Sunday, 9 May 2021

Learning to Love Someone - Utter Dependence on God

I have not blogged in a very long while but there is something coming up for me since January 2021 that has set me on a very unusual, unpredictable, unexpected, unplanned and very challenging journey. It entails learning to love.

Fr Chris Soh, SJ said before, "Love is effortful." I cannot agree more.


Loving an intimate other is a whole different experience from loving a group of everyone else. Perhaps, this marks a huge difference between the married and lay single / religious vocation. Loving an intimate other naturally desires for the other to reciprocate the love and it is very specific. We hope and desire from this person what we do not in the same way hope and desire from any other person.

But as with all human relationships, we cannot control anyone other than ourselves. No matter how much we want the other to love us in return, there is absolutely so much we can do to try to win that love. And even if we have won that love, there is no certainty of securing that love for the rest of our lives. 

When something shakes the foundation of a relationship - an argument, a hurtful comment, a selfish decision - and working things out together between the couple is not a mutual decision of commitment, how? When two hearts are not beating as one, when they are not quite on the same page, and the future of the relationship so tremendously dear to you is bleak and at times even hopeless, how? 

Pain, heart-wrenching pain, insecurities, uncertainties, more pain, fear, anxiety... 

Whether or not we dare to admit, we are after all only humans - limited, finite. The more I fight this truth instead of accepting it with humility, the harder I try to "fix" things, the messier things get, the more exhausted I feel, the less "natural" things are, and ultimately, what do I get? The same dead-end; I face the same human limitation that renders me helpless in the face of an independent other I cannot control. 

The only one then who I can now depend on after acknowledging my helplessness is God. If there's anyone who can pave out a way I cannot pave out, it is God. If there's anyone who can, in short, help the situation, mend the brokenness, it is God. No one else. 

God alone knows best. He loves us more than anyone can possibly love us. If the relationship is His will, then all we need to do is to hand it over to Him, to entrust it to His love and provision, to beg Him to do for us what we in our limited powers cannot do. And discern where God is leading us, listen and follow His lead, trusting that whatever the outcome may be, it will be the best for each of us. It may be the best only upon hindsight 10 years later, who knows! But what I can say is that if it is a relationship God blesses, I know and have witnessed Him making a way where there really seemed to be no way. 

The question then is... 

How personal and deep is our relationship with God that allows us to surrender to His loving providence? And if we don't know God enough to trust Him this much, perhaps this is the starting point - deepening this relationship through prayer, contemplation, perhaps even with the help of a trained spiritual director. 

Utter dependence on God.
May God give us the grace to truly be poor in spirit so as to be rich in Christ. 

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