Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If You Won't Let Me Love You, At Least Take This Pillow

Is love any different than just plain sympathy?
I'm beginning to notice the kinds of moments that make me feel in love. I think every time I see some one suffer a little, but willingly, i all a little bit in love.

But I have to see the suffering, and the person must be silent about it. No complaints. Like when a person gets up at 4 in the morning to drive me to the air port and they yawn and say "oh, it's fine" but I can see it in their face, when they don't think i'm looking, that pitiful, bleary-eyed face that seems to look forward at the street lights and ask "am i dying?"

It's not necessarily suffering in the service of kindness that makes me fall a little bit in love either. The pure act of holding one's temper--that makes me fall a bit in love. Because, well, it can feel so. damn. good to lose your temper, can't it? It's like a relief and sometimes holding it in is suffering.

My poor boss at work today had to explain something to me about ten times, and it was the end of the day, and everyone was leaving, but I just couldn't get a hold on the concept. And he would just give me a tired smile and say "ok" and begin again. And I just wanted to hug him.

I think it is my instinct to fill in the comfort that he didn't provide or take for himself at that moment. Offering a little soft pillow when he was willing to do everything the hard way.

"Marry someone who is kind" is my professor's advice. Kindness, true kindness, tends to look just like suffering. I mean honestly--being being, spiteful, condescending, temperamental--that's easy! It is absolutely no struggle to be those things. No struggle means no suffering.

Kindness requires suffering, and I think our impulse (or at least mine) to love feels about the same as sympathy.


  1. Yes, love the world for their kindness but don't fall in love for that alone especially if it is born of pity. Love someone you can respect and hold in esteem. Love someone of good character. And whatever you do, love yourself the most and keep a little bit of that hidden just for you...

  2. What a wonderful post. Very insightful. Selfless service is the ultimate kindness. I think that was wonderful advice your professor gave you. Someone kind is very important.

    I liked the above comment as well. Loving yourself is the most important. Otherwise you might settle. No settling!

    Thank you so much for all your kind hearfelt comments. I do appreciate them.

  3. Yes, fantastic post, and beautifully written. This line: 'that pitiful, bleary-eyed face that seems to look forward at the street lights and ask "am i dying?"' was just breathtaking to me. I also love your insight...so apparently it's word skill and introspection that makes me fall in love a little. Though I'm also a sucker for suffering. ;)

  4. I loved this post and the message from your professor. Struggling to be kind...it is so true. It's too easy to be cruel, and such a shame at that.

  5. That must be why I love myself so fricking much, all the suffering. For me it has been easier to be kind than cruel. There are times I'd like to be cruel but I won't let myself, nor would I feel very good afterwards if I had gone ahead and allowed my negativity. The old "we are all on this Ship of Fools together" bit. Empathy goes hand in hand with kindness, I believe. When I've used my "runes" in the past, one statement has come up over and over, and that has been: Don't suffering over your suffering. I do that sometimes. But what do I know? Lovingkindness and interdependence, holding onto self respect and loving who you know yourself to be, then allowing the other the same privilege.

  6. This is so true. You really get little impact if that someone did something kind, especially when they are sacrificing something. That is one factor of loving someone truly or at most, unconditionally, love is a huge part of us.