It was November 2013 when I hit my knees and sincerely asked God to teach me what love was. Came to a realization after my wife passed by and said, “I don’t even love you anymore”. The staggering pain that brought me to my knees had little to do with her words or the fact she didn’t love me. I had accepted that for years. It was due to the fact I finally admitted I was incapable of love. I’d spent my life simply going through the motions, acting like a human being, imitating what I’d seen around me.
Inside, there was nothing. People talk about a dark side and I know it intimately. I’ve lived in the dark side my entire life, but I walled myself off to keep from hurting people. It’s a place where there is no light, no heat, no emotion. Left unchecked, the emptiness can turn to anger and hatred. The kind of hatred that can kill and maim. I lived in that anger and hatred once before and the repercussions still dog me till this day.
I imprisoned myself in this cold, dark and empty place to protect you from me. I walled myself off to protect you from the anger and hatred that’s bred in such an empty place. As the years went by, cracks in the walls appeared over the insidious idea that those walls also caused harm to those closest to me, my children.
Faced with a dilemma, as the last thing I ever wanted to do was to cause harm. Did enough of that by the ripe age of nineteen to last a lifetime. Hence, a final plea to God to teach me what love was, before I die.
Next came the greatest friendship and eventual love I’d ever experienced. Too bad we were both married to different people and after eighteen months, she left without so much as a good bye. Her sponsor told her she could do whatever she wanted, as long as she could “carry the freight”. I’d imagine that freight finally became to heavy to bear, but I may never know for sure.
God answered my prayer, or so I’d thought. I had experienced real love for the first time in my life and honestly, I started thinking maybe my time on this earth was ending. It was a peaceful thought as I had finally proven to myself I’m a human being, after all. This sacred question had remained hidden inside me my entire life.
Not so ironically, my wife asked me to leave the same day my love left me. We separated and eventually divorced.
Instead of rebuilding those walls and residing to the comfort of dark side, I began expressing grief the end of this relationship had brought. It dredged up all the abandonment, rejection, and betrayal I’d experienced which was more than any human should have had to endure. Months spent, writing poetry through millions upon millions of tears. The hardest lesson of love was upon me, how to let go.
As time went by I fell in love again and I gave that love everything I had. I fell in love with someone who was me, before that final plea to God. She was broken in just the same ways. I cried a million more tears being in love with, essentially me. I can’t express the pain I felt knowing that those who loved me went through what I was now going through. The selfishness, the self-centeredness, the inability to give freely, the lack of expression. The nights spent falling asleep with the tears still falling. After twenty months of the pain of being in a relationship with the old me, I ended it.
A few months later December 18th, 2017, my twenty-five-year-old son took his life.
Still struggling with the most painful tragedy I’ve experienced, my mother died two weeks before this Mother’s Day.
Here I am since November 2013. Lost is an eighteen-year marriage, an eighteen-month love, a twenty-month love, my only son to suicide and now my mother.
I can hear the dark side whispering to me. I have all the bricks needed to wall myself off, once again.
My life has been nothing but pain, abandonment, loss, rejection and betrayal of the highest order. Yet, still clean and sober since my last alcohol and drug usage on July 10th, 1987 only by the grace of God.
The same God that somehow has given me the experience, the intelligence and the wisdom to put together the final answer. All that’s left now is to put the puzzle together.
We can love people, but loving people isn’t love, because people leave. If love was loving people, there would be nothing left when they’re gone. Love must be something that resides in our hearts and is expressed through action. It doesn’t leave us when we learn how to express or let go, otherwise we end up with nothing left to express. Only by expressing and letting go, is the heart capable of refilling.
I wasn’t capable of love because the fear brought on by all my previous experiences of loss never allowed me to express or let go, the precious tinder of love. The result was a dark, empty, cold place. The place I imprisoned myself to protect you but eventually even that place became too painful to bear.
Perhaps love is a piece of divinity inside all of us. Maybe it connects us all on a level we’re simply incapable of comprehending. Could it be God in all his forms, is simply love? Surely, God is not found in a book or a building, but in our hearts.
This would explain the magic of an apparently endless supply of love when it’s freely given.