I think we all know what that emotion feels like. The way it clenches up our stomach in a vise as we contemplate walking up to that door. As we consider what to say and each step closer brings us inexorably to the Black Gates of Doom, the way the sweat starts catching us under the collar of our shirt and tie. Then we knock on those gate of gloom and darkness and...lo and behold! It's not some dark lord of evil and you're not about to be destroyed.
In case you're still confused, I'm referring to the experience of being in love. Hope that's clear enough.
But there's more to it than that. Venerable Fulton Sheen said "Love does not mean to have, it means to be had; it is the giving of oneself for another."
I combine that phrase with that of my parents, who have always said, love is a choice and gift of giving. Being in love is a beautiful thing but the choice of love is one we too often decide not to make. We hesitate, we refuse or we turn away out of hurt and fear.
That's a mistake, just letting you know. You have to give.
If you don't offer yourself, if you cannot give yourself, then take a minute and consider what that means. Because love isn't about the feeling but about the giving.
And we all want to give ourselves I think. We want to give ourselves to another person and find our sacrifice warranted, our love returned. But sometimes the answer we reply back is a no, it's the answer which cuts the most. And maybe you're wrong, I've certainly been wrong before, but at least you made the choice.
Regardless of what the choice is, it is always a mistake to not make it. We have to step forward into life and love and truth and that involves choices. Sometimes we're going to make the wrong decision, we're going to screw up and that's going to hurt like hell and mess with your head.
But take solace in the fact every single person on this planet right now has done the exact same thing as you. They've made a mistake they've screwed up and gone astray.
It's not about messing up though. It's about getting back up, rising from the ashes and mud of your mistakes to something better.
J.R.R. Tolkien has this great line where he is talking about grief, about loss and mistakes. He says sometimes grief only makes things more beautiful and more powerful. More lovely.
Your mistake doesn't define you as horrible, cold, or an emotional wreck (been there and done that), but rather it confirms and reinforces the greatest fact of all.
You care about people enough to worry, enough to fret and enough to feel something. So you made a choice, maybe like me you made the wrong one, the one God never intended you to make and you want to cry out to the Heavens above in anguish.
Well If you're like me, I just want to say what I always say to myself: suck it up, buttercup.
Life is about choices, about mistakes and about glory. We're all messed up and we're all having a tough time but it's about how we use that to make the world a better place. And just remember this too, every choice we make, good or bad, will be perfected by God.
C.S. Lewis, another of my favourite intellectual giants, always said whatever we people do God will make it good.
So live and follow your gut. Be brave and bold. Be raw and be real. That's the only advice I have, and it's not even my own, but that of a dear friend.
Pax to you all.