The Real Thing?


Coach purse cake

Coach purse cake (Photo credit: April Julian)

Ladies buy purses from street vendors in New York City that say the right name on the outside but they know they are fake.  They buy them because they cost $30 instead of $300.  As soon as something is deemed a fake its value crashes.  Interesting though how willing people are to accept something that has less value because it can be passed off as the real thing and they just want it so bad.

We do this all the time with love.  I did.  I accepted less than real-true love for something much cheaper because I thought I needed it.  It turns out I didn’t need it at all.  I missed it, and mourned the loss of this cheap imitation.  But whatever I lost, it was not true love.

If God is love, than his characteristics can be used to describe love.  Love cares enough to discipline, to speak the truth even if it hurts.   But it also allows people to make the choice to love in return.  Love serves unselfishly but also is jealous and wants to be first.  Love exemplifies all the good qualities we should extend to other human beings.  And true love is unconditional.

I think that trying to love like God is not only admirable, I think we are commanded to love by God as He loves us.  It is a high goal.  So high we will never attain its purity, its devotion, or its scope.  We are flawed human beings.  But we are called to try.

Today I had a conversation with Harry about love.  Big surprise, I know.  He said that all love in his life has been conditional.  If he performed well, he got positive strokes that he interpreted to be love.  Between people using him when things were good and the same ones ridiculing him when things were bad…life seemed to revolve around merit alone.  No grace.  Little forgiveness.

Many times when he explains something that happened in his past he will recall the Godfather and tell me, “It was not personal it was business.”  He worked with his dad from his early teens and dad was boss.  Then he went into business with him as an adult, so their relationship revolved around business instead of being personal.  Most of his close friends he has employed at one time or another.  They know where their bread is buttered and there is a safety to Harry understanding the dynamic in those relationships.  He has the power as “lord” (albeit a very kind one for sure) and they love him at least in part because of what he doles out to his peasants.

Me being in Harry’s life is in effect declaring an end to feudalism. No more lords and serfs.  This girl owns her own property, has her own job, and will tell him what she really thinks…affectionately of course.  I don’t need him, I want him.  I’m choosing him.  I’m not being rescued by a white knight.  I don’t need his protection.  And on top of that I come from a very long and well-documented life of loving unconditionally.  I just love and once I love I never stop loving.  Sometimes I have to preserve myself and keep myself away from people I love so I don’t keep getting hurt and I have shown myself strong enough to do that…twice.  But once I love them I just always do.  No matter what.

Knowing this scares him a lot, but also attracts him.  He doesn’t have to wonder with me if what I do is out of obligation because he’s paying my rent or buying me expensive presents, or giving me a job.  For one I don’t need any of those things, and for two the absence of that obligation sets my love into a realm that is strangely unfamiliar to him.  I’m loving without merit.  He has done nothing where there is a direct correlation to his giving and my returned affection.  At the same time since he holds no cards, he knows that if he isn’t respectful to me there is nothing keeping me from walking away.  I’m a strong, independent woman.

He knows that this relationship is taxing on both of us because of the little time he has to give.  He has little money to give as well which is a very good thing right now because he can’t do his typical shower of presents.  But since it is all based on friendship as its foundation, it works because I’m not with him ultimately because he meets needs I have.  I’m with him because I genuinely like being with him.  And I for one really like it that way.  It’s uncharted territory for both of us.  We are in a healthy relationship BY CHOICE for perhaps the first time in our lives.

I settled for something less than the real thing many times before.  My husband rescued me from my home years ago and allowed me to escape.  Martin rescued me from deep depression which was a sense of hopelessness that I never ever want to experience again.  But neither one of those men loved me authentically.  They were not honest in their communication with me, they betrayed me and I clung to them both as if I would die if I let go.  I was as bad as those women who only care about the right label being on their bag instead of  the quality that isn’t there.  A cheap knock-off.  I just wanted to have someone “love me.”

With Harry it’s all different…and that makes this a very, very, valuable thing.  Each day it’s value goes up.  Each day we continue to choose to make the other person feel valued we are adding value to us as a couple.  It is pure without game playing.  It has devotion because we are going out of our way to set aside special time as often as possible to be together.  And it is proving to be a forgiving, selfless love given freely instead of with a bunch of conditions attached…no IF THEN statements.  It just simply is and it is growing deeper each day into something that just might turn out to be the real thing.

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