Falling in love.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Falling in love.

It is rather well named, that whole process.  "Falling in love."

Falling into his arms. Falling into his gaze.  Falling into his affection.

Much like literally falling, there's really not much to it, this "falling in love".  Not much work, that is.  If you fall off the edge of a mountain, once you take that first step, there's not much left for you to do but.....fall.  And when you fall in love with someone, there's not much you have to do beyond taking that first big, scary, hesitant step of acknowledging the general idea that "Umm....I think you're incredible....beautiful even, inside and out...." and then hoping the feeling is returned.  After that first nervous step, there's not much to do but just....fall.  Not much work involved.

And just like I imagine a free fall must feel.......exhilarating and free......so feels falling in love.   The realization that someone on this planet gets you.  Really sees you.  Instinctively knows your heart before you've fully revealed it.  Knows your strengths before even you do.  Dreams your dreams with you, and somehow reshapes them and gives them clarity until it's no longer "my" dream or "your" dream but "ours."  Exhilarating.

My love story began at 15 years old.  Not an age that comes with experience or any real wisdom, but it was love nonetheless, I assure you. I would argue my naivety and youth and my never-broken, fully in tact and unscathed heart made me fall particularly hard.

I look back on that time with a sweet nostalgia.  I wouldn't trade falling in love with Jonathan for anything in the world.  It's a time I look forward to telling my kids about, when they have an interest in such things.

But as I think back on that happy time, that sweet "falling in love" time....it really doesn't compare to living out that love in real life.  Having a marriage filled with passion and love requires respect and consideration and selflessness. Consistently giving and receiving those things doesn't feel very much like falling.  No, not nearly so easy as falling.  Instead of falling off the mountain, often it feels like climbing up.

Those feelings of "He really sees me", those are still there. But at some point you realize that being seen, being known, means he knows your weakness as well as your strength.  You realize that there's no hiding your imperfections.  When your heart is revealed, the unlovely is seen right along with the lovely.  The trials and frustrations that marriage inevitably bring reveal your weaknesses whether or not you're ready to acknowledge them. You can hide anger or hurt or pride or selfishness from many people, but not from a spouse. And that loss of control can be maddening. 

It's hard work - yes.  To learn to consider another over yourself.  To freely accept love when you least deserve it, because that's when you most need it.  To give up the right to hold grudges.  To learn to give someone the benefit of the doubt. To be quick to listen and slow to speak.  It's work, certainly.  But work that yields such sweet rewards. 

So yeah....for me....climbing a mountain is a good metaphor.  Because climbing in itself isn't bad.  People do climb mountains you  know.  They do it for fun even.  They do it on purpose.  With purpose.  A goal in mind.  Maybe for some people love comes easily, and never requires any more effort than falling off a mountain.  For me, it takes a bit more work than than.

But it's not bad work.  It's a mountain climbing kind of work:

Treading lightly when required.  Being careful about where you take that next step.  Holding on with an unrelenting grip with the wind blows.  Committing to making it to the top no matter how difficult it seems sometimes.  Knowing that your strength will be tested and proven.    

I'm learning than an impasse isn't a reason to get discouraged.  It's a chance to work even harder to get beyond that impasse, knowing the perspective I'll gain on the other side will be sweet. 

I know I'm blessed beyond measure that I have a partner in this adventure who is just as committed to the climb as I am.  I recognize there are women and men who, sadly, get abandoned mid-climb. So I don't take it lightly, his commitment, and I don't take it for granted.

We're having fun on this adventure, that's for sure.  In the middle of the work and the effort and sometimes even the exhaustion, we stop to enjoy how far we've come.  To be grateful we have someone with whom to share the beautiful view.


Anonymous Anonymous had this to say:

I'm submitting this for a pulitzer! Beautiful.

Maybe real mountain climbing would make you even better at the analogous mountain climbing - come on Starr, you know you want to do it. I'll be right there with you. I can picture you clinging to a rock face with your fingertips. :)

All 3 kids asleep, excuse me while I go take in the view.


April 27, 2010 at 11:05 PM 

Blogger Kelly had this to say:


This is an especially good one, Starr!

April 28, 2010 at 9:35 AM 

Blogger Manda had this to say:

I love this post...
I too was the ripe age of 15 when I started to date my husband, now I've been with him half my life.
Crazy what falling in love can do.

Thanks for sharing your "fall". :)

April 28, 2010 at 12:21 PM 

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Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)



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