Have You Ever Been Truly Loved?
Think about it. What would that look like? What would another have to do–what lengths would another have to go through–to let you know that you are deeply loved, cherished, adored, understood; that you are real and irreplaceable, and that there’s no way the other person is going to walk out on you, turn their back on you, leave you, except through death? (Or except if you do something hideous and unprovoked.)
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Someone asked me the other day if I’ve ever been in love.
And I replied, Maybe, when I was much younger; maybe when I was 19 or so.
But then I added to the effect of:
But as an adult, I would rephrase this question to: Have I ever loved deeply?
And yes I have. I have loved very deeply. To me, love is a verb, a choice, a decision, an activity of the soul, not just the heart; it’s an expression of who we are and have become as a person. It’s so much more than a feeling that another elicits in us; it’s an expression of our depths and the level of inner development and awareness we have reached. And so, yes, I have loved another person very deeply—I let someone else very deep into my heart and soul and mind, I exposed myself, I allowed myself to be vulnerable—very vulnerable—I allowed myself to be hurt (a few times). And I believe I “lived the questions” very well in that relationship (much longer than most people would). I believe I went the extra mile two or three or four or five times for her—and these were some of the toughest miles I’ve ever had to go—I was bruised and battered and heartbroken.
But what other choice was there to make? There was enough of a connection and a spark initially, and so I leapt, I took the leap—I rowed, rowed for the falls. There really is no other choice to make if one really is going to take this “living the questions” stuff seriously!—
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”
What other choice do we as human beings have? Save ourselves? For what? Life is short, and no one gets out of here alive. So either we get busy loving or we get busy shriveling up and dying.
And so have I ever been deeply loved? Have any of us?
I know I haven’t. I’ve been tried on, used, betrayed, discarded, but never deeply loved or understood or cherished—it’s all been very temporary and flimsy. And that is not an exercise in self-pity; this just is what it is; this is just reality. And I haven’t lost hope/faith by any means. The search goes on. . . .
“Late Fragment” – Raymond Carver
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.