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Thursday, December 15, 2011

as the ruin falls

As the Ruin Falls

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek--
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains
(C.S. Lewis)

Lewis wrote this to his wife on her deathbed. What happens when the person you learned love from dies? You see love disappear before your eyes and are left with deep heartache. This pain is inescapable by any of us, try as we might, we cannot escape loving. We can harden ourselves, run away from love and even deny it - but it is still there. It still controls our hearts, and often our actions.

Love can guide us but love does not keep us from hurting those we love. Love can be so marred and broken, and too often is in our relationships, that our selfish desires keep us imprisoned, as Lewis puts it, and we can stray so far from what love is that we would not know it if it was lying in our laps.

Forgive me, I am speaking of a love I hardly know, and sometimes doubt its existence.

A few days ago a friend told me I would find true love to which I responded in laughter, and two days later she called me to talk about the devastating reality of her marriage.

Love has more of a hold on me than I would like to admit. I have failed miserably in relationships past, and left them confused and lonely at what "love" we cooed to each other.

I return, time and again, to this poem CS Lewis wrote, its honesty about love and loss brings me hope despite the reality he speaks - we barely know how to love - yet the pain brings us closer, somehow. We will hurt each other, and it might not seem like it could ever get any worse, but the suffering brings life, the pain brings love. The morning brings a new dawn and a new sun, a new day to fight for each other, to submit all your selfishness, to choose more than yourself.

If I ever experience this life-love for myself, I will consider it an honor. And be completely terrified at what I've done.

4 comments:

The Prude said...

30 years ago I could have written this (well, maybe not so eloquently).
I was such an idiot in my 20's that God wouldn't let me marry my true love till I was 29. And oddly, all my and my husband's failed relationships from the past were used to make our own relationship with each other stronger.
God is funny like that.

Life with Kaishon said...

I hope love finds you Emma. It is so different than it is in poems or stories or ever afters. It is different for everyone I think, but it is wonderful. Love transcends all.

It is humbling and terrifying and blessed.

Emma said...

Thank you, both of you. I do deeply appreciate you and respect your lives and the love you have. It is so refreshing to hear the true love stories that are out there.

melinda sue said...

love is not what ever what we think it will be. love is both bigger and greater, and devistatingly more dissapointing than we could ever dream. marriage is hard, love is hard.

it is not natural to love unconditionally, if it was the bible would not be peppered with verses telling us to do so, because we would already be doing it. Love as we expect it, as we dream it to be does not exist.

But love is real, and what it is- is beautiful. as long as you can accept it for what it is and not expect it to meet your dreams and expectations.

emma, someday you will find a love like this. and you will learn and grow and be blessed in it.

i believe that matthew and i, in all our imperfections, were made to love one another and live in unity. it may not have happened like we dreamed it would, every day is not a movie scene. But we are learning and growing together, redefining our own definitions of love.

i love you emma jean.

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