"Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith.
The trust part comes later."
~ Man of Steel, 2013
I have never really been much of a dater. Rather it seemed like I found myself in relationships that grew out of friendships or intense connections on meeting. No real intentional pursuing occurred, we were just... together. And that was the context for getting to know one another.
So after ending my last more serious relationship I decided I wanted to date – to be taken out; to be wined and dined; to slow the process of getting to know someone before adding the label of relationship to it. Well let me say it has been an interesting 2 years of occasional dating. Of learning and growing. Of loneliness and adventure. Of intrigue and disappointment.
I found my inner cynic and bruised heart often led the way, holding the walls pretty tight and high in most cases. Not letting anyone in too deep, not letting myself out too far. My standards and expectations impossibly set. Looking for that one person who will be able to see through brick and mortar; who will bring out the sledge hammer; who will patiently yet insistently challenge me to open up a window – convincing me that love is possible; that love is worthwhile; that love is beautiful...
Impossibly high standards and expectations.
It's a funny thing that happens when the lonely, bruised heart encounters someone of intrigue. Someone who maybe uses a pick axe rather than a sledge hammer to coax a crack in the walls to peer through. Someone who seems at first glance and from a distance to offer a view of love that is beautiful. But in those moments of initial excitement I think it is sometimes too easy to forget that this one too is only human. That at some point this one too is bound to do something that disappoints; that hurts; that causes pause, doubt, question, and left-over mortar to repair the cracks.
Sometimes I found myself waiting with mortar already in hand, for that moment of humanness to appear. To be able to point the finger and say, “See? I told you this would happen again.”
...But in those moments of initial excitement I think it is too easy to forget that I too am only human. That at some point I too am bound to do something that disappoints; that hurts; that causes pause, doubt, question, and maybe even left-over mortar to repair the cracks. For I am not the only one who builds protective walls...
I remember standing in a public place one day not so long ago listening to a friend talk about waiting for that moment of humanness to appear. And I asked her, can you accept the fact that one day it will? Can you accept the fact that one day he will disappoint; hurt; cause pause, doubt and question? Can you accept that this is very likely inevitable at some point in the relationship, no matter how long or short? But that does not mean he does not care. That does not mean the relationship is over.
A by-stander over heard this moment of insight that I do not know the origins of, and softly murmured “Wow, that's deep. This girl's good!” My friend smiled and said, “Yeah, she is!”
Here is yet another moment where I need to start taking my own advice. To lower my expectations to the level of my own humanness, allowing for this in others. Allowing for the beauty that is human fallibility – the grace, acceptance, forgiveness, and love that can be found in the disappointment; the hurt; the pause, doubt, and question. The learning, growth, and deeper connection that can be found – whether with the self and/or with each other; whether the relationship survives or not.
If I can accept that disappointment, hurt, pause, doubt and question are a part of relationships – are a part of life – though hopefully not in the same measure as joy, success, intrigue, connection, confidence, and love... If I can accept that none of those things are a guarantee for the failure nor success of a relationship – of life – then in some ways they all become less scary of a risk to take and more of the growth and excitement and beauty that is the journey of love, of relationships – of life.