Divorce has been a cruel foe. Unlike direct hits that can destroy all at once, I find myself discovering divorce-damage in layers that appear over time - like sailing a large boat with a small hole.
As I watched "Something's Gotta Give" over the weekend, I was drawn into Diane Keaton's experience of falling in love. She was an absolute mess after the relationship didn't work out, and I found myself crying with her. During her long period of tears-n-tissues, I was startled at the advice she gave to her daughter. 'Stop running from love because you're afraid to be vulnerable. In spite of the pain you see in me, I'm having the time of my life.'
For years, I assumed my "love thang" was the desire to be loved. But it isn't. Hiding under that layer, I really want to be in love and to give love freely without fear. I'm amazed to discover, at the age of 35, that I am - and have always been - more interested in the experience of giving love than receiving it. The slap-in-the-face of a husband walking out makes that desire seem impossible. But was that by my own design???
I've only been in love twice. The kind that makes you smile when you wake. The kind that makes you gush, giggle, get clumsy, and daydream at work.
Jay was my high school sweetheart. I met him as a senior - and we dated into my freshman year of college. I didn't believe for one minute that I deserved all he gave me. He always gave himself - without reserve and without apology. On the same theme, I didn't think I could ever give enough in return because **I** wasn't enough. To date, Jay is the best man I ever recall meeting. I broke his heart almost mercilessly because I had no idea how to accept what he was offering. Later, I searched for him for years. I suspect he didn't wanna be found. (I recently discovered that he married a woman who is cruel and crass with him and everybody else. That's not what I pictured for him, and a whoooole other story.)
P.D. Jr. was my second love. The full-grown stuff. The after-baby-after-college, "I'm on my grown thang and making my own money" love. Although we "dated" for about 8 months, he was unavailable on many levels. He had an on-again-off-again girlfriend at home, and was living in the state for a temporary internship. I often wonder if the entire ordeal wasn't "by design," because I found comfort in his temporary status. The end of his internship was an "out" for me. Low risk. Too bad I found myself asking him to stay in Jersey - and had to watch him go home and get married to somebody else. Face it, once you start falling, you have no control over the final impact.
Years of fear and failure played out in a marriage that should have never happened. I went in for security and came out with the worst case of insecurity I've ever experienced - and worse - feeling like I received the final evidence that love just can't happen.
So now I'm on a strange ledge, with the honest potential to fall on either side. I finally own my desire to love without fear. I thank Jay and P.D. for sparking that hope. But on the other side of the ledge lives my doubt that such a state can exist and flourish over time. I accept that I may have built the case against relationships, and deep down I regret what a convincing job I've done.
I pray for an experience to close the matter. I want to fall off the ledge. I don't care which side. I just want off because it's cold up here.
...An early prediction before I close the post: I will have an experience in the near future that confirms God's promise to hear our prayers. The experience will trigger a comeback and some lucky guy will receive every good thing that I have to offer. And of course, the poor fella will become a topic on my very-public blog. hehe