Finding Selfless Love: Turning a Missed Chance into a Choice.
Some people find love the way they might stumble upon a new restaurant or a killer deal in the clearance section of their favorite store.
Unsuspecting, unknowing, and in the typical routine of their everyday life.
I thought I had found love in this way, but I learned abruptly that what I’d found wasn’t love at all. I learned the hard way that sometimes forever means for now, and that often the only thing that you can trust is that some people are liars. I learned that no feeling is final, and that love looks a lot different in the big scheme of things than I thought it did.
I couldn’t comprehend why something that felt so divine could be taken away so quickly. I didn’t understand why what was finally my chance could leave without looking back.
But then I realized that what once felt like a missed chance, I could turn into a choice.
I spent a lot of time getting to know myself. Dissecting intricate pieces of my past relationship, and sighing deep, grateful exhales when I realized that the person I thought I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with was wrong for me in more ways than I ever could have imagined.
Our relationship had been built on chaos. Our paths had crossed in what felt like everyday encounters without realizing we were building a foundation on festering problems and boxes of issues that had never been opened. We were handed situations that felt like they were make-or-break, but, in all reality, those moments of chaos became the glue that held us together.
When it came to simple, everyday life, we didn’t really even know how to coexist. So one of us poured ourselves into the relationship trying to figure out how to nurture and grow, while the other poured himself into a young girl who laughed at all of his jokes and didn’t make him face the problems he had been avoiding for so long.
And it ended.
As terrifying and beautiful as that sounds, the love I thought I’d waited my entire life for ended in the blink of an eye.
It wasn’t until that love left me that I really stopped to ask myself what it is that I am even looking for in a significant other. So many things I thought I wanted became so insignificant when I was left alone on the hardwood floor with a wedding to cancel and a new life to build… alone.
Once the love-blind veil escaped my tired eyes, I saw things with so much clarity and so much grace. It still brings tears to my eyes to think that I’m getting a second chance that a lot of people don’t get, or take years and a lot more pain and struggle in order to receive.
I’m not for a second discounting the amount of work a relationship takes in order to last.
But I am learning that more than work, relationships take a choice.
A constant, deliberate, conscious choice that must be made every second of every day.
So, now that I have a choice, I want someone who will choose me back.
Someone who understands that value of what he has before he loses it.
Someone who doesn’t have to lose me in order to realize the grass isn’t greener on the other side.
Someone who values commitment, relationships, and loyalty.
I believe in love more than anything in this entire world, and I believe that love is a bigger force than all other forces if it’s chosen. But I’ve seen lust, temptation, and convenience chosen time and time and time again while love is left in the dust.
I choose love.
And I will wait for someone ready to choose love alongside me every single day.
I used to daydream about the handsome man and the love affair we’d have that would make all of the storybooks jealous. I’d dream of tall, dark, handsome, and the envy of all my friends.
But I am learning that I don’t want a man to show off nearly as much as I want a man who shows up.
A man I can count on.
A resting place for my heart after the end of a long day.
A man with a calm voice on the other end of the line and a steady hand on the other side of the drink-holder in the car.
I no longer yearn for a man who charms all of the girls in a crowded room, but I won’t stop searching until I find the man who can charm me with just one look from across the aisle at the grocery store.
The man who makes every single ordinary day together a grand adventure.
I want a man who becomes my greatest adventure, and I will become his.
The man who chooses to walk the tightrope with me, even when it would be a lot easier to jump off onto solid ground. The man who meets me halfway because he knows confidently that I will be there to meet him back. I used to think I was searching for someone to have and to hold, but I know now I am searching for someone with practice in letting go.
Someone capable of standing on his own, but someone who chooses to walk beside me as we navigate life’s bumpy roads together.
I have learned that when broken people get together, they become two broken people.
But when two people whole on their own team up, they become a force to be reckoned with.
I no longer want to make the storybooks jealous; hell, I don’t want jealousy to be invited to our dinner table. The only envy I will feel is for his coffee cup in the morning, when he presses his lips lightly against the ceramic rather than against my own.
I am learning the subtle difference between the things I want and the things I need.
I have spent so much time searching for wants that my needs nearly died of thirst.
A love of searching for wants leaves you thirsty in the desert, a love of fulfilling one another’s needs runs deeper-than-the-ocean blue.
I no longer want the love that’s fast and ruthless, I need a love that is slow and steady.
The love that shows up with either tea or whiskey and knows the difference between the two.
The love that spends more time taking away problems than it does adding to this ever-flowing plate we call life. The love that asks how my day was, just because.
The love that calls instead of texting, because smiling voices are better than smiling emojis.
We are born creating checklists, and we are often so busy making checkmarks that we completely forget how unimportant many of the items are. We discuss how tall he is, what kind of car he drives, and whether or not he’s a good kisser over happy hour, but those are no longer the questions I care to ask.
Does he make you smile? Can you laugh together? Has he seen you cry?
Does he hold your hand a little tighter when you drive past the cemetery on Main Street? Does he know why you avoid Costco and Crossfit? If you call him, can you tell if he’s smiling when he answers the phone?
And so here I am, still learning.
Learning how to love myself, trust myself, and find hope in what seemed like a hopeless situation.
But, more than that, I am learning that the love I thought I was looking for doesn’t matter one single bit.
I don’t care anymore how love looks on the outside.
I’ve walked those roads and ended up facing dead ends with tired legs.
I now focus a lot more on how love feels on the inside instead.