Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Four Loves: Appreciative Love

Well, I'm writing again. I was a bit concerned with posting the last post, but it seemed to be a necessary step. For me all I have are the words to sort through to make sense of the emotions.

I don't know what I am longing for. I had a mini-crisis yesterday when I got to thinking about next year. Never have I been this clueless. At the same time it is a tad liberating to think that I don't have any big requirements of where I should be.

The freedom could be intoxicating, but for me this kind of freedom isn't free. It comes with my own expectations, my own concerns of how the future is to unfold. I need to be tied down, tied to a commitment. It motivates me. Without that motivation—whether that be academic, personal, or professional—I am nothing. With that motivation I have the willpower to make things happen, to pursue things and people to the ends of the Earth.

There are a few people that fit that build, but I don't sense that same drive with even a few of them. But this lies again in the area from my last post. I don't know what kind of friend I am supposed to be. More importantly, I don't know if my reality is set where theirs is. As it is, a relationship of any kind needs not reality, only mutual understanding. Where I am lacking is the sureness of the mutual understanding.

How does one address the feelings, the stirrings of the heart for a friend? If there was one thing I wish I knew, of all the secrets of the world, this would be the one I would want to know the most. I doubt at times how well-rooted my friends are even now, after all that we've been through. I fear if I even push the least again the friendship that it will fall over like a plant weakly rooted in soft ground.

I'm now endeavoring to read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis again, a year after reading it before. I read it for the first time last fall, the most dynamic emotional period in my life. It was then when those rose-colored glasses came off. It was then when I awoke from my emotional slumber. This awakening is something I have yet to fully reconcile, but the battle is being won slowly. I read The Four Loves last fall to attempt to gain some insight into the feelings that waged within me, attempting to discern what those turbulent feelings were exactly. I still don't know what those feelings were about. I still don't know where that friendship stands. It stands on the shakiest of ground, but the book did provide some comfort in reading.

What I did learn from reading it that first time, which prompted my first poem—the one that is contained as a seed in every one of them since—and the relationship that it indirectly spoke of is encapsulated in the following quote from the book:
Need-love says of a woman 'I cannot live without her'; Gift-love longs to give her happiness, comfort, protection - if possible, wealth; Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all.

Yes, those weren't the four loves. This pertains Lewis's initial divisions of the four loves' components. I wrestled with all three sub-types of love for the other that fall and into the spring. Slowly that love was put into its correct perspective and has now remained part-and-parcel wrapped in appreciative love. However, the seeds of the others remain and, with only the slightest of touches, can bring alive those sleeping dreams.

What my hope is in re-reading The Four Loves now is to do a self-assessment and to awaken myself to the inadequacies, to learn myself even better so that I can become a better person, a better friend, and hopefully in the future the kind of lover that I want to strive to be.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Out of the Night

There has been a distinct quiet wistfulness I have felt in walking across campus the past few evenings. I keep catching myself thinking back to the years gone by. I continue to think of what's been accomplished, what I wish I could have changed, and what I now miss. What worries me is that these ponderings are coming before the task is done. I think I'm getting ahead of myself.

Sometimes I wish I didn't care so much about the past. I think that's where most of my stiffness and over caution comes from. It seems that the past is always there to tell me: "No, don't go a step further." It's as though I am trying to not repeat past mistakes or to be burned once more, but it happens no matter how much I try to subconsciously stop change. I have the tendency to want to keep the pictures perfect, to not allow the imperfections to be seen.

But how does change sting so! Words spoken and actions done that sever the past hurt the most. Somehow I need to find my way through it though the maze. Somehow, but I am still unsure how. The future seems to remain in a hazy fog.

What's more, it seems I am reminded how much I am clueless to what others want of me. I don't know what kind of friend I should be. All the lines have become blurred for me. It's as though someone took off my rose-colored glasses I wore for my first three years in college and put on a set of glasses that blurred my vision. My heart has been thrown into this blurred state.

If life is truly a dance, as so many country songs state as matter of fact, then I've been stepping on a lot of toes lately. Too many, some might say. But it's through these missteps and miscues that we learn who we are and who others truly are. Masterpiece pictures we first saw become less-than-perfect pieces of flawed art. But, in the end, it's important that the dance occurred in the first place.

And so that brings me back to the blurred heart of mine, which has caused me to lose my way on the Path. It's by God's grace that I am back on the Path and His alone. However, the journey is not close to being over.

I have not been consoled in my troubled heart. I do not sense an intellectual or physical inadequacy. No, my weakness is emotional. And, sad to say, it has been the case for the longest of times. And the only thing that is keeping this unleveled stool of mine from falling asunder is God and my faith in Him.

The question for me is this: will my faith hold out? Will it see itself through to the end? Will it wait on the Lord with all might that can be mustered? Or will it wilt when put to the test? Is not the test a daily ordeal? How can we not be concerned for each of our next failures? It is through the Lord that we are able to stave off the doubts of the heart, to stave off the temptation of giving up and giving in.

Still, I want my heart to be broken. I want my heart to be broken and bruised. I want to have my toes stepped on as we all move out on the dance floor. And yet that dance partner hasn't come around. I am adept enough to know that these things don't just fall into one's lap. No, it's something to be searched for, but maybe I've been looking in the wrong places.

However, that's been the most confounding part because I thought it was honorable to be looking where I have. How confounding it is. It may be these words that have been written by my hand that incriminate me to this hapless state I am in currently. It is these words that chain me to being alone. However, I cannot purport something else to be my true self for this is me. I cannot put on old clothes that hide my true self. These words past and present are a part of me. And yet I continue to weigh myself down with chains still further.

Maybe I should just put on the rose-colored glasses once more and pretend everything is okay. However, for me it isn't okay, and there is no way to return to that blissful ignorance of the heart from my youth.

My spiritual dark night of the summer maybe over—thanks be to God—but my emotional dark night is here to stay for the long term. How do I pray that it will depart me for it haunts me still.

It may be the cross that I am to bear. It is through these struggles that the Lord will grant the peace of heart that I so desire. It is through Him that all things do come, and for that I shall remain patient as best as my heart can remain.

Out of the Night

What love do I feel within me;
It’s the peace you bring, O Lord.
The tranquility is not my doing,
Rather the work of your calming hands.

What merciful ways in which you free
For which my heart must sing, O Lord.
The fortitude is quickly swelling,
Ascending like an eagle over troubled lands.

Your soothing presence before me
Covers me with a grace so stirring, O Lord.
It counteracts against the temptations growing,
Subduing the Foe with a might so grand.

The Foe is no match to thee;
You are mightier than any realm or king, O Lord.
I am thankful for your merciful giving
So that I might, with you, so firmly stand.

I am forever grateful for my now renewed sight
And for being brought out from that cold dark night.