But, I still believe in love.
I’ve learned to believe in the love that is less about me getting my needs met and more about appreciating and marveling at the beautiful qualities of the people and places and events in my life.
My boys are growing up. I’m feeling nostalgic. Looking at old pictures. Reflecting on a life that was at once picturesque and in flux. My marriage’s unraveling started long ago and with every bright and cheery photo I can recall the accompanying stress my ex and I were enduring. Now sometimes I wonder, “how could I have taken that for granted? It was so close to perfect.”
Back to reality. It’s over. I see my ex and there’s not an ounce of romance or attraction between us. But, in spite of everything, there is love. There is so much to resent about him (and I’m sure he feels the same about me); it can be hard to focus on the good. Hard until I look into my children’s eyes and see his, or when I hear them giggle at the bad jokes he would laugh at, or watch their heights soar (a trait they definitely didn’t get from me).
The logistics of divorcing can kill all perspective. The feelings of loss and destabilization can overtake all other feelings and create a sense of such antagonism and vicious self-defense, that the ex can appear to be a heinous monster lacking any resemblance to a human being, never mind a decent one.
But, the other day, when the ex and I sat side by side to watch our youngest son graduate from elementary school, there was warmth between us. And I felt genuine love for him. And I had to acknowledge, at least to myself, that these children are half him and they are gifts, the gifts that were borne out of our love for each other.
This is true love. Loving someone despite the fact that he let me down, broke my heart and, in fact, my children’s hearts. It’s not about forgiveness (that waxes and wanes), it is about gratitude and accepting the truth.
Sometimes I feel such a lack of love in my life. Children bitching, the pending threat of financial despair, no lover, no social life, no companionship.
But tonight, I feel that if there’s a purpose to suffering, it is to learn to love in spite of the pain. And, I can tell you, it is the most reassuring feeling. To know that at any moment, love is within reach. At any moment we can choose love.