Editorial by Marc Aupiais
I watch as she walks, I smile and breathe in and admire her for her beauty. Then I stop and repeat... But it is not my spouse or potential spouse, it is not even someone I know who I would be fawning over if they were here. I am watching television, watching a leading female character, knowing fully it is an illusion, but freed, knowing she does not seemingly know me, I do not need any affection returned. Granted, I believe we all truly, divinely are connected, in that way I know her, the actress that is. I also know you by that- and you, may realise you know me- and that person you pass on the street.
With my many female friends, it can be similar- I truly love them each, more deeply than a girl I once considered my girlfriend, who once considered me her boyfriend. My love for my friends is deeper and stronger and infinitely more free. I love them and sometimes tell them so. I love my other friends also, but differently than my closest friends, who are often women.
I have many friends, and very little at all in common with some. Some, no, many- I do not even know the names of- but I do care for quite a number of them- to a degree. Yet, the reason I speak of this, why I share how wonderful I find it is... to love my friends is not straight forward simple, but complex.
Jesus commands us to love one another as he loved us. I take this seriously, I greet people I do not know, I discuss, joke, laugh, smile- play socially- I enjoy this, it is as though God commanded us to eat chocolate- I love being social in a good way.
When I have been saddest- helping others was my deepest cure. When I am heartbroken- loving others is a cure, when sad or hurt. When I do not love for a while- I feel stale, repressed, ugly, depressed.
I find now, as I said in the beginning, that I do not need love returned- though it hurts when it isn't. I am not then after romance- but also that to love properly, I must be loved in return. A friend is a person who let's us love them, who we let love ourselves.
So you may well seek attention and love, but I seek to give attention, confidence and love.
You may seek help- I seek to help. You may seek praise- I seek people who deserve my praise.
I take joy in loving, and naturally loving truthfully.
When I learnt to love, I found it was painful- but then, I learnt to love in pain and beyond it- to care should I not be cared for; empathise when painful. It is freeing. I do love deepest those who love me, these I would fight to protect. My affection and loyalty are not one and the same- but I find that the best love can well feel pain and go past it. The best love refuses to be taken advantage of unjustly, refuses to become a tool, or object, or be abused evilly.
I do chose to love, and to manifest love and channel it within, to those I deeply love.
So- in Christ, I have become the opposite of what I once was. I need friends, loyalty, love, hope, kindness- but I seek also to give these first. I want to marry a perfect woman one day- and so I learn perfection for her- what better test of preparedness for the Sacrament than learning to be a perfect, true- genuinely true friend? Oddly, if one seeks to be honest, and if one allows themselves to justly empathise, and see the world rightly- love comes for those we love; and we rejoice at their love. Every relationship is subject to God, and he determines their end. In this I trust others sometimes- but only as much as is wise.
My friends matter to me. I see their fate as intertwined with mine, their web connected to mine. What happens to them- I feel to happen to me. Yet, to my acquaintances I am kind and just if able- or at least just.
I am not as fortunate to have love returned (my deep desire), as I am to love deeply. I may go out of my way naturally- for my friends and my God- but that I may is a gift mostly to me.
I am fortunate to have learnt to love- to change and become someone else- who encompasses my essence. I may be weak, I may not be perfect, but I can love- and love is infinite and eternal. I encourage you, yes- you- to learn the same. To take the risk and care... Hurt, and care all the more: rejoicing for the pain is pleasure in unconditional true love!
Learn to be a good friend! As I hope to one day become!