Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preparing for Disappointment

What If? By Coldplay

What if there was no light.
Nothing wrong, nothing right.
What if there was no time?
And no reason or rhyme?
What if you should decide
That you don't want me there by your side.
That you don't want me there in your life.

What if I got it wrong?
And no poem or song..
Could put right what I got wrong,
Or make you feel I belong?

Let's take a breath, jump over the side.
How can you know it if you don't even try?

Every step that you take
Could be your biggest mistake
It could bend or it could break
But that's the risk that you take.
What if you should decide
That you don't want me there in your life.
That you don't want me there by your side.

What if? What if my heart gets broken? What if I fail? If I “buy into the magic,” I will be more hurt if it doesn’t work out. The heart has to be protected…… reasoned…… desire for something amazing has to be held at bay until we are “sure.”

When my kids were little, we took them to Disney for a week. Being somewhat skeptical by nature, the X and I made a decision to “buy into the magic,” to allow ourselves to get excited about all that is Disney for our kids’ sake. So…..we looked for every character, wore mouse ears, skipped down the sidewalk and otherwise embarrassed our kids. You know what….we had a BLAST!! You know what else……Disney without the “magic” can be it’s own level of hell in Dante’s Inferno……lines, silly music, grouchy people. Allowing ourselves to be a kid again and to feel excitement set the tone for the entire trip.

Relationships are that way. Divorced people have a tendency to hold back emotionally (and honestly, so do a lot of single people). Although we may, “commit” to a relationship (and maybe even WAY too soon) we are still preparing ourselves to be disappointed. We were in love once and it hurt a heck of a lot……so love has somehow lost its luster….lost its shine….lost its magic. We are sometimes unwilling to let the relationship move at its own pace without feeling like we have to plan and control every move…every step. We cannot seem to “buy into” the thought that the other person is really “into” us without wondering at every step if there are signs that we aren’t seeing….reasons why we are not right for each other……preliminary yellow caution flags that may or may not precede a red relationship-ending flag.

What would it hurt to allow yourself to embrace the romantic….the magic…the feelings that go deep?? Do we honestly think that if we hold back and the relationship ends that it won’t hurt?? Really?? It’s gonna hurt……it’s gonna hurt more being in a relationship devoid of desire - - the desire of the heart.

John Eldridge writes this in his book Desire:

Most of you will by this time have lost a parent, a spouse, even a child. Your hopes for your career have not panned out. Your health has given way. Relationships have turned sour. We all know the dilemma of desire, how awful it feels to open our hearts to joy, only to have grief come in. They go together. We know that. What we don’t know is what to do with it, how to live in this world with desire so deep in us and disappointment lurking behind every corner. After we’ve taken a few Arrows, dare we even desire? Something in me knows that to kill desire is to kill my heart altogether.

Desire is the source of our most noble aspirations and our deepest sorrows. The pleasure and the pain go together; indeed, they emanate from the same region in our hearts. We cannot live without the yearning, and yet the yearning sets us up for disappointment—sometimes deep and devastating disappointment. One storm claimed the lives of eight of Krakauer’s companions in the Everest disaster of 1996. Should they not have tried? Many have said they were foolish even to begin. Do we reach for nothing in life because our reaching opens us up to tragedy? Because of its vulnerable nature, desire begins to feel like our worst enemy.

Desire…..allowing yourself to desire…to be vulnerable….to invest in the lives of others…truly invest. It’s much like being a kid again. Children have the innate ability to imagine the possibilities…..to experience great joy…..to run with no holds barred. What happens when Peter Pan grows up?? He forgets….he explains away…..he is skeptical.

So….what does that mean for me?? It means buying into the “magic” of life…of relationships…allowing my heart to grow….to love genuinely….to be “all in…”

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