Love; it’s not a complicated word, and yet, these four little letters have so much control over so much of our lives.
For some, love comes easily. Like the sky exploding in color as the sun rises over the mountains on a crisp fall day, it is beautiful and, while maybe not something you see every day, with enough patience and wherewithal to look for it, I am certain that one day, everyone can see it.
But what happens when the sunrise isn’t enough? What happens when we find the sunrise and yet, can’t see past the dark just before it? More painfully, what happens when you find the sunrise and the person sitting next to you simply can’t see it? The pain of their past and the unseen trauma they carry blind them to the beauty that could be; they’re too busy worrying about that which they may have lost in the dark, to be open to that which they may find in the light.
I was once told, in an overly simplistic manner, that there are two types of people in this world. Those who see the world through rose-colored glasses, and those who see the world in grey.
For those who see the world in rose, there is hope, there is goodness, there is light, and there is love.
On the other hand, those who see through grey-colored glasses have an overwhelming sense of negative regard for the world around them.
This manifests in seeing even neutral or positive actions from those around them as skewed in their mind to be perceived as negative. Someone cutting them off in traffic? It was done intentionally. A co-worker mentioning their hair looking different today? This is absolutely a backhanded slight as they are always looking to get a dig in on them.
When a person’s feelings are predominantly negative, every action from those around them, every bid for attention, joke, or mistake is interpreted through this negative lens—whether it deserves to be seen that way or not.
As this outlook was explained to me, I couldn’t help but think how lonely and powerlessness someone must feel when this is their everyday reality. As I allowed myself to truly comprehend this reality for those who see in grey, I found myself asking one simple question—what happens when you see the world in rose and the person you love sees only grey? Well, spoiler alert, in my years of living with this question, I have found that love, as powerful as it is, sometimes is just not enough.
In the words of Dr. King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
So why wasn’t my love, my light, my….me…enough? It has taken me one failed marriage and the loss of another man who I knew in my heart was my future, my home, my love, to finally get it. Love is not enough to fight the darkness of those lost within it. Your love, as powerful and raw as it may be, is not enough to keep the demons of those we love at bay—if they themselves keep letting them back in.
Love is only enough when they are ready to let it be. And for those of us left on the outside, staring through tears as the sun peaks over the mountains, we must love ourselves enough to let go.
The person we love may be lost in the dark, but that is not where we live. We cannot stay here, perched on the edge, fighting with all our might to pull our loves out of the dark. We live in the light, basking in its warmth, knowing that even on the cloudiest days, the sun is sure to shine again. And while we may look back toward the dark, hoping to one day see the person we love taking that first tentative step toward the light, we know we cannot stay here.
Life happens in the light and as hard as it may be to let them go, we deserve to live.
I have chosen to let go—but not of the love. That I will carry with me always. I have chosen to move forward with the hope that one day, the person I love will find the courage to look through the dark. That they will one day be sitting quietly looking toward the east as the first glimpse of the morning sun makes its way over those impenetrable mountains. My hope is that in that moment they feel the warmth on their face, as the sun bathes the sky, and it is then that they know, today is a new day.
My hope is that it is in that moment, with the sun on their face and love in their heart, they are finally ready to embrace what that new day may bring.