, and which emotional and psychological sacrifices to make and to accept.

Objectively, I don't or can't regret anything, not any of the decisions I made precisely because of how important this love had been to me. It was painful but, as Fr. Arrupe said, practical, as well as rewarding in its own way. I remind myself that all of that stuff, good and bad, made me who I am now—stronger, more confident, more independent, and even, arguably, more content than I have ever been in my life. I can wholeheartedly say that I am grateful for everything that happened.

Emotionally, however, I can't help feeling robbed, cheated, and lost.

You'll have to pardon me for shaking my head at statements like, "At least you're not starving," or, given today's events, feeling unaffected by others' misfortune. If I were feeling really cheesy, I'd quote the opening lines to Stars' "In Our Bedroom After the War" just to make some "cool" or "literary" point.*

Sure, I enjoy my job, I have a great family and great friends, I'm secure in my faith, I have neat hobbies, I can pay all my bills, I have a roof over my head, and I eat well; those things are always at the top of my head. Yet none of it seems as bright as it used to be, because the reason I worked to reach this kind of satisfaction is gone, and continuing to do it for myself or for its own sake somehow seems less worthy.

It's what happens when you build your life around something, only to find that your best efforts can't keep that something from disintegrating, nor the wind from stealing it all away, so that what you've built is now an empty shell.

I have faith that things will eventually get better, and if anything I believe about the Man Upstairs is true, they will work out for the best. That still doesn't do much to change how I feel right now.

* Oh, what the hell.

"Wake up! Say good morning to that sleepy person lying next to you. If there's no one there, then there's no one there, but at least the war is over!"

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