Saturday, July 5, 2014

"The Holiness of the Heart's Affections"

*DISCLAIMER* This blog post is full of thoughts and feelings which have been searching for a way to get out for awhile now; a culmination, or rather, continuation, of other thoughts I have had about vulnerability. Feel free to disagree with my musings; I doubt that everyone will agree with everything I have to say. Still, it is important to point out that these thoughts are in no way directed at or alluding to any one or any situation. It is simply raw, vulnerable emotion--a blog post I am sharing with the world in the hopes that it is helpful to someone, somewhere. 

I do not pretend to be experienced in matters of love and relationships. I am still learning about myself . . . I always will be, I guess. But maybe being my age and at my stage of life makes me more vocal and interested in love and relationships and the concept of falling in love, especially as so many of my peers (myself included) fall in and out of love on a semi-regular basis.

We're all at different stages of life, even though we're technically all around the same age, we are at different places at life, love, and relationships. One of us might have just gone through a major break-up; another is going through the anguish of unrequited love; yet another considers him or herself ready for a relationship . . . and how are we to know how a person is feeling or where they are on the "relationship-readiness-scale" when we meet them in class or are set up by well-meaning friends? Most people don't shout their deep, dark secrets from the rooftops; it's impractical to wear your heart on your sleeve.

The differences of where we all stand on the planes of love does not even begin to cover the different backgrounds we all come from--politics, religion, culture, intelligence, family--they all play a part in making us who we are. And with all of these differences, it's a miracle people get married, really. It's a miracle they have decided to have faith enough to make a whole-hearted effort to make a marriage last and form a home.

Now wonder we put marriage announcements on the highest place of honor: the kitchen fridge. Because it truly is a miracle when it works out. A miracle.

It's the getting there that's the headache.

And I know it's not one-sided. It's frustrating for guys and girls alike. And we all add to the headaches and heartaches of others. Such is life.

And I think--I think that although most of us love the idea of being in love, we are more cautious when it comes down to the basics of it--when it becomes real and not abstract. I think that love scares us sometimes. That choice to surrender. To give all. It is terrifying . . . but it is also beautiful.

Above all, it is holy. Sacred, even.

I think I am cautious about falling in love for this reason: the regions of the heart are sacred, and I hesitate before letting someone step into the beautiful chambers of my heart. And I hesitate before letting myself try to open the door of someone else's heart. You cannot force your way in; you can only knock with excitement and trepidation and pray that you are let in.

For they must let you in themselves. And then, if they are ready, they will give you the key.

That key could symbolize many things. But I believe it symbolizes trust. A mutual trust to each other, promising to handle the other's heart with tenderness and respect.

Because entering those chambers is a sacred privilege.

Think of it--letting someone tread on your hopes and dreams; your joys and fears. You are becoming a part of their life, and that, for me, is huge. It's not something to be flippant about. It is too precious.

I've always loved this poem by W.B. Yeats:

"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams." 

You tread on my dreams. I believe that is what we do when we love someone or when someone loves us. We spread our hopes and dreams at their feet--a magnificent tapestry of possibilities. We open ourselves up and let another person see our good parts and bad parts, our hopes and dreams and fears all rolled into one . . . and then we pray that they will still love us for who we are and who we can become. 

It is frightening--but it is beautiful. And really, I don't think there could be any other way. 

Love is about faith. It is also about hope. Without hope, we would never allow another in.  

John Keats once said, "I am certain of nothing but the Holiness of the Heart's affections and the Truth of the Imagination." 

Spoken like a true Romantic. But I do believe that the heart's affections are holy. And that is what makes love so wonderful, terrifying, and life-changing. 

"What if it doesn't work out?" 
"Ah, but what if it does?"  

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