Eric Hutchinson has a song with this title, and the beginning lyrics of the chorus are these:
Anyone who knows me
You don’t know me at all
Any love that’s good comes easily
I have a couple of friends with lots of tattoos and they’ve asked me a few times if I were ever to get one (I don’t have any and I seriously doubt I ever will have one), what would I get? It would be of those lyrics ^^^.
I love those lines, especially the last one.
I see and hear a lot about how love hurts and how love is work, and even Mr. Rogers said…
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like ‘struggle.’ To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now – and to go on caring even through times that may bring us pain.”
And I believe all those things. I know they’re true. But I also believe that love isn’t supposed to make you feel bad. It’s not supposed to feel like a chore, like drudgery, or worse, like you’re appeasing some irrational, demanding deity who never seems to be satisfied with your offerings and sacrifices and punishes you arbitrarily for not meeting constantly moving benchmarks. It’s definitely not supposed to regularly be the cause of pain and grief. We grieve loss, but LOVE isn’t what’s causing that grief, it’s the loss. We get hurt by actions and words, but LOVE doesn’t cause that hurt, it’s the hurtful actions and words that came from a person or people we love.
Mr. Rogers is a personal hero of mine, and I’m certainly not refuting his quote. Love is always going to have times of struggle and pain…that’s the human experience in all honesty, as unfortunate of a truth as it is. People aren’t perfect. We hurt each other. Even…maybe especially…the people we love. Even an unyielding optimist like me can see that. Hell, I know it from my own experience. I’ve hurt people I love. I’ve certainly been hurt by people I love.
But I like to add another hero of mine’s words along to Mr. Rogers’.
“To me, obligation is not love. Letting someone be open, honest, and free–THAT’S love. It’s got to come natural and it’s got to be real.”
Being known is what makes love good. It’s what makes love come easily. Even in moments of pain. Even in times of struggle. It’s what makes the work worth it and not feel like chores and drudgery. It’s what makes seeing and listening to and being with a person you love NOT an obligation but a joy…even when that person is struggling and in pain and you have to share it. It’s what makes trust and forgiveness possible, so that when human error and inadvertent offense happen, it’s still easy to love that person. Loving them still comes easily. It still makes you feel good.
Good love doesn’t intentionally hurt and atonement for unintentional trespass comes…willingly and expediently…and forgiveness comes…willingly and expediently…because it comes from being known. The patterns of historical words and actions, and the depth of knowledge and reciprocity…the desire to know them and for them to know you back…that you have with a person let you love each other easily. That’s good love. Knowing a person is what makes good love possible and it’s what makes it seem and feel easy.
I believe in that. Those lyrics of Eric Hutchinson’s, particularly that highlighted last line, are words I base most of my writing on, and it’s the best part about life. I try to know the people I love in depth and detail. And I think I largely succeed at that with the people I love the most, because the love I have for J…for The Boy…for my best friends…DOES come very easily. Effortlessly. And J and The Boy and A and D, the friends I’ve written about here in depth before, know me that well in return, and still seem to care to know me with more depth and detail. I hope that means their love for me is good and real and comes easily too. But for the most part in my life…not many people know me.
And most people don’t seek to know me. Which is fine. I’m super introverted and own that I’m a hard person to GET to know, and I understand why hordes of people aren’t knocking on my door to form close relationships with me. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself or want that if it happened anyway. But since I don’t really feel loved…at least not good love…unless I’m known, it limits the love I feel in my life.
I don’t feel really loved…not good love…even from my parents. Or my brother. Or the vast majority of my family. And even most of the people I have formed friendly acquaintances with in my life…people I’ve spent a lot of time with…people *I* know with some decent depth and detail…people *I* love. And never really have. Because they don’t know me. And I can feel them working to fulfill obligation to love me. Their love for me, if what they have for me even is ‘love,’ does not come easily.
I admit that gets me down sometimes. But not today. Because the people who DO know me? Wow. That’s some really good love coming my way. ❤
I am grateful for that in a way I don’t really have words for. I hope they feel that same quality of love back from me. Because I do have it for them. Good love that comes easily.