About a month ago, I attended my first The Better Story Project workshop entitled Love in 8 Chapters. It was about love, obviously, and I attended because: (1) I figure it’s about time I attended one; (2) Isa is a good friend of mine; and (3) it’s about love, and everyone knows I’m a romantic sap.1
I went to the workshop, ears, heart, and mind open, because I wanted to learn things about love. Things I don’t know, or remind myself of the things I knew but somehow forgot. It was a great night, and yes, I did learn a lot, and I’ve been meaning to blog about them but somehow I couldn’t find the words until now. There are several things that I want to write about, but for today, I will focus on these lines that the speaker shared, something she wrote in her journal some years back:
To set yourself free, you need to remember to love again. To sincerely wish love on the source of your pain, without want for anything in return.
That was all I got to copy when it was flashed on the screen, but it was enough. I kept on going back to this in the past days and weeks, especially during my prayer time. It’s a lovely, lovely thought, but it’s a hard one to really live out. To sincerely wish love on the source of my pain? Are you crazy? I’ve always thought that I could really, truly and sincerely say “I’m happy for you” when the time came that I need to say it, but the time did come and it killed me that I couldn’t say it. Because guess what? I’m not happy.
Okay, fine, I mean, I am happy, sort of, because other people are happy, but I am not happy for myself. And it’s so hard to say you’re happy for someone when inside it all feels like just a big lie. Who was I kidding, anyway?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is my ego talking right there. Down, ego. Down.
But what did I quote about joy again, at the start of the year?
Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust love triumphant.
I’ve been going back to what Carisse, the speaker in the workshop, said, and then back to that line about joy. It’s hard to wish love and joy on the source of your pain, because of the simple fact that they are the source of your pain. But think about it this way, too: somehow, the source of your pain isn’t solely just another person, but also, you.
In a way, I am also a source of my pain. Of course, I don’t mean to hurt myself, but there were many times that I did some things that caused me pain unintentionally. Or, you know, sometimes they are intentional, but in the figurative sense. More often than not, our actions and words and thoughts also become a source of our own pain. Like when we can’t let go of something. Or when we refuse to forgive. We don’t just refuse to let go or forgive others, but we also refuse to let go of our faults and forgive ourselves in the process.
So in a sense, wishing love and joy on the source of our pain is also wishing love and joy for ourselves. Right?
It’s hard, but I’m working on it. I’m working on choosing to take delight even when it’s painful, to wish love and joy on others and myself, even when it’s the last thing I ever want to do. Because joy is what happens when you let love win, even if it’s hard and painful.
I mean, just look at Jesus on the cross. That’s pain right there, the one we brought about because of our sins. But guess what? More than pain, that’s also love. The most triumphant love, ever.
And it’s the kind of love that has and will always set us free.
- Not lately, though, but that’s another story. [↩]
So I had this Valentine’s post planned that I started drafting last week, but I didn’t get to finish it because (1) I was busy writing; and (2) I honestly wasn’t sure where the post was going. And then I’m about to leave for Cagayan de Oro for the 21st SFC International Conference (yay) and it’s the first time I’m spending Valentine’s Day out of town (yay), so I would be even busier. So I thought: Nah, never mind. Screw that post. My blog will still live without it.
But I’m a sucker for dates, and I don’t know, it’s become some sort of a tradition, and I didn’t want to have the blog empty of posts for two weeks (because I didn’t write any last week).
So here. A short and sweet V-day post, written in advance, for you guys! I know some people feel bad about not having someone to spend V-day with, but if there’s anything I learned in the past years, it’s this: we are never without love. Sure, we may not always have romance, but we are never, ever unloved. :)
More posts when I get back! In the meantime, here’s a poem from one of the books I read recently, The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg. What a lovely and fun book. Here’s a poem that the main character read at the end, and I’ve been reading it over and over every now and then:
In the midst of happiness or despair
in sorrow or in joy
in pleasure or in pain:
Do what is right and you will be at peace.
In life there is no greater gift than peace,
May you always have love.
