the discipline of love.

“Love is friendship set on fire.”Jeremy Taylor

“Does everyone leave?”

My daughter, aged young, eyes wide observing, told me stories about friends’ families broken or breaking.  There was a curiosity in her asking.  A wondering of love building expectations to be held in her heart for now and ahead.  My hands clinched the steering wheel a bit stronger, and I sat a little stiffer in hearing her say of her friend believing her mom would probably return in a couple days.

“She said probably in a couple days her mom will be back.” “Do you think so, Dad?” “Does everyone leave?”

Our hearts diseased with self, infected with independence roam to be satisfied.  The satisfaction, we call love, our hearts happy and served and content in the shallow.  The deep undisturbed.  Years together do not equal love.  Close but not connected, no matter how long, is like neighbors under one roof with the option of moving never officially dismissed.  Love is not found in a bar or a car.  I heard that somewhere when I was young, and it’s actually great advice.  A precise uncovering of love truer than we are led to know.  We find love not where we look, but in the exact spot we allow ourselves to be found.  To be found can be quite troubling when we are too busy searching and grabbing and keeping for ourselves happiness.  So we synonymously connect sex to love and cheapen the chance, run eventually and our hearts shut a bit tighter.  Our hearts are not conditioned to love, but we want it.  Happy.  Everyone wants happy and that proves problematic.  The divide ever widening between wanting love and actually getting there.  Instead, love is romanticized and bludgeoned to an unrecoverable end with thoughts of smiles and sex and white picket fences forever.  What few know and fewer find is that work is required.  Love is discovered in death.  It takes a strong discipline to die enough for room to be made in your heart for another and you in theirs.  Both forever and lasting.

That’s the stuff of true romance.  Not trouncing lightly on rose pedals and lying easy under an always clear sky, but cutting through brush losing the path in steps, crossing rushing rivers in storming skies and forging up slippery slopes.  Love is discovery and adventure.  Love is sweat and swearing while you reach to pull out of moments when you only want to slide back into selfish alone.  Sitting at the dinner table colder than happy, ready to run, pushing out your clinched fist to open your hand to hold the hand known by your heart and wearing your symbol given on a much sunnier day, and allowing the moment to pass without words but together, there in the moment that is love, too.  That is right where love deepens and soars both at the same time.  In the discipline, love is truly found. “No, not everyone leaves.  But I want you to know that relationships are tough.  They take work and are not always easy but always worth it.  Always.”

Love is found in the giving not receiving.  It is in the receiving that you hold it as love holds a heart that was once two now lost singularly.