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. [↩]