Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love's Discovery

I discovered the Indigo Girls in high school. I loved their sound, I could sing both vocal parts, I dreamed of going to their concert and being plucked from the crowd to sing with them (never happened, of course). This was one of my favorite songs because I thought it was about heartbreak and lost loves and so on. I thought it captured the deepness of what I now recognize as “teen angst.” I recently rediscovered the Girls. And listened to this song. And listened again and again and again and it spoke to me completely differently. I know of at least 2 married couples going through hard times right now. 1 working through some stuff, the other falling apart and in early stages of divorce. Neither of these relationships are intimately known to me but both are marriages that involve children and my heart always hurts especially in those situations. Some of the best marriage advice I ever heard was that when times are hard, turn in towards each other. When you are angry with your spouse, don’t run to your friends, your mom, your in-laws and spout off and vent and so on. Turn towards your spouse and work through it together. I know it doesn’t always work that way. But when you choose to run around and get input and advice and insight from 15 other people instead of keeping the issues inside your marriage and between the 2 people involved in the conflict, you are doing nothing helpful and everything hurtful. Can love be recovered? Can we weather the storms of life? Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together

They've all gone and left each other in search of fairer weather

And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast

To the slim chance of love's recovery. Searching for fairer weather… grass is always greener. The bottom line is that it’s easy to be restless and searching and believing that there is something better out there. But what happens if we hunker down and endure the storm? What happens if we stay together for the sake of the slim chance of love’s recovery? There I am in younger days, star gazing,

Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be

Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection

My compass, faith in love's perfection

I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen This one really rings true for me now! It held such a different meaning when I was in my younger days and I had all these ideas about life and love and the path ahead of me. I thought I had so much figured out. But I didn’t know anything. And while I do believe that life has happened the way it has to bring me to this point, I also know that I have missed some paths because I refused to see them. Faith, in love’s perfection. I used to think that was a very romantic line and that love was perfect and all those paths were to distract me from finding my one true perfect love. I think it’s missed that love isn’t perfect and that’s why the starry eyed youth me missed out on chances to build and choose love and learn from those lessons. Rain soaked and voice choked like silent screaming in a dream

I search for our absolute distinction

Not content to bow and bend

To the whims of culture that swoop like vultures

Eating us away, eating us away

Eating us away to our extinction Whims of culture… All those outside voices and pressures to pull you away, turn you away, point you in a different direction. To show you what you don’t have, to make you feel what you are lacking. Whims of culture, tempting you, swooping, eating… extinction. Never seeing your own blessings, never working on the happiness that already surrounds you, never accepting yourself and loving yourself as you are, always wanting to be better, do better, go faster, go higher… never being satisfied. Never allowing life to be uncomplicated. Never enjoying the simple beauty of settling. The whims of culture… until we are extinct. Our selves extinct, our relationships extinct. Always seeking happiness instead of choosing to be happy with what you have already chosen. Oh how I wish I were a trinity, so if I lost a part of me

I'd still have two of the same to live

But nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal, as specks of dust we're universal

To let this love survive would be the greatest gift that we could give Nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal. This is it. Make the best of what you have right now. To let this love survive would be the greatest gift that we could give. That love that Jeff and I work on and choose to keep alive, in the midst of all the storms and temptations and ideals, is the greatest gift we can give our children, our friends, our families, our communities, and each other. Tell all the friends who think they're so together

That these are ghosts and mirages, these thoughts of fairer weather

Though it's storming out I feel safe within the arms of love's discovery You have to stop looking for it to be better somewhere else, with someone else, having something else. If you move to Florida for the sunshine, you also risk the hurricanes. If you move to Indiana for the 4 seasons, you also get blizzards and tornadoes. No matter where you go, if you aren’t happy with what you already are and already have, you will always be searching and restless. Though it’s storming out, I feel safe within the arms… of love’s discovery. Figuring out that it’s already here and with you. You don’t have to fight the storm from out in the middle of it, alone. It’s all around you and you can wait it out together. You can face it head on together. The point is to do it together. And I think that “love’s discovery” is about realizing that you already have it. It’s already around you. It isn’t about butterflies in your stomach and roses and chocolates (but chocolate never hurts, mind you) and longing gazes and romance. Those romantic gestures don’t define love. Love is hard work and hard choices and hard sacrifices and hard compromises. And when you start doing the hard things together… when you realize that the storm can rage around you and not tear you apart… when you’ve done the hard work to secure the home and family and commit to your partner… when your home and family are strong in the foundation and you are committed to being the safe, warm and comforting place where husband, wife, children can fall, can fight, can love, can cry, can celebrate… that is love’s discovery.


Teacher Tom said...

I'm very touched by this post. Thank you.

Turning toward each other during hard times is how my wife and I have lasted 23 years.

Your post reminds me of a quote from George Eliot (I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember it exactly): "Love doesn't make all things easy; it makes us choose the things that are hard."

KPCL Girl said...

This is very insightful, Liz. I love the IG, too. Some of their stuff really speaks to me....