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Love, loss and pick-up trucks

May 29th, 2004 · 2 Comments

Wrapping up a few loose ends from earlier this week…

Jay McCarthy this week has posted a couple updates including pictures of his house after the fire (so you know I’m not joking…sure, Jay, I thought you made it up!) , and one describing how things were going for him and his family. Reading the stories about those who cared for Jay whether in person or in blogs or both, and how lives intersected through his tragedy encouraged me.

On a post I wrote earlier this week describing lessons of loss and life, Bob V. commented

I’ve made some life decisions accordingly. Everything I own can fit into my car. With ownership comes attachment. With attachment comes an inevitable loss. With loss comes sorrow.

I also don’t like to develop relationships that will lead to my missing a person. My goal is to enjoy interacting with a person when they are available but to be unaffected by their absense.

I often get criticized for this philosophy. Many people say that it means I don’t want to love.

I am not into amassing material possessions. I’d love to be able to fit all that I own into a car but reality – on moving days – tells me otherwise. (The truth is that we own too many boxes of beloved books!) I admire Bob for his ability to live minimally.

With loss comes sorrow is true. But I also believe that without the possibility of loss, love cannot exist. I have to be willing to risk, to invest, to give of myself in order to receive from someone else. Loving someone involves loss: it’s inevitable, for none of us exist forever here. And it is that intense investment, that reckless abandon to another, that faith and feeling, that becomes a jump into joy.

I have wrestled with fear and love. After growing up with divorced parents, I didn’t want to lose any other relationships in life. Love worked on me for a while before I was willing to risk marriage.

While dating Ted, I was afraid: what would happen if we broke up? It would hurt. Bad. I didn’t want to risk the pain of losing him. But I realized that it wasn’t worth trying to date him, if I wasn’t going to try to love him. I decided that what mattered most in the relationship was what happened between us, not how long it lasted. Whatever happened to us, even if we broke up, I wanted to look back and say I loved Ted. To know that I had loved him as best I could.

When I had children, the possibility of loss hit me hard, in motherhood perhaps more than in marriage. As I held my baby in my arms, I already imagined her leaving, going away. The way I saw it, the picture that came to mind, I would care for this child, pour myself into her, literally body and soul, and then on her eighteenth birthday, she would drive away in a pick-up truck and go far away from me. It scared me. When I married my husband it was for better or for worse, until death do we part. But after legal adulthood, my kids could leave home and never see me again.

Eventually, I saw that my fears were – as an older and wiser friend told me – “premature” …and also unnecessary. I’ve realized that love is a choice. A choice that involves other choices. If I choose Love, then I am not choosing other things.

If I choose that Love is most important to me, then I can lose everything else. Even if relationships end, if I loved that person, I will still have that love. Sure it will be beaten and battered. But love lasts. It is fact. Even after death, Love endures.

So I’ve chosen to love people in my life. I’ve made irrevocable investments. In that sense, I’ve already lost some things in my pursuit of love. It’s a bit of a gamble. Then again, the words “risk”, “investment” and “gamble” aren’t accurate: Life isn’t Las Vegas. Love isn’t a casino. Or Wall Street.

Love is. And it can’t be lost.

Tags: journal

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rod K // Jun 1, 2004 at 10:26 am

    Hi Julie,

    Many great thoughts in this post. I would have blogged this but I can’t get to my site at the moment so I’ll post it here.

    “…to give of myself in order to receive from someone else.”

    This is a fine introduction to the confusion that is felt when you continue to give but there is nothing coming back to be received.

    “If I choose that Love is most important to me, then I can lose everything else.”

    And if that Love is taken away, everything else loses much of it’s importance.

    “So I’ve chosen to love people in my life.”

    And a very good choice that is. I too have chosen to love the people in my life, even more so these days.

    “Love is. And it can’t be lost.”

    But it can be taken away from you. My love is here still, but my Love, has been taken away.

    Such a strange and uncomfortable love I am left with. Tremendous emotions and feelings for someone who isn’t here to receive them.

    Sometimes I wish that more people understood the possibility of loss. I think that there would be more Love in the world.


  • 2 Kris Hasson-Jones // Jun 1, 2004 at 2:22 pm

    You have to be vulnerable (i.e., open yourself to the possibility of pain) in order to experience the deep joy of love.