I hesitate to write about this because I didn’t come up with it and haven’t the faintest idea where I first heard it.  Probably a book.  Or a movie.  Sometimes my memory mixes those two up.  But I’m 90% sure it was a book.  Or movie.  How’s that for citing sources?  Welcome to the internet.

Anyway, I was walking and mulling with Banjo at Shelby Bottoms this morning.  I remembered a statistic I’ve heard about the reasons most relationships end.  Sex, money, lies, there a million specifics that you could get into about the end of a relationship.  But in general, most long-term relationships end not because one person stops loving the other, but because one or both no longer believe that they are loved by the other.

The sense of confidence that comes from new love is exhilarating.  Finally there is something that makes us feel worthy, even heroic.  Someone we find attractive (and quite possibly had thought unattainable) thinks we are worthy of their attention!  Maybe this and all our other dreams really will come true!

But over time we lose faith in the love that once awakened us to the world.  Maybe we mutually move into the comfortable world of relationship routines that don’t call for performance or for vulnerability.  Maybe it’s as simple as the end of a hormone rush which allows all our old feelings (which were more about ourselves than another person) to take back their throne.  But whatever the catalyst, I experience this loss often.

Since we moved to Nashville we’ve had some incredible opportunities to meet people whose work I’ve admired for a long time.  My initial feeling in those moments is elation, but it’s been quickly followed by panic.  Quick, get out of this conversation before you annoy them!  Don’t force them to be gracious to you!  And then, before I know what I’ve done I’m excusing myself and Jaron (poor guy) and dragging him off with a quick comment to that person about letting them go. I did it just last night, in fact.  After an amazing show, the singer approached the folks we were in conversation with and I immediately took it as a signal to hightail it out of there.  Don’t bug her, I thought.  I’ve admired this woman, who is my own age, for the several years I’ve known about her work, and instead of telling her so I circumvented the potential for rejection and in so doing deprived her of heartfelt thanks and encouragement.

I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to be the person who preemptively destroys what could be a great moment, just because there is some level of risk involved in engaging with it.  Just because I don’t feel like a hero.  So, as I did this morning, I will spend more time being loved.  Which for me means allowing myself to seek the places it is available to me.  Unfortunately, these places are not on the path of least resistance.  I do not receive love from Angry Birds.  Or Facebook or Twitter, or Netflix or applying for jobs or stressing out over band names.  I receive it on nature walks with Banjo, in a clean kitchen with flour on my hands and the smell of yeast growing in the oven, in finally fixing the porch light.

I used to believe that if I had strong enough faith, I would outgrow my need for love or at least my need for the assurance of it.  When in fact, assurance of love is what makes my faith strong.  Assurance that is constantly available to me – if I listen with my hands, my feet, my eyes.  And it won’t be up to my husband or my favorite singers to convince me.

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