In recent days, I have had several conversations, and read several blog entries regarding the idea of loving, and the acts and/or words that express love. The things we do and say to let the many we love know we cherish them.
Reflecting on Mother's Day brought it into focus for me. The gifts some received and didn't receive. The "idea" of gifts that some gave, and that some expected.
I was told of one mother receiving the most thoughtless of gifts, and my heart ached for her. No matter the gifts many Mothers received on that day, whether of words, deeds, or material items, all had some sort of meaning attached to them by the giver. In return, the receiver also attached meaning to them.
I received several gifts on Mother's Day, all but one were words. The most precious gifts which were given to me on that day, were the words, I love you, these little words were received by me with joy, with the perception they were indeed heartfelt, because I am loved. And, because I love the giver and have spent my time in their life attempting to express that love. I also gave gifts. Gifts of love to my mother, my sister, and a few other women in my life, due to my current circumstances, the gifts of love and appreciation I gave were also only words. But they were received with joy too. How do I know this? The tone of their voices when they heard mine, and replied. They knew, deep within that I love them, that I appreciate them, that I am grateful they are in my life.
These gifts I received........were they enough? The words I received, were more than enough for me, the hugs I received, more than expressed the love I am given.
I also mentioned, I received one material item. Along with that item I received a card. The act that preceded the gift, negated the gift, the card made it even more telling. My perception regarding that gift did not allow me to feel loved, it felt as if the gift was given out of a sense of obligation, with the knowledge that it might "earn points" for the giver. Is that an act of love or manipulation?
Does one keep track of what is given, in respect to what they receive in return? During my conversations concerning the little things we do, the common courtesies we offer to those we love, the small seemingly insignificant gestures that are performed by us for the ones we love, I realized, it was a rare day that I ever measured what I had given. Rarer still, to measure what I have received. Unless, I felt a lack of love in my life. Then I became aware. Doubt then set in, not doubt regarding the loved, but self-doubt. Was I not giving enough, not giving in the proper way? I became uncertain. I began to feel that I was not able to love in the 'right' way. It didn't matter how that love was expressed, it was never right.
In this pondering, I then had to ask myself, did I, have I, expressed my appreciation for the gifts I received? Were they enough for me? I know I always said thank you, for the small gestures that I had an awareness of. But, have I always been aware? Were there things I didn't notice? It is a verity of life, that we will not always be enough, not always be aware, not always be the most loving and thoughtful of beings....we are human, and one of our frailties is the inability to be perfect. But, was I aware and appreciative enough? Did I miss something important that led to the downfall of my most long lasting love relationship?
Sadly, I realized, my failure came not from a lack of showing appreciation, I think I did. Our downfall came from my having to always be hyper-aware of every mood, every act, his and mine. And, that constant need to be hyper-aware, wore me out, a weariness set in, until I reached a point in which I could no longer love enough, I just didn't have the energy any longer. That frightened me. I began to worry that I was unable to love anyone enough. It took several people, here in the online world, and in my face to face life, to teach me that I can love, and that my love is enough. I still feel that doubt on occasion, still feel that uncertainty. The years of living in a hyper-aware state engendered that. But I have also, come to realize something very important, I can let those doubts go, I can let those uncertainties go. As long as I remain true to myself, love and live as genuinely as I am able.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Love is a gift, a gift we give others, and a gift we give ourselves.
Love is a choice......I read that somewhere recently, can't remember where. But it resonated deeply. We choose to love. We really do. No matter how much we may sometimes run from the idea of it, we choose to love, or not to love.
With the ending of my marriage, I have pondered, long and deep, for so many years on why it wasn't working. No matter the underlying reasons, no matter our long history together. It comes down to the fact, that one day I chose to stop loving him. I chose to stop feeling the pain, of not being able to love enough, so my love changed. I will always love him, always care about him, but I am simply unable to give the proper gifts.
It reminds me of the children's game Red Rover, Red Rover. In the choosing, of sending someone over, the choices made are not always thought out in the best interest of the team, sometimes the choosing is made because we simply want a particular person on our side. So we choose them.
Someday, somewhen, I hope to look into the eyes of the man I love, and tell him.....
I choose you.
I want you on my side.....by my side.....because.....I love you.