There is a difference between romance and love. Often the true path of love begins only when romance has begun to taper off, for love is the capacity to see light when darkness has begun to eclipse it.
Love is easy when romance still lights everything in shades of pink, when the experience of a relationship is like the canvas of a sweet Impressionistic painting. Once the reality of our woundings reveals the darkness still lurking in all of us, romance might die, while true love does not.
Many people are proficient at romance who are not proficient at love. They see the humanness of their partner and say “Nah, I want romance again”. Then they start over elsewhere, beginning again the path that will always end up in the exact same place.
The choice to follow love through to its completion is the choice to seek completion within ourselves. The point at which we shut down on others is the point at which we shut down on life.
We heal as we heal others, and we heal others by extending our perceptions past their weaknesses. Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who that person is.
Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is. Forgiving others is the only way to forgive ourselves, and forgiveness is our greatest need. Running away from soneone else’s darkness is a way of running away from our own, in the false belief that in running we can escape. But we cannot escape. Our self-loathing will always meet us down the road, no matter how fast we run and what fancy footwork we’re doing.
Failure to see our judgment of others as an extension of our judgement of ourselves denies healing to both people – until the next time the lesson comes around, which it will. Without forgiveness, love has no meaning. It has no fullness or maturity. Only when two people have shown each other the worst side of our natures, they are truly ready for the task to love.Then we’re ready to begin. How tragic it is that so often we stop everything just as we reach the starting line.
That is why we must always pray to see the truth about a relationship: not just our truth but God’s truth. “May God’s will be done, not my own” is the prayer for ultimate fulfillment because it seeks an emotionally higher ground than the fulfillment of our immature desires. We must move past the narcissistic preoccupation with getting the love we think “works” for us. The point of love is to make us grow, not to make us immediately happy. Many of us have forsworn the chance for the deepest love in reaching out for the easier one.