What’s the Difference?

pool_smlI’m not young anymore.  I have two kids in college.  I’m divorced and I have many friends who either have been or are in the process of getting divorced.

I hate that word.  I hate the thought of it.  But it is a reality.

I have a good friend of mine ask me if I thought true love was possible to anyone.  And I had to tell him yes.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot because I’ve loved before.  And while those loves were not perfect…had we stuck it out I think at least one or two of them were not doomed to failure.  But every love is different.  Some are harder than others.

I still stand behind my statement that you know you love someone if you are willing to consider them an invalid and have a desire to stay by their side and take care of them.  Then you know you love THEM and it’s not about a selfish kind of want or need for yourself.

If by that definition I judged love…I have had several loves in my life.   And I believe I truly did love a kind of love.  But all of them were difficult.

Circumstances, timing, personalities, and character flaws made those loves an uphill battle.  Love is worth fighting for.  And I fought hard at times.

But what makes the best kind of love?  What is the kind of love to seek after?

There are two things.  Two things that I have now that make me feel like THIS love is the THE love of my lifetime.

The best kind of love builds up and makes things better and stronger.  The best kind of love makes YOU a better YOU.  Just by its sheer nature it opens a path for you where you can flourish as a human being, as a spiritual being, as a lover, as a friend.  Remember the Bible says that the things of God build up and encourage, they don’t tear down and destroy.

Some people think that in order to have passion there has to be strife and struggle, but I think that is not only not biblical, it is also very unwise.  You can have passion in a mutually respectful relationship.

But here is the crucial element needed that I think is the most lacking because it requires vulnerability and a willingness to suffer humiliation and ridicule.

I think that without honesty true love cannot be achieved.

One thing that I have in my relationship with Harry is that we can be completely open and honest with each other.  We want to please each other, but we don’t fake anything.  We want to protect each other, but we don’t shield each other from the truth.  We want to encourage each other, but we don’t give a false sense of accomplishment.

There are no barriers between us.  Nothing we are holding back from.  We’ve let each other IN.  For real.

With every other relationship I have had in my life…there was something keeping us from truly melding heart, body, soul, mind.

Sometimes it was just bad timing and circumstances prevented it.  Sometimes it was more.  But there was always something.  And because there was something – there was struggle and strife and pain and a sense of desperation and a desire for more than what was there.

With Harry, there is peace and a fullness of joy in my heart.

This weekend he opened himself up to me like he has never before.

I used to have to corner a man to get the truth out of him…with Harry…he knows I value honesty and volunteers information.

I used to have to push a man to want to grow beyond where he was…with Harry…he is leading the charge.

The romantic moments I have with Harry are quiet, tearful, confirmation of our appreciation for what we have – not for what we want SOMEDAY….

It’s not a yearning kind of love…its an affirming kind of love.  

And I believe we got there because ultimately, we were willing to risk our relationship by upholding and honoring the truth about what was inside of our hearts and souls.  And in risking it, we found respect for each other, admiration, and the unique ability to bear our souls to one another without holding anything back.

Unique and rare?  It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever gotten to such a level and I’m 43 and 7/8.  My birthday is in ten days.  I’m almost half a century old.  So, yes, I’d call it rare and unique.  But I don’t think there is anything magical about it.

But it is very hard to put into words.  And I know I write about love a lot so forgive me for my redundancy.

On Saturday, the moon was shining down, the music was playing and Harry held me like a baby in his arms and gently and slowly turned in a circle.  Our bodies danced with the water in my pool, cool against our skin, as we looked into each other’s eyes.  His eyes; I will never forget.  They pierced my soul.  I held onto his head and could feel his breath and then his lips.  I felt timeless and ageless and perfectly at peace.  Nothing else mattered.  But everything felt right.  No struggle.  No great drama.

We were one.

It was the end to a perfectly mundane and normal work week.  It was the end to my life alone.  I sensed it.  I accepted it.  I welcomed it.

And that is the difference.

And it didn’t happen because of a moment.  It is not a passing romantic gesture.  It is just a quiet knowing deep in my soul.

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