Yup, I’m talking about love. Now I know people are going to say, “you are only 21, you can’t possibly know what love is.” Actually, I can. The bible gives us a pretty good description as to what love should be.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (KJV)
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
It has also been translated as: (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
I have always had trouble with grasping the concept of love. I thought at one time that it was whoever paid the most attention to you, your wants, and your dreams. Usually that is found in family, but I chose to put it on someone else. That person ended up tearing a huge rift between my family and I. I learned the very hard way that love isn’t just about a physical attraction or getting attention.
After 3 years of being in a relationship with that person I began to feel unease about us being together. He had proposed and I accepted, even though my family really didn’t like him (I just didn’t care at the time because I thought I was in love). I thought my life with this guy was going to be perfect. Even if it meant not ever being with my family. Yes, my family and I fought quite a bit but it wasn’t actually worth losing them. Nothing is worth that.
When he broke off our engagement (he found someone else while I was away at college). I felt betrayed and alone. I felt like I couldn’t be close to anyone. Not even my family. When I tried to talk to others about how I was feeling I got responses such as “he didn’t deserve you anyway” and “you can do so much better than him”. The only problem was that I still “loved” him. I didn’t want anyone to put him down, even though he had hurt me. I didn’t want to be with my family because I felt like all I heard was “I told you so” and it hurt.
I ended up falling into a very deep depression. One that even people who weren’t close to me noticed. I didn’t sleep more than a few hours at night, then I would sleep off and on during the day. I only ate when food was put in front of me, and I drowned myself in my work at a martial arts school. I was there 3-5 days a week for most of the day, just so I wouldn’t have to be at home. I started staying out until one or two in the morning walking my dog so that when I got home everyone would be in bed. It was bad, and it was all because I had fallen for the wrong person.
I thought I had learned my lesson, so I tried again and ended up really hurting myself and making the sadness and emptiness I felt worse.
During this whole depression I had stopped going to my friends for advice. I did, however, meet a new friend. While I didn’t plan on falling for him, he helped me realize that with God I had the power to overcome my depressed state. It was with his help, that I got back into church and started my long road to being happy again.
Unfortunately, I placed my happiness into the sole custody of this new friend. He ended up feeling personally responsible every time I got depressed again, even if it was only for a few hours. We hung out every day for a couple of weeks and then one night we decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend. I started to catch myself doing the same thing to him as I did to the first guy. I put him before my family and my other friends. I gave up things for him (he gave up things for me). Whatever I did to deserve his friendship, I didn’t know, but I was sure that God had something in store for us.
We became like two peas in a pod. Always by each other’s side. Always doing everything together, and if we couldn’t then we were on the phone or text messaging. For two years, everything really did seem to finally come together. My family was leery at times, they were afraid that I would get extremely depressed again, but they seemed to like him much better than the first guy. We would go to church services together, we started singing in the choir, and not once did I ever feel that he was not who I should be with.
Eventually, though, he started to get that “I don’t know what I want” feeling. We talked about it for at least a week and finally we decided that we just weren’t going to make it much longer as a couple. I was being very clingy and smothering to him, I admit it, I knew we were getting close to the same three year point where my last relationship had crumbled and I thought that I could prevent this one from falling apart just by always being around and always changing my plans to match his and so on. My saving efforts ended up driving a wedge between us, so we knew that it would just be better to try our luck at being friends, instead of the arguments we kept having about our relationship.
I am happy to say that he and I are still extremely close and are the best of friends. We come to each other with our problems and just whenever we want to spend some time together, but there isn’t anything romantic there anymore. It hurts me to know he is happier in a relationship with someone else, because he has done and continues to do so much for me that he is literally like a part of me. I worry that I will lose that part of me further on down the road, and we may grow apart just as our boyfriend/girlfriend relationship did, but it was because of this painful process of moving on that I am finally starting to realize what love really is.
It’s being there, no matter how much it hurts, and making sure that the people you care most about are happy. Love is sacrifice, sacrificing your own happiness or time or money, so that others can have what they want or need. Love is dying to yourself, as Christ died for us, so that we can love our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Love just is. We can’t help who we love, or what we choose to do with the love we feel for others. But my prayer tonight is that I can love as Jesus loves, even if that means that my only love is God and the wonderful family he has blessed me to be in.
Love is not about being a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or significant other.
It isn’t the title that makes it real, it is how you show it. It’s in your thoughts and actions, in your hopes and dreams, it’s when you wake up and they are your first thought, you lay down and they are your last thought before you fall asleep. They can be one of those titles, or they can just simply be your friend, but always remember that a love like that never really ends.