Saturday, August 12, 2006

Extreme

I've been thinking about love a lot lately. It's no surprise really. I've had a tremendous upsurge in my spiritual life lately, and the first commandment of my religion after all is to love. The header of my blog proclaims that the only answers I know are to love. The intense parental involvement required by the beginning of the school year has brought my maternal love to the foreground of my consciousness. And...the biggie, two weeks ago, I asked my husband to move out, not as a step to ending our marriage, but in a throw everything to the winds efforts to save it. The problems that have led to this aren't fit for public consumption, but I know one thing, it's not lack of love. It's more along the lines of stupidity in expressing love.

There's a lyric in a Don Henley song that I always feared applied to me. "For you, girl, there's just not enough love in the world." I've always seemed to want more love than was out there for me, and that was even after I stripped away youthful, romantic notions of what love would be. No matter how much I got, I wanted, needed more. Romance is one thing. Love is another. While the former is fantastic, the latter is phenomenal, and it's addictive. Like any other addiction, once you've got the jones for it, there's not much you won't do to get your fix. I look at some of the things I've done to be loved and just have to shake my head now. I know I'm not the only one who's seen that image in the mirror.

When you're a love junkie like me, the realization that you are loved is flooring. It's the foundation of my recent spiritual growth spurt that hasn't quite yet worked its way into words. How can one express what it's like when you realize that a need has already been met, and the ache you've been tending is more a memory than a real problem? Deeply heady, heart-y stuff here. It's no wonder I don't have words for it yet.

Even better than being loved though is loving. This is absolutely the most transfomative, transcendent experience in the world, and it takes more gut level courage than almost anything else in the world. The inspiring Gannet Girl of Search the Sea, in her old blog, Midlife Matters, once wrote the answer she received in prayer for a fellow blogger. I stole her words because they hit me exactly where I was living, and not a day has gone by since I first read them that I haven't pondered just what they meant and how I could live them. These words are simply: Love recklessly. Love extravagantly. Love with abandon.

My days of physical abandon are behind me, but I still love the freedom and exhilaration I see in extreme sports. Part of me would love to jump out of a plane with a snowboard and zoom down a mountain. I'm no longer willing to risk death though for the absolute high of pushing your body to do something wild. Loving is extreme living though, and it creates just as intense of a high. It requires the same willingness to risk everything, and that's where courage comes in. Really loving means knowing that you're going to get hurt, because in some ways there is nothing anyone can do to truly merit the gift of love. The irony here is that everyone deserves it.

I'm choosing to live extreme, to put myself out there and know that I'm going to get bumped, bruised and even seriously broken. I have faith that I'm also being healed. I'm not an idiot. I'm working on my skills, though defining what these are when it comes to love is not easy. Being a back to the basics woman in many ways, I'm keeping 1 Corinthians 13 as my guide. Years from now, I hope I'll still be shaking my head at some of the things I've done , but this time, to give love. I'm trusting in the riches in my heart to be extravagant with my love. I'm surrendering my concepts of what love should be to learn more what love is. It's an abandonment of self in which truer self is discovered.

It is intoxicating, and it hurts badly. It strengthens me and leaves me gasping for breath at the same time. I know though that without truly exploring love, I'm killing myself off a piece at a time, and that's simply unacceptable. For me to choose to live means I have to choose to love, regardless of the risk.

5 Comments:

Blogger Robbie said...

Hugs to you Cynthia I didn't realize there were turbulant winds out your way. May you find the love you need.

P.S. I love your music selection. I was nosing around some Janis Joplin this week and Billy Holiday. Hey! You forgot Ella Fitzgerald. :-)

August 12, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger gigi said...

I'm so sorry, Cynthia. I won't pretend to understand what's going on here, but I do hope you find that which you seek. I wish you love...

August 12, 2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Very well explained. I hope you are able to work it all out to your satisfaction, Cynthia. Wish I could offer more in the way of insight, but wouldn't dream of it since I don't know the particulars. In terms of generalities, though, I know what you mean about love. It guides everything I do, which sounds simple and beautiful, but it often isn't. It can be very complicated.

August 12, 2006 5:21 PM  
Blogger Shelina said...

Hugs to you from me too Cynthia. I don't know your situation, but there are different kinds of love, and different ways of expressing it. There is also a contented kind of love where you enjoy being with each other in the moment, without the big thrill excitement.
A lot of my problems are that the person expressing the love doesn't express it in a way that the recipient understands or expects. This causes a lot of conflicts. Neither party feels loved, but both are. Maybe talking about what makes each party feel loved, and the other party deciding if that is something they are willing to do would help.

August 15, 2006 9:16 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Heady stuff indeed. I am in an absolute opposite space. I have no time or brainpower left to contemplate the complexities of life, love, or human relationships. You do it for me for awhile, okay? :-]

August 16, 2006 10:31 AM  

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