Here’s the thing. Hate is a thing. Hate is very real. Hate goes all ways. Hate lives in us all.
When we pretend that only others, who don’t make us feel good about our flavor of hate, are hateful, and only toward us, and that we are soft-bellied victims of their haughty cruelty, we are being insincere. Not one of us is innocent.
Hence, love. Love has boundaries. Love teaches us to strive. Love makes us stretch, and work for it. And sometimes, Love says, with a clenched jaw, “No. Not today.” Sometimes, it says, “And now it is done. With love, it is done. For now, and sometimes, even for good, it is done.” Forgiveness, sometimes, is about letting go of the need for even one single thing to be different. Forgiveness does not always mean staying in the room.
Occasionally, when Love has come your way, and you have kicked her, or his, soft belly, Love may stand up, and remove his, or her, toys from the room, firmly shut the door, and take a break. Love has work to do, and Love means it.
When you find yourself, where I have found myself at times, alone in your own quiet moment, it hurts. And that feeling, that feeling of physical, intense pain, serves a purpose. With it, you can sit, and hold it, and really consider what happened, and how you got yourself there. Then, you can set about nursing yourself back to health–gaining a stronger Love of your own.
Or, you can waste it. You can fill that moment with so much noise, that you can’t even hear yourself in the silence. You can smear it around the room, the family, and the relationship. Then, robed in your victimhood, you can set about filling your heart with the hot air of rage. And slowly, slowly, it will leak out, until again, it deflates–growing more empty and brittle each time.
You can scream, until your face and throat hurt. You can point, and laugh. You can say, “Look, look, I have defrocked Love. I have shown it is a farce. See, see, Love is really Hate, for Love has left Me.” You can gloat, “See, and look, for again, I have proven Love is a fraud. When I kicked him, he turned away, from Me.” You can fall, and cry out. “See, now look, I have been harmed, I am hurt–here, and here, and here, and here. Love has hurt Me. It is not real.”
No, Dear Heart. Sometimes, Love must turn away, and there is nothing harder for Love to do. There are places where she is simply not welcome, and it is too hard to find those truths, hidden in the most unexpected places–with family, and friends, and out in this world so filled with beauty. We obscure what’s all around us, by clutching our misery. We send Love away.
Love turns toward. Love works, diligently. Love waits. Love listens, and Love responds. Love tries, again, and again. But we can’t always hear it, see it, or understand it for what it is, and sometimes, that is because we are actually seeking coddling.
And sometimes, the gap is too wide, the language is too distorted, the ego is too grand, the heart is too deflated. The ground, in other words, is sometimes too damn hard, and it just isn’t working.
And even then, sometimes, Love gives it one more try, and starts to scream. That, I believe, is when Love knows it’s work here is done, and the best thing to do, is apologize, go home, have its own hard moment, and then look for more fertile ground.
In every friendship I’ve had, Love has taken breaks. It is these small breaks, and mutually respectful moments–separately, and alone, that have strengthened every one of them over time. Love transforms. Love celebrates.
Use the moments–you’ve earned them, and you deserve what lies just beyond them. Or, don’t.