I hope you have a warm, joyful, and love-filled Valentine’s. ♥
I got sick last week, and the funny thing about this particular sickness was I lost my voice along with all the other icky stuff I had to go through. This made me fall silent for almost five days, and that’s a feat, because if you know me in real life, I always talk. But there, I lost my voice, so I didn’t speak much last week. Thank goodness for social media, I guess, so I wasn’t completely quiet?
Anyway, the one thing I really don’t like when I’m sick is how it can get pretty lonely. Which is silly, because I was surrounded by people at home, and at work when I got to work. I was never really alone, but I still craved a specific kind of company. Not exactly a specific person — not now, not anymore, anyway — but you know, just someone. Outside of my family and friends who would ask how I was, and would take care of me, too.
I remember one time when I had the flu, and I was feeling terribly sad and lonely at home. And then I had the craziest craving for McDonald’s Twister Fries, and I wished like crazy that someone would bring me some. You know, bring me some at home. Again, I wasn’t really looking for a specific person to do it, but I knew then that I wished I had someone who would do that for me, even without my asking. Or you know, someone who saw what I posted online and would be nice enough to bring me some.
I wished there was a guy (there, I said it) who would be concerned about my health, too, and would take care of me when I get sick.
I wished that there was someone who’d bring me sick day food when I get hit by the flu, or asthma, or allergies. Someone who’d go out of his way and visit me home.
My brother brought home some fries later that day, and I was happy. But I still couldn’t shake off that feeling of loneliness that had long settled in while I was being all whiny. It sucks to be sick and to feel alone all at the same time. Even if I wasn’t really, completely alone.
Being sick can make someone feel the craziest kind of longing.
It’s silly, you know, how these lonely spells can feel like it’s the truth. How easily we get convinced that we need a specific person to make us feel less lonely. How we tend to disregard the presence of other people in our life because we want just one person. We put so much expectation on that person, whether we know him or not, and we end up being disappointed when that person cannot fulfill the need we thought they would feel. And then we get lonely all over again.
There was a time I went out with some girl friends, and after I had cried a little, one of them said, “Don’t forget you are loved. We all love you. God loves you. Don’t let this experience make you think you are less loved, because you are not.”
It wasn’t anything new, really — I knew all of that. But somehow, it’s so easy to forget. When my ego gets bruised, when my heart gets broken, the first thing I always seem to forget is how much I am loved. Instead, I focus on that one love I wanted, the I won’t really get anymore. I know it’s normal (and healthy, even) to feel bad and to cry over things such as heart break, but I think it’s also as important to remember that even if that one person doesn’t love me the way I wished he would, there are still people who love me. Who still love me. Who never stopped loving me, even if I was a complete mess.
You see, even in our loneliest moments, we were never unloved. We have always been loved.
It’s so easy to forget. But it’s the truth. And you have to fight everyday to remember it.
The good thing is, you aren’t alone in fighting to remember it, either. The people who love you? They will fight along with you to make sure you know they love you, too.
* * *
I was on a Hunter Hayes kick last week. While listening to his album, I realized that his song Wanted would be perfect for this next writing project I had already outlined. I listened to it several more times for more feels, of course, and somehow, the song started to become more about me instead of just my next project. As I was humming the song one day, I started to feel a little melancholic.
On the umpteenth listen,1 I sighed and prayed softly, “Lord, I wish someone would want me.”
Then in the silence (because I still had no voice then), I heard the most gentle whisper in my heart, in the place where The One who made me always speaks: “I want you. I have always wanted you. I will always want you.”
- Oh, I’ve stopped playing the song on repeat as of this week. Sort of. [↩]
Hello thereHi! I'm Tina, and this is my personal blog. I used to blog at refineme.org, which I have turned into a vault, because I can't let go of my old posts there. I like to read (and I am a part of a wonderful book club) and write and I
used to beam still disgustinglymushy/sentimental sometimes, but I don't really blog about it anymore. I get excited over nice pens and notebooks, anything with stars, sunflowers, tigers, cats and dogs. I talk to myself when I'm alone, I dance even when I'm not good, I talk a lot and I talk fast. I'm learning how to have a brave heart, and this is where I write it down. I live loved because I serve a great God. :) More?
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