Last dance

Last dance

I came across this post by Peter Rollins and it struck a chord with me, bringing me back to the days when I was consumed by the love I had for something which may have never been real.

As adults we have all kinds of interests, desires and hobbies. If we meet someone we fall in love with that person will often take pleasure in these things either through direct participation or indirect encouragement. This is a truly wonderful experience because it enables us to experience the things we already enjoy in a fresh and vibrant way. They are no longer simply things we do because we like them but become things we do because we see how they bring pleasure to the one that we love. Perhaps I always liked going for walks by the ocean. But now that I have someone who takes pleasure in me doing that, and who perhaps accompanies me, I appreciate those walks so much more.

It feels like the one we love has given us the gift of the things we already had. As if they were the originators of that which preceded them. For they give us the radiant gift of enjoying what we already liked or, to put it another way, embracing who we already are. What we feel is most within us (our deepest desires) are now experienced as being graciously bestowed upon us.

There is then an inescapable danger connected to love. For if our beloved walks away they end up taking more than any physical possessions. They take away the interests and desires that were once naturally ours. We can see this in the life of someone who loses a person that means everything to them. In the aftermath of that loss the individual struggles to want or desire anything. All the things that used to make their life meaningful are now drained of color and seem meaningless. Not simply those activities that they used to share with their beloved, but also the things that they enjoyed doing before their beloved took centre stage.

Hence the profound danger of love: the one we desire above all else has the power to take away our ability to desire anything at all.

For a time I thought I was incapable of giving myself so freely and fully to anything or anyone else anymore. That was you. You took everything away from me, and even though you wanted none of it, you never hesitated to dangle it in my face before wrenching it away again. And now here I am — permanently damaged, but slowly, optimistically patching myself up as best as I can. I don’t do the things that we used to do together anymore, and, as this excerpt has just made me realize, I have no desire to do any of it again.

That dance is over.

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