joyful girl

we owe each other the world. the world owes us nothing.

109001159437428605 July 16, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — amyjoyfox @ 4:47 pm

been thinking lately about how impossible it is to truly know someone – no matter how tightly bound we are to another, they will never cease to surprise us – often, to disappoint us.  but we each have that capacity for disappointing others as well.  thus, the need for grace….
“…love is not a victory march.  it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah…” (leonard cohen?)
don’t worry – everything is going great.  but i’ve just been thinking a lot about c.s. lewis’ assertion that joy and grief are all part of the same thing…
thoughts, anyone?


10 Responses to “109001159437428605”

  1. chelsea Says:

    agreed. and isn’t that jeff buckley?

  2. amy Says:

    jeff buckley’s version is my favorite, but he covered it. i think the original was cohen…

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The original was Cohen.

    Can I believe that there are no perfect unions on earth, that there will always be shadows and blurry vision here, without being labeled a cynic? If so, then I am no cynic. I think we have to take relationships for what they are and can be, and be careful not to blame relationships for not being what they are not and cannot be. That is to say: the love we experience on earth is not imperfect love, it is only the love we experience on earth, and it is very good as itself. Love in heaven, with no shadows and blurs (if in fact that is what love in heaven will be), will not be a perfected version of the love we experience on earth but a wholly different and greater thing. Blaming earth-love for not being heaven-love is like blaming rabbits for not being dogs. A rabbit may make a very poor dog, but it can still be a very good rabbit indeed.

    Re: the previous post: Long novels by Russians, while often moving and beautiful, are known to repeatedly quash the reading momentum of even the best-intentioned. May I recommend: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon, just out in paperback.


  4. Gail Says:

    A year or two ago, I had the opportunity of going to a Seder dinner. As the rabbi was serving the wine during dinner, he said that wine, like life, is a mixture of the bitter and the sweet. Although I’ll have to take his word for it since I don’t drink, he said that the good and the bad together is what makes the wine delicious. All that goes into our lives, whether we understand it or not and whether we like it or not, is what makes it worthwhile. He also said that the bad parts make the sweet parts that much sweeter.
    His words stuck with me because I had just seen the movie Shadowlands for one thing, and I was dealing with some difficult circumstances in my own life for another. I wasn’t sure whether I agreed with him, so I kept mulling over whether the risk of pain made the joy worthwhile. The answer I came to for myself was a resounding yes. For me, it is better to know deep, dark pain and yet embrace life with all its fullness and joys than to risk nothing and live an incomplete, broken life that isn’t really life at all.
    Your post also made me think about C.S. Lewis’ book Till We Have Faces even though I have no idea how that ties in with the joy/pain issue. I think this book has a lot of lessons, but the biggest thing I got out of it is that we think we love people perfectly and completely, but even the very best human love falls short.

  5. Chica,

    You’re right.

  6. Jeni Says:

    Fred-that was a beautiful comment

    Amy-dear-thanks for reminding me of that amazing line.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. amy Says:

    oops. i accidentally deleted that last comment. here it is again:
    “people can only disappoint us if we have placed on them our own expectations of how they should be. true love does not place expectations on others, and so disappointment in others is not an option. (this is not the same thing as believing the best about others, believing in them and having faith in them to be their best) disappointment is a problem in the disappointed only, not in the one who “caused” the disappointment. it is an indication that we are not loving as we ought. it is an indication that our love is flawed, not the other person.”

    in response, i absolutely agree that we are flawed in our loving. that’s human nature. in perfect love we don’t place expectations, but i’m pretty convinced by now that there is no such thing as perfect human love. so the fact is, as hard as we might try to not place expectations on people, we will ultimately do that, resulting in our disappointment when those expectations aren’t met, or disappointment in ourselves when we don’t meet the expectations of another. i’m not saying this is the way it should be, but it is the way it is.
    on expectations, though, i think there is a time and a place for them. for example, i don’t think it is wrong for me to place the expectation on daniel that he will keep the vows of faithfulness he makes to me next month, just as i don’t think it is imperfect love for him to expect me to keep my vows to him. those vows are asking for the other to have expectations…

  9. Anonymous Says:

    just as clarification…I hope I don’t come across as attacking or nit-picking your post. I’m just trying to be all zen-buddhist like in my conjectures. I try to sound like Merton or Nouwen (at lest in tone…I have no delusions as to my capacity for that kind of wisdom). I realize anonymous writing can be read in a way different than written (usually is). anyway…

    in response, I think what I’m still hung up on is probably just a matter of semantics, wording. but I think it’s a fairly important one, in that it reflects the way we think about these things. I think a better way of saying it is: I will often be dissapointed in others, and others have the capacity for being disappointed in me. I cannot “make” you disappointed in me, only you can choose that response to whatever it is that I do. the important thing is to realize that you can choose another response as well. I feel that “disappointment” and love are incongruent with each other. and yes, I believe this goes for your vows as well. what you are expecting is perfection, at least in this one area of keeping the vows. I don’t think you can expect that (btw, this isn’t your fiance’ writing this!). my question is, what will your response be if he does break the vows? you might want to decide that before it happens, decide do you love him unconditionally, or do you love him for his ability to meet your expectations (which are only yours in the last analysis)? as you said, we all love imperfectly as humans. I agree. but let’s recognize that as our problem, not the other’s (when they do something to “disappoint” us). also think about that for a second – we love imperfectly as humans. yet you “expect” your spouse to love perfectly in at least this one area (as though it were exempt from human imperfection). I think “Hope” is a better lens through which to look at others than “expectation” is.

    I think of my younger brother, who is the one person on this earth I know I would die for if needed, no question, no hesitation. I cannot imagine anything he could say or do that would have me wanting to make him feel bad for what he’s done. no shaking of the head making “tsk tsk” noises to make clear my disappointment and disapproval. I see no love in that kind of response. I would want to work through whatever is going on inside him to understand the “why’s”, to see if I could help him out of whatever mental or emotional or spiritual funk he may be in (out of which he acts thus), but the point, the focus, is always about HIM, restoring him to health, to wholeness of mind and spirit, and not about me and how “hurt” I may have been. with regards to the one person I love the most, my hurt is irrelevant to me, as far as it concerns my reflection of that hurt back onto the one who hurt me.

    forgive my rantings. but you asked! (thoughts, anyone?)

  10. Anonymous Says:

    p.s. – I think you’re basically saying the same thing here, when you say “thus the need for grace”. I think it’s just a matter of being clear on who needs the grace, and why. it’s like at the end of “Almost Famous”, when the daughter is reunited with the mother. there is an awkward moment of silence, and an akward hug, at which point the mother says “I forgive you”… and the daughter, bewildered, says “I didn’t apologize”.

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