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October 7, 2013

Lisa Madras: Have you hit the love wall? Maybe it’s time to walk away

NEW CASTLE — When is love a weakness?

I’ve avoided this question in my blog for a very long time. But like all things, there comes a time when you can no longer avoid something, no matter how tempting it is to smoosh it down inside of you and pretend it isn't there.

How could love possibly ever be a bad thing?

Just ask a perennial loser in love. I could never quite figure out how it was that I could love other people so deeply that I would always consider their happiness a part of my own. How I could, and would, forgive any transgression, no matter how major. How I could find love with someone and convince myself that it was still there years later, despite all evidence to the contrary.

And how someone could be the recipient of that love and not know how special it is — and not give it in return.

Love is the truest and most amazing thing in the world. It's the sole thing worth living and dying for. It gives us strength, and courage, and a sense of wholeness not only with the one we love, but with everyone and everything around us. Love was the one thing I refused to give up on.

Until the day that I did.

It wasn't really a "day" so much as it was what I like to call a "moment." Moments for me me can be as brief as a few seconds or as long as years. And during this particular moment, which crept up over me during the course of several long, agonizing years, I fought a good battle. I fought myself, my mind AND my heart, and I fought the man I wanted to love me, and I fought the sentiments of well-meaning friends who would tell me things like, "No relationship is perfect" and "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you."

But love, while all-encompassing and magnificent, is really quite a simple thing.

And love, in this simplicity, has no room for cheating, or telling lies, or fists, or wounding words. Love knows nothing of these things, and — simply, simply, simply, simply — does not participate in these things.

Love is at the same time active and passive. It's not something that you project out into the universe and it bounces back to you, even though that's the way we'd like it to work. It's infinite, surely, but it must meet love coming from the other direction to circle back around.

It's when we continually bounce our love off of these brick walls (the people who don't love us back, even though they say over and over that they do!) that love becomes a weakness. It makes us weak because we put all of our heart and soul and energy into the active process, but we get nothing in return. And in the end, there we are, exhausted and wishing for something that a brick wall simply cannot give.

Too many people I care about are in relationships like that. I tell them that I've given up on love, and I'm so much happier now. And they look at me like I've grown a third eyeball.

Perhaps what I need to say is that I've given up on the brick wall. Love, remember, is infinite. It's always there, at least for those of us, like me, who love as unconsciously as we breathe. And that's just what I've done — let it become passive, and just be.

Sometimes it takes more strength to drop the ball and walk away from the wall than it does to keep bouncing. Maybe, just maybe, there is an inherent flaw in the active process.

Because if you keep making excuses, and keep accepting the lies and the bad behavior, how will you ever know what's on the other side of the wall?

 

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