Friday, February 25, 2011

Love is Strength

  Just now, I posted a status update on facebook that read:

Kendra Forsythe always has been, is, and will be strong=)
I'm done believing anything else.

  I wrote this not because I was feeling rebellious or independent; not because I was trying to prove something to myself or anyone else. I wrote this because I have lately been coming to an important realization: Love is strength, not weakness.

  Growing up, my parents always had problems. They fought almost constantly, and although each parent tried their hardest in their own special ways to be good parents for us kids, the example that their relationship set for us hurt my perception of relationships in so many ways. I saw the pain of rejection over and over. I saw that the person doing the rejecting generally seemed to walk away from an argument unscathed while the rejected person was usually left in tears. I saw that open expression of sadness was generally met with mocking and cruel remarks. Through all of this I learned two principals that have helped to shape the way all of my relationships (both romantic and friendly) have played out for my entire life. These are: 1) Caring is weakness, and 2) Indifference is strength. As childish as it may seem, I have always felt a sense of pride in being the person sought after in any relationship. In friendships, I tried to remain cool and detached. In romantic relationships, I took pride in always being the one to end them before my partner had 'the upper hand'. In ALL my relationships, any sense of sadness and dependency was quickly converted into anger (because yelling seems so much tougher than crying, don't you think?). These habits were deeply engrained in me.

  Over this past year, I've fallen in love. I've been closer to someone than I've ever been to anyone in my life, and I have made myself vulnerable to him. There have been times over the course of the past year when I have been utterly ashamed at myself for being so 'weak', and for caring so much. There have been times when I have been hurt by things that he's done and I found myself crying and thinking, "What happened to me? I used to be so strong..." Before I go on, I will admit that I have been weak over this past year. I have made some wrong decisions that were weak decisions to make; but I'd like to emphasize that it wasn't love that weakened me. I was weak over this past year because I have a short fuse, because I had not yet learned to refrain from perceiving little things as rejection, and overall because I lacked self-control.

  But love has never made a person weak. Maybe it has motivated people to make decisions that aren't easily understood by those on the outside looking in, but it has never made a person weak. It was love that motivated Jesus Christ to lay down His own life (in a very violent and brutal way) for us. Can that be called weakness? I don't think so. The Bible says this about love:

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude.
It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  None of the Bible's description of love sounds like weakness to me. Although I cannot say that my love matches up to this standard of love completely, I can say that the more I learn to open my heart and realize that love is not a weakness, the more my love starts to look like this. The more I learn about love's true nature, the more I realize that indifference is actually weakness. It's the easy way out for people who are afraid to get hurt; for people who have seen others get hurt by love too often. This being said, I want to clarify that love DOES hurt sometimes. As I've said, I have cried over the one that I love many times. He is an imperfect human being who has done things that were insensitive or rude, or even just annoying. Again, I refer to Christ's sacrifice; we all know that being mocked and beaten and crucified was no walk in the park for Him. But He endured it all because He loves us. As countless 80's songs will testify, love hurts. However, it is worth it.

  In conclusion, I'd like to say thank you to Jacob Beam. You are my love, and the person in my life who made it worth it to open up my heart and see what real love is like =) Thank you for sticking with it, and not giving up on me, even when I've tried to be indifferent. I love you.

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