15 March, 2011

Living by Example

“The power of Anger” – Molly’s title jumped from my computer screen this morning. 

I read the first parts of the post and found myself empathizing.  I  have been there; been involved in a mutual agreement only to find that the other party changed his mind and neglected to clue me in on that change.  I know the anger that she might have felt or something similar.  And, like her, my anger is quick the flair and ends just as it started. 

The point of her post was not about the anger though – it was about the love that anchors. 

Molly and her ex-husband are friends.  Both seemingly understand why their marriage ended and yet neither have the desire to have a divorced/co-parenting relationship that is filled with anger, hostility, or aggression.  Molly writes that they state their continued love for one another frequently.  Not love as in the romantic love – but love as in love .  That latter love being durable and unconditional and something of which we are all capable and yet we deny ourselves .

Generally speaking, Americans have a notion of love that is more about belonging or owning… about insecurity.  The idea that we give love to one person and only one person and they can only give it back to us and there is no room for anyone else because to love another is to diminish the love or potentially end the relationship. 

I have tried to understand this idea. 

It has yet to make sense to me. 

Reading Molly’s words, I am frequently reminded of my own ideas.  Despite all the water under the bridge and the challenges weathered, I freely voice that I love my daughter’s father.  This means that I care what happens to him, I wish him happiness and peace, I respect his boundaries, accept him for all that he is and isn’t…. and I accept and embrace the role that he plays in my life and my daughter’s.  Does it mean anything romantic…No.  It is the love I have for people, for dear friends who have moved on, and for those who have touched my life . 

And it is an emotion that is mine to give.  Perhaps it is selfish as I feel that I would suffer more to deny that love or repress it than to state it and share it?

But it is because I have this softened heart toward him that I can tell my daughter stories; that I can feel compassion for her and empathize with her; and that I am open to working with him over working against him. 

I would like to say that I enjoy a friendship with him as Molly describes, but I don’t. 

I don’t know too many who have a relationship like Molly describes.  I do believe, however, it is possible.  It just takes two to be open to the potential. 

I am raising my daughter to see, as Molly and her ex seemingly illustrate – that love is love.  It doesn’t mean romance or territory or property.  It doesn’t mean everyone is happy and smiling all the time.  It doesn’t even mean that people see one another or live together or get along.  We give love because it is who we are.  This isn’t an easy lesson for a child just as it isn’t always easy for adults.  But it is a lesson that I model the best I can. 


Molly @ Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said...

This is beautiful. It's fascinating to have someone parse your own piece. I hadn't thought about the kind of love that we share. You are so right, though, that only a notion of "one love" would preclude me from continuing to love my ex while still being able to have a new romantic partner.

Thanks for your kind words. I'm going to link this to my piece.

LesleyG said...

And what a huge lesson to not only demonstrate, but talk about. Love is powerful if we act on it more than fear, anger, etc. That's the only way.

Belinda said...

Isn't Molly wonderful? She's the first blogger I've read to speak positively of her ex.

And to your point about love being more than romantic, I've written about this and hope to continue to do so as I think it is important to remember. Contrary to what Hollywood and advertising will have us know, love is so so much more than between two people who want to spend their lives together.

Great post, TE.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. you've expressed it so well here .. and I'll be over to read Molly's piece .. love is for all .. one and all

Absolutely and so applies to each and every family member and friend regardless of the situation - thank you for reminding me ..

We learn so much from friends' blogs .. things we might not see in our normal world .. ie might not think about, or have our attention to drawn to aspects ... and they come in all sorts of ways ..

Cheers to you both .. Hilary

a li'l bit squishy said...

I think about the notion of love often. I have many friends, female and male and how I feel about each of those people does not negate how I feel about the other or how I feel about the person I have chosen to most directly share my life with. That's all: that one love does not negate another. All that other shit that people bring into the equation is about trust. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I popped over vis Molly's link.

Sara said...

TE -- This is powerful post and one I will thinking about for awhile. I think you are absolutely right that we don't often see the variations in love and the types of love.

I'm pleased that you are teaching your daughter to see the many striations and varieties of love:~)