Love, Actually.

A week or so ago, got me inspired to go back and watch the movie “Love Actually” again. I remember really liking it the first time but I couldn’t quite remember why. But the first scene laid it right out there for me. In the scene, people–complete strangers to me–are eagerly waiting the arrival of loved ones at the airport. Lots of smiles, embracing, some tears, lots of kisses, and of course less dramatic but equally heart-warming sorts of reunions. It got me crying right there. Moments of love that are so simple, so uncomplicated, and so genuine.

This got me thinking … what is it that I miss (if anything) about being in a primary relationship? One thing is that I miss having someone to share my joy with. There are so many times during the day that I see something that just makes me so happy that I could burst. And it’s usually something really small (like seeing someone light up when they see someone they were waiting for or something even more subtle than that). And, inwardly, I smile and wave back to God and thank him for sharing that moment with me. I feel very lucky and grateful and looked after in some fundamental way, but I also feel alone in that experience. My relationship with God, although much like a love affair, is more like a long distance love affair with someone who had to go off to some place inaccessible (like war or into the jungles or something) but who I know misses me very much. And so, during the sometimes seemingly endless wait between arrivals of his love letters, I ache for someone to share these little moments with. Or, more accurately, a lot of the time, it’s really that I wish I had someone that I could show God’s love letters to (because they come in the form of sunsets, songs, coincidences, and in more ineffable ways such as the look of total devotion that my dog gives me when I come home from work).

I didn’t know how much I missed quiet, side-by-side companionship until, after three weeks of travelling alone in India, I joined a tour group and suddenly had someone to turn to and say excitedly, “Did you see that?” I didn’t even know my fellow tour participants at first, but some part of me just came alive as soon as I was able to share my joy, astonishment, heartbreak, whatever I was experiencing with another. (It’s kind of like LJ, but more immediate. Maybe that’s why I love LJ so much.) Of course, that kind of companionship is not always as simple as I make it sound. For example, it’s not just anyone that I can share this with, but has to be someone who appreciates things similarly and really loves that I experience things the way that I do. Which perhaps is why I am single. I don’t find people like that very often.

I also miss having someone to incautiously dote on from time to time. Someone to go out of my way for. Someone to surprise at the airport. Aside from spiritual pursuits, nothing brings me more joy than making someone’s day or witnessing somebody’s day being made. I’ve got a lot of love in my heart and sometimes it starts to actually hurt if it doesn’t have an outlet where it would be received with gratitude and respect.

I’ve heard it said that it is more vital for humans to be able to give love than to receive it. Not that I can live without the latter, but that certainly seems to describe me. I’m thinking about changing my prayer from “God, I pray only to be available for however you can best use me,” to “Oh yeah, and would you send me somebody I can share all this beauty with?”

Edit: Re-reading this I have to wonder if I come off as sounding annoyingly positive. I guess, if I were to round this entry out, what I’d probably add is just how painful it is to feel alone in my experience of joy; and it’s not that I wouldn’t want to share my pain as well as my joy, but pain tends to make me go inward and so I kinda forget about reaching out; and also I’d say something about how being occasionally teased with the possibility of that kind of companionship brings up a whole slew of related hopes that don’t normally plague me. I do wonder … I’ve grown so much since the last time I was in a serious relationship, how much of my inner stability is situational and how much will get up-ended the next time I let myself deeply need someone again? And so the story goes.

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3 thoughts on “Love, Actually.

  1. Jeebus Christmas… Would it be unethical for me to slap this into my own LJ? I’d give you credit…

    Ditto, sister.

    I have raised that same up-ending question in therapy… What we’ve theorized is that my old trusty stories will still kick up with a vengeance, and all the old habits and urges and well-worn paths will still beckon… But there’s an awareness of the voice of balance and health that hasn’t been there before. If I take the time to check in with myself, rather than abandoning myself to the other person (which is one of those habits), the wisdom I’ve cultivated in my singledom will keep talking to me.

    • Slap away. 🙂

      If I take the time … the wisdom I’ve cultivated in my singledom will keep talking to me.

      Clinky-clinky [*raises wine glass*] to that! Here’s to a newer, more adaptive version of nakedness and interdependency.

  2. “I’ve heard it said that it is more vital for humans to be able to give love than to receive it.”

    I was in a group once that was talking about this very thing. As I recall, we decided that the feeling of giving love is very similar to that of receiving love, but the only one you have control over is giving love.

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