February 24, 2014

The Circle

As I write this, my fiancée, Denise, is reading over something else I wrote, marking it up. She’s got a big black pen (no red pens on hand at the moment) and she’s even doing some rewriting. It’s a little nerve wracking. But I also know that she loves me, and she likes my writing. Even if she hates the thing I wrote this time, that won’t change.

I worry sometimes about what others think of me. Sometimes I worry a lot about this, especially when I’m expressing opinions or jokes on social media, or sharing my writing, which, inevitably, not everyone will love. If they don’t like what I write or say, does that mean they won’t like me?

Well, sometimes, yes. That’s part of being a human being, I have to remember. We can’t and won’t get along with everybody (which is easy to say and harder to remember). Even in our communities, we’re not all always going to get along.

But often, someone can criticize what you write, what you do, the way you say something, without damaging his or her relationship with you. Sometimes, criticism is the result of love, of a friend or loved one’s knowledge that you can do better.

I sometimes think of love as a circle. Just because we might occasionally give each other a good kick, doesn’t mean we’ve fallen out of the circle. Just because we might fight and argue and disagree, doesn’t mean we have to throw somebody out of the circle.

Lots of things can happen in the circle, unpleasant conversations and actions that hurt. We might even need to stay at opposite sides of the circle for awhile, but if we can have these painful interactions in the knowledge that we are bonded by love, that we live within the circle of community, they don’t have to break our relationships.

I am so very grateful to live in the love I share with Denise. I am grateful that I can tell her the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable or painful, and she can do the same for me, and we can know that we are still living in love, that every conversation, every good moment and bad, takes place in love.