Love, and things

26 Dec

I’ve only known love unrequited. That is, love never returned, like a present sent back to its owner still wrapped. I’ve never known romantic love returned, being in love with someone. He cared very much, but never more. Or, if he did, didn’t say so.

Even love unrequited, on one end, made life rosier, better. Later, it left it darker than I’d ever imagined. But that is the peculiarity of love, its intensity and how it can at one moment in time leave everything shimmering and at another, so dark. So I can imagine how love on both ends might feel, how that must make for a world unbelievably bright.

Of course the glittering stage never lasts. It gives way to commitment, a stubborn pact to work through fights, to find common ground again and again. Infatuation must sometimes be recovered, and perhaps it glimmers at unlikely moments. But never in the splendor it once did, in a world two people build together that’s washed in newness.

I’m at that age where many of my friends are getting married. Or, busy having babies. I’m doing neither. It never bothered me before, never bothered me more than plunging into my consciousness for a quick swim before jumping out.

But then my best friend decided to say, “Yes” to a man she’d been dating for about a year. In two months, she’ll say “I do,” and I’ll be standing next to her as she does. It’s different with her, as it is with anyone’s best friend. It’s personal. It’s the face you grew up with, went to Sunday school, middle and high school with.

Suddenly we’re in two different places. She, to build a new world with the man she loves and me, still in the old one (albeit doing different things.) It feels like the world has went askew, and I’m sliding off one end. I will miss her terribly, and while she will miss me, and this world, she’ll be too busy creating her own to notice that much. The ache won’t be there.

So now I care about marriage and babies, and a funny feeling that I’m missing out has settled down in my stomach, leaving a pit there. My mom tells me marriage is hard work, and I should be glad to be single. “Enjoy it,” she says, pointing to everything she has to take care of: husband, children, home. “You just have yourself,” she says. And I realize she’s right, in my brain at least. But how easy and natural it is to want what you don’t have, how sad and human a state it is.

Gratefulness is the antidote to many ills, which is why, I think, the Bible says it’s so important. Being thankful always makes me feel better. I thank God that I have family, health, food, shelter and a job I enjoy doing. Funny how that leaves me lighter. And on occasions lately when I really don’t feel like it, I even thank God that I have so little to take care of, that I’m so completely single.

 

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