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December 14th, 2007 - Johnboy's Journal — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John Taylor

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December 14th, 2007

(no subject) [Dec. 14th, 2007|10:30 am]
John Taylor
[mood |A divine intervention]
[music |Anberlin - Fin]

While some of us fear death, I fear the sharing of love. I don't think I'm alone in this problem but I can't fully understand the why or the how of it. When attached to something we love, we don't want to share it. The deeper we commit to something and the more involved we become in it, the more we invest of ourself until we never want to part with it at all. Orson Scott Card referred to this as philotic twining and that these bonds form and become permanent. Being torn from those bonds is one of the most terrible feelings in the world, but I don't know that the slow dilution or gradual loss of importance is any better, just more masked.

We are a jealous society. Everyone wants to find "the one" and after having to look so hard to find that one particular match, we never dream of letting go. Our whole lives, we are raised with the expectation that we *shouldn't* let go of that person we find, that marriage is the ultimate end, and that that bond is eternal, never to be betrayed or broken.

Human beings are made to love. We bond with the things around us; children do this best and easiest, when encouraged to bond, and we take that lesson with us through all of life. It is natural for one person to bond to one person, and natural for them to also bond with other people, perhaps in different ways, but potentially in identical ones. For a while I never said that I had more than one best friend because I was always seeming to rank my friends and I could only have one best one. It didn't mean that any of the others were any less important, but simply that in order to rank them, one had to come first. There is no sharing that first place.

I'm learning in a harsh way that it's okay to believe that you can hold several people in equal importance. I think it's probably a better expression of love this way actually. If you are loved by someone, it *shouldn't* hurt if they love someone else too. But jealousy is a very petty thing, that we think that we have to be ranked and that we have to compete for that position. We actually begrudge people for loving others. In a very twisted sense, we accuse them for doing to other people what they do to us - love. I'm trying now to level myself and be okay with being tied for first with other people now, instead of thinking I'm just being replaced by others.

I fear the loss of attachment. I fear the loss of importance. People have said to me that I put other things before them, that I value other things more than them. In a roundabout way, I've been living the example without learning the lesson. I have many things in my life which are important, and I try to make all of them be first. If you approach the situation understanding that, then that feeling of unimportance never really comes into play. If you come into my life expecting to be ranked first at the exclusion of all other things, then disappointment is bound to follow. It's simply a question of understanding value systems. It's common to believe that first place is first place and everything else is second best. In this system, it's easy to either put people in the place of second best and consequently view them as second best or "not as good" as your first place, or for the other party to feel like they're only second best. Either way can suck, because you can't fully appreciate the situation you're in this way.

Alternatively, it's less common to treat everything you love with equal importance, but it affords less hurt feelings and grants more understanding, empathy and compassion. We are confined to living life in a linear fashion - our attentions can only be turned to one thing at a time. In that sense, yes, we rank and we prioritize the things we care about. There have been times when I have dropped work to take care of a sick girlfriend. There have been times when I've canceled a romantic date to hold a crying best friend. There have been times when I have pushed everyone aside to work on or run my shop. And amidst it all, there have been times when I have shoved everyone and everything out of my life just so I could take care of myself. When we are always having to prioritize like that, it gets really easy to mistake momentary priority with actual overall importance. When we factor in not only caring for other people, but taking time to just be cared about too, then we're left with very little extra time, and sometimes we sacrifice time with one person to be with another. We can actually hate someone we love for being cared about by other people.

I think all across the board I'm going to make an effort to show people that even if they're not always the top priority of the moment, they're the top priority of my life.

We should never begrudge each other the ability or the opportunity to love.

I need to remember to read and re-read this post to remind myself of that.
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