Today’s title bout features two super heavy weights in the emotions that drive us. I wrote the following for our local paper on behalf of another organization that submits a weekly column to the paper. I was limited to 500 words so I chose to edit my writing on the fly. I had the general outline of what I was writing and so I knew about how many words I had left as I went along. This made the overall process easier, but it is still quite difficult to fit such a dense subject into such a small package. In the end I had about 550 words so I had to go back and remove a few sentences. After that I had 507 words so I went back and found 7 words that I could remove. In the end I submitted exactly 500 words. Overall I was pretty happy with it but since I don’t have such a limit I will be adding some to what I wrote. Those new parts will be in italics.
For one human being to love another that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof; the work for which all other work is but preparation.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
Love is eternal where lust is temporary. This is a plain and apparent fact as easily seen as the nose on my face, which is quite noticeable from even a great distance. The problem comes when one confuses love and lust. Often people claim to be “in love” only to “fall out of love,” but in truth they were “in lust” which is as easy to fall in to as it is to fall out of. Consider the relationship between a parent and child. This should be our basis for understanding love because it is our first experience with love. Each party must fail severely and often before love might fail. Parents who truly love their children do so regardless of the choices the child has made and regardless of how painful those choices might be. Often terrible parents are loved by their children regardless of how much it hurts for that love to not be returned. Imagine if all relationships were so pursued.
Since love will always outlast lust, the lover must take time for lust to fade so that love might grow just as a great tree must grow slowly until the weeds around it die and it can be in full sun and grow great and true; then nurture that love through respect and care. Only after those first joys of lust have passed will a couple experience true love in their relationship, the kind of love that exists beyond the hurt and pain.
It is also true that love is patient and perseveres in all things. This is why waiting for love is the only way a relationship may endure. Often a person says to another, “If you love me you will …” but the truth is that if love exists, it will be patient and forgiving. Lust demands instant gratification where love will carry through to the end. Lust is a sprinter that expends all his energy in seconds while Love is in a marathon race and she knows to keep an even pace throughout so she will not tire too quickly or stumble in the many rough places along the way.
This is why so many relationships fail, love gets confused with lust. When those feelings of joy and giddiness fade the energy of lust is spent while love is just getting started. Love must be given time to grow in the absence of lust or it will never reach its maturity. This is a difficult process because lust is passionate and intense driving a couple to spend time together where love is kind and gentle liberating a couple to their own interests. In this, individuals growing in love must overcome themselves and spend time with their love so they might experience a deeper understanding of love. If the lover were to say to the beloved, “I just do not love you anymore,” the lover is lost in confusion. The lover meant to say, “I no longer lust after you.” Love is an endless ocean and lust is a desert wash. The rain will cause the wash to overflow and rage intensely but once the water has flown into the ocean the wash cracks with the desert heat. Follow the water into the ocean and love will never run dry.
In this season of love, consider that love gives while lust takes. Take the time to seek out the gifts of love. The gifts of love are not available at the store but can only be found in time, empathy, and compassion. These true gifts thrive in love but suffocate in lust. When you look into those special eyes and say, “I love you” please do not lie to your heart.