Just as the heart plunges into love, so it can plunge right back out of love. Sometimes it’s as if a switch has been thrown… power on, and all is light and love and warmth…. power off, and it’s all gone, as if it never existed.
It happens. The heart is a fickle thing. And it’s not always a romantic ‘love’ that we lose, sometimes it’s a love for a friend, or a place, or a community. Sometimes, after a few years, or maybe a lifetime, of loving and being completely devoted, the moment comes when we are able, at last, to step out of the strange enchantment, and say “I am free of you. Hurrah.” It’s as if the scales fall from our eyes and we are no longer under that spell. We can look at the object of our former love and see that this trusted friend is self-centred and uncaring. That this community is hopelessly unsupportive. That this lover is searching for love elsewhere. That our love was always and only one sided. And we can decide not to be harmed by this realisation but to just quietly, no fuss, no anger, walk away.
The world says “Good on you. An amicable divorce! That’s very mature and constructive. Well done, you.”
Stepping away from love can make life so much easier and truly liberated. When a friendship is one-sided, or a lover is fickle, or a community is unpleasant, it feels life-affirming and strong to turn away at last, to wipe out all the care we once lavished, not even counting the cost, on someone or something else.
And for some of us, walking away is dead easy. It’s the easy option and the one with an immediate reward. Instant gratification.
Sometimes, a little distancing is a good thing, and if a friendship or allegiance is truly one sided, it’s a way to preserve the frail relationship, to make it possible to heal a rift. Distance and coolness is not always bad.
But the heart is a fickle thing (sometimes a fact bears repeating). The heart is a fickle thing, and it can lie. When we are sad, or exhausted, or snowed under by a hundred concerns, we can misread the world around us, and that’s when the lies of the heart can defeat us.
There is more to you and me than our hearts. There’s our souls. Our hearts are ready to be pricked, to see the hurt the world can do to us, to build a wall around the wounds, to create a distance between us and the world. While our hearts weep “Me, me, me.” our souls whisper ‘Stay steady. Hold on. Trust God.’
Stay steady. Hold on. Trust God. Step back if you need to but don’t stop loving.
Because when you feel as if the switch has been thrown and you are no longer in love, you misunderstand what love is. Love doesn’t end. True love doesn’t end.
Here’s that chunk from 1 Corinthians:
Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride. Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things. Love never comes to an end.
Keep on keeping on. With God you can weather any storm. Love doesn’t die. If your heart tells you that you are better off without all the complications and grief of love, ask God if this is true. Take it to the only wise friend you have. Listen to him.
Read 1 Corinthians and trust. Forget self, think Christ. He’s there for you, his love and his patience are there for you.