My father always said marriage was the toughest job you’ll ever love. Yeah he borrowed that line from peace corps but that doesn’t make it any less true. The idea that two people – fully formed – come together to make a single life is intense. the marriage itself is fired in work but the desire to do so is formed in love.

If you aren’t from a culture or family that believes in arranged marriages, romantic love is the tie that binds. People always say love is the easy part…but they forget how much work it takes, not the falling in love, but finding it. All the missteps and mistakes we make fumbling through the dark.

When I was in college I had my first encounter with love…in retrospect, it wasn’t love in the reciprocal fashion…I simply learned how to love. Learned it was possible to think of someone before myself. To want to give all of myself. I called it, he called, we called it love…but in truth I think there should be another word for the unrequited . I think love is a circuit and the other person has to participate for it be complete.

After him came my first true love. A man who approved of me flaws and all…a human fallible blue kind of love that still resonates with me.

Then there came the heartbreak. The kind of love that is cruel at times. That hurts your feelings because being vulnerable is hard and scary. Because the way isn’t clearly mapped. Sometimes loving teaches us to retreat. To not trust. To surface skim instead of deep dive into someone because you might run out of breath or see something frightening or…we don’t know the other ors so we  stay in the shallow end after the heartbreak. After we learn that love can hurt.

My last love was all grown up. Aware of the potential pitfalls we held our noses and dove in. running out of breath, we held on tighter and swam deeper and discovered pockets of air that let us breathe. Saw scary things that turned out to be beautiful. And it was easy. Like everyone says, it was easy. But love isn’t the whole story. So in this incarnation I learned that sometimes love is letting go…slow and painful…saying goodbye because goodbye is best.

Part of me wonders if there are finite loves in the world. One or four or maybe 30 out of  six billion for each of us. Put in that context it seems ridiculous but who knows. I hope I haven’t used mine up, like some genie’s wishes, all exhausted on the front end of my life. Gazing at all the married and coupled friends I have, I hope I haven‘t.

I hope my next round teaches me that final love lesson. The complete circuit without cruelty that dives to the deepest depths and never says goodbye. Yeah, I’m still hoping against four in six billion for that one.

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3 Comments on 4 in 6 billion

  1. Lizzie says:

    I’ve always thought you were one of the bravest people I have ever met, now I am positive that you are!

  2. sza says:

    InshaAllah! It’s the only phrase i know that echos your hope with my hope for you that you find you #4. You do know that that is what we’ll call him.

  3. Linnea says:

    i’m looking for #5…if there are only 4 i’m screwed! LOL!

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