Saturday, January 1, 2011

Embracing Love

It's hard not to love life on a beautiful mild day with the sun shining and bird singing--and it's a good way to open a new year.

Actually, my whole family stayed awake the ring in the new year last night. My brother and his family ate dinner with us (a three course meal that I actually made and executed with uncharacteristic expertise--it helped that Bolognese was ready to go from the freezer, but the lentil soup and Pollo alla Romana were all mine), and Nic and I played two rather intense games of scrabble while Toy Story 3 and Diary of a Wimpy Kid played in the background. Suddenly, it was midnight, and my pie-eyed G and Nic climbed into my lap, thrilled to be awake to toast in the new year.

For a moment, they were all I thought about. I recovered when hubby shooed the kids over to Nonna, we toasted, and time resumed.

Although this morning was not a mandatory holy day of obligation, I headed over to church, iPod in pocket with thoughts of a walk after. Fr M had a list of questions during his homily aimed at making us think about what we did last year, what we wish for this coming year.

The promptness of some of the answers surprised me. But while one level of thinking set about answering the questions Fr M posed, another worked at a deeper level, thinking about the infinite varieties of love and all the possible implications and combinations of it.

What popped into my head is the thought: "I don't believe in unrequited love."

I have no idea where that came from, so I decided to take apart what it meant. Unrequited means not reciprocated in kind.

So on a literal level, yes, it does exist. I remember as a teenager what heartbreak came with some one not feeling the same way about me that I felt about him. Yeah, that sucks.

But, something interesting happens when you look at 'unrequited love' through the prism of the past. More often than not, whoever rejected my affections ultimately did me a greater service than returning them. So I have to ask, is this not a type of love? Sparing a greater heartbreak?

I don't know, rejection in all its forms ultimately has been a blessing for me. Those people were in my life to teach me a specific lesson, and when it was time for them to move on, it ultimately benefitted me.

And there's the whole other thing about romantic versus platonic love. And on what level we allow ourselves to feel in this digital age, in this age of online relationships--how do we conduct our analog selves in real time, with real people?

My greatest salvation has been those with whom I interact on a personal level, every day, face to face. And yes, the love I feel from these flesh and blood interactions drives me to be the best possible person I can be.

Because really, isn't that what love is all about? Wanting to be a better person because of the special people in your life?

Those kicks in the ass are every bit as important as the hugs--and I appreciate them all.

Happy new year.

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