Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Marsupial Love



My son came home to visit last night. We had a wonderful evening but he spent plenty of time on his phone talking and texting. About 2 months ago his girlfriend of 18 mos. called their relationship quits. They spent so much time together that for all intents and purposes they were married, joined at the soul, a couple. So after about a month of grief and sorrow and anger he went out with another girl. They enjoyed spending time together too and soon they are a couple. Girlfriend number one hears through the grapevine that this is happening and wants to reconcile.

So last night I was sitting with my wife tearfully listening to some music that my friend Nektarios sent me, when Roman transforms the scene with tears of his own. Broken hearted, he has told girlfriend no. 1 and no. 2 that he will no longer be trying to maintain relationship, platonic or otherwise, with girlfriend no. 1. He left and went for a walk in the crisp frosty winter night to regroup and pray. Meanwhile I prayed too.

It looks like two marsupial's. When we are in love we take turns doting over that love, carrying it carefully around in our pouches, sharing the responsibility and joy as that love grows. Suddenly, as if someone flipped a switch, that love looks like a great big selfish thing eating us from the inside, eating parts we don't want to have eaten because we really do love ourselves like we were and are afraid of what we are becoming. Our first reaction is to hand the love off to the other party. It isn't getting the nourishment it needs so it gets even more ridiculously needy and hideous and we blame each other for its poor health. This is the time where we have to make a very difficult decision. We either have to succomb to that love and let it eat what parts it wants and discard the parts it doesn't of us until it becomes us and we are it and there no longer is anything to distinguish it apart from ourselves or..... we tear it out of our souls along with part of what we've become and throw it to the ground to lie there trembling and quivering and very much alive but already dead.

So the decision to throw it to the floor is made. But we take pity on that love and we continue to rip little pieces of us off and throw it to the thing lying on the floor - after all it was so cute and cuddly at one time and it is already house-trained and we've grown used to it's chewing....

Then along comes another marsupial with a little bundle of love of their own and even while we are ripping little pieces of our pouch off for the dieing love we begin to nurture and care for the new love all cuddly and sweet and everything and then.....

I guess that is why we are encouraged to love each other with an agape love instead of a storge' love. We just don't have enough of us for the storge' part. The agape type is like a constant spring, cool and clear and refreshing. It takes nothing for itself but gives all from the very beginning, no expectations of the future, no hauntings from the past. It is courageous and sacrificial. It looks like Jesus.

1 comment:

Roman Clark said...

My father shared this simile with me as I sat listening to the usually calming, but currently agonizing notes of Greek chant in my parents' living room. It stirred in me a feeling I'd never experienced, and hope to avoid at al costs in the future. After 18 months, it was true that for all intents and purposes Brittany and I were married. Soulmates. The pain our break-up caused me taught each of us alot though. The chewing that Dad wrote about, the painful comsumption of one's own self, is exactly what drove our once healthy relationship to it's last final thread. As it snapped,we each realizd the pain we had caused each other. I am happy to have realized that God has a sewing kit that can renew any untwined tapestry. Currently, Brittany and I are enjoying our 22nd month together, and the joy that we have in our lives now, the trust that has been re-established, made that agony worth it. We've learned to "chew" at each other with a little more grace and understanding, and to appreciate what we have together rather than mourning or independence. I can only conclude that the prayer and self-reflection that happened that night as I walked through the winter streets of my hometown paid off. Thank God.