“Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” – Olaf, Frozen
When I used to sing at weddings, the bridal couples would ask me to sing a cover of I Will Always Love You. It amazed me, because anyone who read or listened carefully to the lyrics would know that it’s a song of farewell. But it also didn’t surprise me, because most people fixate on the title and hear what they want to hear. So I would suggest to the brides and grooms that they read the lyrics and then come back and tell me if they still wanted me to sing that song at their wedding.
Thankfully, most of them didn’t. The remaining few who were resolute probably had guests who didn’t understand much English anyway.
Lately I’ve come to relate more and more to the song, because it speaks of a love so powerful and so altruistic that only the truly strong can genuinely feel it. And I would wonder if there would ever come a time when I could be strong enough to feel a love like that. Now, it appears, I have no choice.
The last 17 months, and especially the past 12 weeks, have been nothing but a learning curve — a fluid, volatile learning curve that grew exponentially with the lessons I had been forced to learn. While the lessons were priceless, I have to wonder if the pain that came with the experience was worth it. To know a love so consuming, so profound, only to have to give it up inevitably. To have met the one person who fits you in every single way but one, only to have to walk away from them eventually. To have experienced what was the closest you could ever get to the perfect relationship, only to know that there will never be another one like it.
What makes that kind of pain worth it?
I could be a romantic and say that being loved by this man the way he loves me makes the pain worth it. I could be worldly and say that the lessons he taught me — that there can be so much more to life than the hand I’ve been dealt — makes the pain worth it. I could be naive and say that we were brought together for a reason, and that reason has run its course, but it makes the pain worth it. In the end, I will never know what makes that pain worth it, or if it even is worth it.
But the one thing I do know, the one thing I’ve learned above all else is that love knows no bounds. Dolly Parton (or Whitney Houston to the rest who don’t know any better) sang of a love so deep that it allowed her to leave the one person she loved most in order to set him free of his burdens, his demons and his pain, while still being able to wish him the happiness he deserves. And I truly understand now what it means to love like that, to realize that my happiness comes from making someone else happy, and I understand the difference between giving up and knowing when to walk away.