Then You Will Sing for Me
the way I sing for you
I love Tom. And for all I enjoy and cherish my newer friends (he is too, after all, a relative new-comer to my life), there is of course something unique about the love you have for your “significant other.” For me it has a yearning quality, and it consumes my thoughts often, in a way no other relationship does. It’s so easy and natural for me to muse and wonder and fret and worry over a boyfriend. That should astonish no one, though.
The nature of a new relationship, one that I very much want to succeed, makes me think about and understand certain things in a completely different light.
Even though I like meeting new friends, most of the individuals I think of as “my people”— the ones I see regularly or am very close with— I have known for years. On top of that, most of those people have known each other for years. I seldom feel like I have to explain or defend one friend to another, partly because I am not the reason they know and are having to deal with each other.
Tom and I have what seemed at first to be a surprising number of mutual acquaintances, but really, he met most of the people I consider integral to my life after we started dating (and still has yet to meet some). With him, I am the reason he knows these people. The desperate wanting I have for him to love who I love is a new feeling.
If God has feelings, it makes me wonder, is this how He feels? All these people He loves and He doesn’t just want to be in the middle of separate groups who don’t know (or even dislike) each other— but rather, a peaceful and happy unity? I hadn’t considered about it before, but it’s been my thought-topic of the week, mostly by coincidence. What creates harmony? What creates understanding?
Jared and I talked about how knowing someone’s “story” can be integral to loving them. I mentioned one we both knew, about Jen, who’d written in her diary that she didn’t think she could spend a whole year with that annoying Chris guy. And then she heard his story. And then she married him. The plot of “Avatar” is hackneyed only because it’s so true of human nature that the movie was predictable. He went in hostile, but could not betray them once he knew them.
I guess poetry is not for everyone, but well-crafted words speak deeper to me than performance or pictures or sound. It was delivered a bit hectically in the video shown at church, but the words were in time with what I’d been thinking of: To be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known.
I truly believe that every person has value, regardless of my initial or personal impression. Seeing each individual I encounter, ever, as God’s beloved works swiftly to encourage me to listen and be patient.
As an aside, apparently it is a signature of my personality type that it takes quite a while, years, to get to know an INFJ well enough that “new sides” stop emerging. I can’t say much to verify the truth of that as far as I’m concerned, but it wouldn’t surprise me based on what I know I hold back from people. Some call the INFJ archetype “The Protector,” but not until right now did I realize that I spend nearly as much energy trying to protect myself as I spend trying to protect others. For whatever reason, I seem to get emotionally hurt more easily than I objectively know I should. So then, of course I hold parts of myself back. Why wouldn’t I, when exposure almost always means anguish? I came across a quote today that answered this in the simplest way:
“Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you.
You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” —Bob Marley
Private - but I think you know....
Love the quote – and love the idea that we need to know someone’s story before we can love them.
That question/statement makes for some interesting food for thought. Can you ever really know someone? Why is it that often the people we wish to know the most, never really tell us the full story? Can we still love someone when we leave out some of the details that make us who we are? Is it knowing the story, or choosing to understand someone differently? Ahhhh, the questions of a Monday night. Thanks for a challenge.
I know that you of existentialist bent will say we can’t ever fully know someone, but I guess what I’m referring to is just up to the “threshold” of what you need to know about someone in order to empathize. Or in other words, we just need to know “enough” about some people in order to love them. And maybe not all people. Sometimes I just love a person right away and hearing their story only reinforces the affection. I think it’s when you see behaviour contrary to your own that knowing “where they’re coming from” can be helpful for bridge-building and understanding.
I like knowing someone’s story.
When I look at relationships of mine that are strong, vs. relationships of mine that are weak or didn’t work out, I can look and see “Did I know them? I mean, REALLY know them?” and lump them easily into one group or the other. If I know their story, it’s likely a strong relationship. If not, it might not be. It’s not always that way, but it’s an easy indicator.
Here’s the hypermasculine way I always framed it: “Who’s in my foxhole?” When the chips are down, and I need someone I can rely on, who do I pick to be there with me? And all the people who are in my foxhole are people whose stories I know, who I connected with and love dearly. And there are people who I’ve known for a while who aren’t in my foxhole.