Sunday, November 1, 2015

"you don't belong to me…"

"You belong to me,
you belong, you belong,
you belong to me..."

No, not anymore. Not really ever.  But there were so many years when I thought that having someone belong to me was the essence of true love. To be mine exclusively. To be my husband, my daughter, my friend. Carly Simon's "You Belong to Me," was my anthem.

I played it loud.  I sang along with it on car trips. It was my weapon of choice -- I fought with it, coiled in my heart's back pocket. I wept to it in the shower. I believed it was my right to hold on.  What was I thinking?

For all those years, if you had asked me if thought I understood the nature of Love, I would have said, "yes."  But, it took having all that I loved wrenched from my death grip, to discover that Love doesn't possess -- it surrenders. Love doesn't seek to own. Love doesn't need to control. Love trusts.

For such a long time, the penultimate model of human love was knowing that someone belonged to me, and to me only. To be in an exclusive relationship meant I was special. But I have learned that true love is inclusive, not exclusive. Love never leaves anyone out. Everyone belongs in the all-embrace of true love, not to others.

My daughters have taught me more about inclusive, all-expansive, surrendering love than any other one thing in my life. From the get-go, as an adoptive mom, I've had to surrender any possessiveness -- any sense of them being "my daughters." They have always been our daughters -- their birthmother, their dad -- and, eventually, their step-mom and step-dad.  And that was only the beginning.  They have beloved friends, coaches, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, counselors.  Rather than them belonging to me, I belong with them in this incredible sense of family.

In fact, just when I begin to think that we have the family tree trimmed into another neat shape, it grows new branches, sprouts new leaves overnight.  And what I am discovering is that we will never be a neat, trim little bonsai tree.  We are messy and wonderful.  We belong to a constantly unfolding, ever-expanding family of love.  I've long-since thrown the tree-trimming tools in the dumpster. 

The world is constantly parading a version of love in front of us that is full of ownership and possessiveness.  Some of those traditions, provisions, and contracts of partnership are beautiful and practical.  But they don't give us the right to enslave one another.

I remember well the day that God answered my prayers for help in "fixing" a relationship I'd clung to for dear life.  His message to me was:

"Do you love him enough, 
to let him go?" 

The answer was immediate. I did.  And so, I did.  I let go.  Since then, actively letting go of "owning" the people, places, and things that I love, has been the most perfect sense of living in grace for me.  

Letting go has also given me the gift of an infinite, and eternal, sense of love.  A love that is not based on sharing time or proximity of space -- but a love that is fully defined by what I hold dearly in consciousness.  This is where love is timeless, invulnerable, and fearless.  I can't help but remember what Paul says in Scripture:  

"neither height, nor depth, 
nor any other creature can separate 
us from the love of God..." 

This is the love that I seek in myself -- to love the way that God loves.  To love without permission, and without condition.  A love that, as Mary Baker Eddy states in  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

"cannot be deprived 
of its manifestation or object." 

I cannot be deprived of it, because it was never "mine," never owned, never personally possessed. 

Lately I've been working to change my language when it comes to love.  Rather than referring to the girls and Jeff as my daughters or my husband, I am using their names.  These small shifts have allowed me to step back from everything passing through the filter of "my" relationship with them, into a larger sense of their relationship with God and their world

Rather than thinking of this as my home or my town, I have been thinking of it as a wonderful place that I am blessed to share with my family, friends, and neighbors.

Today I realized that I no longer want someone to belong to me.  I want each of us to belong to God, and to the vastness of His infinite, eternal love for all of us.  

with all my love -- and with Love,


No comments:

Post a Comment