One of my friends and I were having a conversation about relationships recently.
“You know what will be great about heaven?” I said as I pointed out the hope, “when we get to heaven we will get to be friends with all of the ones we have lost or never had a chance to have along the way. And we will be perfect so no drama!”
“Yeah. And you know what else will be great about heaven? There won’t be any dating. Want to know how I know there won’t be dating? Because the Bible says there won’t be any weeping or gnashing of teeth.”
A while ago I talked about the question of, “Are people worth it?” which now I usually have decided that they are. However, now I often find myself asking, is dating worth it? I have seen few friends attempt the cultural oddity and come out unscathed. Most have had enough bad experiences that I do not need to focus on all the hurt pain and ‘darkness’ that can come with the territory.
Instead, in light of my last few posts on light and darkness, I want to share just a little hope. Hope that is there even with all the negative issues that may arise, and hope that can be applied to all relationships in which there is a loss—either from a broken relationships, friendship or other, or just after saying goodbye.
Idina Menzel is the wonderful singer that sings the hit song “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. (The irony of that song alongside dating is intended) As the first Disney princess I ever wanted to marry, when I found out she sung a lot of other songs I immediately looked them up. I found one song, “Better to Have Loved.” The song is marginal, but the lyrics are poignant. Better to, “fall into the earth for a trip into the sky.”
This song, though intended romantically, pushes forward the idea that the light is worth the darkness. That good in the world is always worth fighting through everything that is bad, and that we should do that good whenever possible. The good in the song being love, the bad being the loss of the object of affections.
I had a good conversation with another friend recently where he told me a story about the Christian musician, Keith Green. Keith Green, in reference to his wife, (paraphrase) “Even if I had never had the chance to marry her, I would have been thankful just for the opportunity I had to know her.”
The only change I would make (If the paraphrase is in fact correct) is that it is worth it to have the chance to love whomever it may be that we lose. It is not dependent upon who the other person is, but a thankfulness that we have the opportunity to love another. I am thankful for every instance I have had in which I am able to love any and all of my friends, past or present, here or there, whole or broken. Loving them is the good I love in and of itself.
Monthly Archives: March 2014
One of my friends and I were having a conversation about relationships recently.
The answer to the darkness is never to stay in the darkness. The hurts and pains in our lives can never be fixed, or soothed just by talking about them. When I share with my friends my darkness, my hurts, pains, and everything that is wrong with the world, I need a listening ear and I need to hear their stories. But it cannot stay there.
For years I my relationships with people revolved almost solely with exposing and working through hurts and pain. When I found myself in a relationship with someone who had difficulties in life, but who did not need deep probing questions, did not need someone to sit and hold them in the darkness, I didn’t know what to do. She would be sad, I would listen, and then they she be fine. Or would have been if I had not kept digging. She had talked herself out of depression, and was drawn to the light more than the darkness. I did not know how to have a relationship with her, or anyone else that didn’t need, what I call, commiseratory, darkness wallowing rescuer .
Other friends I knew were drawn to the darkness. I would listen and commiserate. They were all too eager to keep going back, and bringing up more and more hurt and pain. Because I wanted to ignore my own pain and hurts was very quick to live vicariously through them. I know it did them good to have a friend, but I could do them better.
Part of this does come from my struggle to enjoy the world just because. I struggle with enjoying people just because they are them. (Which my purple friend is greatly helping me with) I am learning though. I know that it is good to listen and sit in the muck with people for a while. But you can’t stay there. There must be some good, enjoyment, happiness, love, that moves us forward. For some, all they need is the innate goodness of a relationship with someone that cares to listen and understand. For others though, they need something more.
I propose trying an adventure, playtime, laughter, tickling, happy stories and the color purple. Go outside and experience something new. Give your friends a relationship with you, and the rest of the world worth cherishing. Because it is not our relationship with the darkness that defines us, but the relationship with the light.
Though I have not written on this in depth, mostly because I am still figuring it out, one of the ways in which I cope with a belief that nothing is worth it, is relationships. My relationships with people make life worth it. They fill me with joy and love. (Though I have my own set of struggles when it comes to valuing people).
However, the more relationships I have, the more I see brokenness. As I watched The Croods tonight with my family, I was struck by one of the scenes. As the father was about to throw his daughter across a ravine to be safe, which would leave him behind unable to cross, the daughter resisted shouting about things left unsaid and a broken father daughter relationship she doesn’t have time to fix.
Time to fix. Words to say. I went to school in another state. Every single time I left from school, or left home I always had a deep feeling of having not said enough. I wanted to tell my friends how much I cared about them and how much they meant to me. But never could find the words. Eventually I came to not worry as much. After enough trips back and forward I realized that those relationships I really cared about were always there for me to pick up. Goodbye became, “see you later”
But this doesn’t apply when a relationship comes to an end or is broken. Even if you see some friends again, you may never be in a position to say what you wished you could have said. I can think of several friendships, where I will never be able to tell them how much they mean to me. I will never be able to apologize enough, or fix what I had left broken. I will never be able to share the dreams I had with them.
And this bothers me. It is a brokenness. And I want to fix it. I want to leave everything at peace and in good order. But I find, that at times I can’t. I know that I am trying to earn love. To earn their memory of me being one of a good friend and not one that ran out. But I cannot.
There is a way to respond to the darkness and brokenness in life, which I will write about next, but there are so many things that the solution moves outside of our grasp.
I often like to think of life in poetic themes. One of the themes that I find myself coming back to is one of light and darkness. Light, is everything good and right in the world. Laughter, hugs, love, coffee, candy, sunshine, rain, swimming, and relationships. Darkness is everything wrong and broken in the world. Hunger, tears, pain, death, wrath, jealousy, and conflict.
As often as I have moments of brilliant Dead Poets Society inspired expressions of good in the world, I have a love affair with the darkness. My sister and I both do. No one else in our family, does. Not our parents, grandparents, or any of our cousins. We love the macabre. Dark comedies, antiheroes and just plain dark material. Edgar Allen Poe, The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello, and any number of other authors that kill their darlings.
My sister and I have very different reasons for our love affair with the darkness (definitely an affair). I don’t entirely understand why for my sister, but for me it is because to ignore it, and not give voice to it is deafening to my soul. I am all too aware at every given moment of the sadness and despair that everyone carries with them. Hurts, betrayals, loss of loved ones, and all sorts of wickedness, all leave a mark people.
I see these marks in their eyes. I see it in the way people walk, I hear it in cracks in voices, and I see the tears that it causes. I don’t forget it. I remember the hurt and pain I have seen in others. The only way I knew how to deal with this is to turn it into stories. Dark and macabre. To help people tell their painful stories. To listen to tails of darkness, and then share my own.
Marvels Agent’s of Shield is the best show I have ever seen that shows us how we are supposed to react to evil. In the beginning of the series Colson follows faithfully with SHIELD’s modus operandi of keeping secrets and only telling what needs to be known, begins to change and has faith in people to handle secrets.
Rather than hide the truth from Skye, Colson tells her of all the people who have died, and all the chaos that has happened around her. As we watch her respond, Colson narrates for us, “The world is full of evil, lies, pain, and death and you can’t hide from it. You can only face it. The question is when you do, how do you respond, who do you become?” How do you respond? Who do you become?