Present Tense

I recently realized that it is only by letting go of my vision for the future that I have been able to not only enjoy the present far more but also the let go of the past. When I’m not fixated on what I wanted my life to look like by now, it is much easier to forgive those who have disappointed me, including myself.  Intention is good and necessary on some level, but I think that too often I’ve placed my hope in an outcome, rather than in the Person who is truly all good and all love.

Take the perennial thorn in my side: relationships. (Just in time for Valentine’s Day, OF course.)  I’m going to commit a bit of heresy and say that the premium placed on marriage by certain cultures has perhaps limited my love ability (and loveability?) rather than nurtured it.  I think that I internalized “love” as a means to an end, something you hoard only for the one you deem “marriageable.” (And how the hell, I have ever asked, does one figure out who that is? No answer.)  Guard your heart and all that. I understand and believe some things need to be held sacred to the bond between husband and wife. But is it not possible to give of your affection to someone you will never marry, at least until you have found the person whom you will, out of simple generosity and pleasure? My life has always been characterized by withholding, saving, storing, but for what?  Ostensibly in reserve for future husband, but I wonder if stinginess has become such an emotional habit so that when I do find myself in a relationship, I have a constant eye on the “prize” rather than the person.  Might it not do me well to practice giving within my limits without a thought for what I want in return? (I think that until now I have never done so.)

Don’t misunderstand: I still want to be married and I am protecting my marriage as best as I know how. But for now I have set aside the expectation of marriage to take the pressure off myself.  I feel like transferring my perfectionistic tendencies onto relationships causes me to take it so much harder when things don’t work out.  But if I treat it all as a learning process (that I still enter very tentatively)–this is healthy, that is not; I am this way and not that way–then there really can be no failure, only chapters that end and eventually–yes, please!–one that begins and begins and begins.

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