Oliver Twist is one of my favorite classics. I’m not a big fan of books we’re forced to read, but Oliver Twist is definitely an exception to this. I remember having to read it in my Honor’s English class my junior year of high school and actually missing my stop on the way home from school one day because I was so focused on the book. At the end of the year, we had to write a term paper and so, logically, I choose Oliver Twist. My thesis was simple. Or so I thought it was: “Fagin is incapable of love.” It probably comes as no surprise to people who know me that I have a soft spot for villains They are usually my favorite characters. They’re so evil, you love to hate them. My friends used to tell me I was naturally inclined to evil because I was an evil person. Love you, guys. Thanks for the encouragement, by the way. But I think I like the villains the best because I have the most hope for them. Good people can only go downhill with their decisions. But villains? Villains can change. They can become better people.
Anyway, the term paper had a limit of ten pages. Do you know how hard it is to say why someone can’t love in ten pages? I easily reached the limit and wanted to say so much more. I find it interesting, though. I couldn’t define why someone cannot love in ten pages, but the Bible (which is what I used as my source on what love is in case you were wondering) can say what love is in less than ten lines: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians).” Wow. It’s amazing that anyone can love at all, to be honest. But we can and we do. Sometimes too much. I don’t think we actually get to choose who we love. We can choose to be around them and we can choose to do things for them or not, but we don’t actually get to choose if we love them.
A friend of mine was with this guy who I was never crazy about. They dated for several years. He said he loved her, but everything else he did implied otherwise. She clearly loved him. At one point, things were really bad for them and I remember her, another friend, and myself talking one night. Well, she was rather upset because he was treating her like crap. Our friend kept insisting that she end things with him. That she deserved better and needed to get rid of him. She agreed and would say she was going to end things, but when it came down to it, she never did end it. She loved him. Unconditionally. When I first met him, I told her my opinion of him and I left it at that. If she was happy with him, she’s the one dating him, not me. I’m not good at hiding my opinion on these things, especially when people ask me about them, so I let them know and leave it there. It’s one thing to recognize you deserve better or that the person you love isn’t in love with you, but it’s a completely different story to remove yourself from the person. You care about them too much. You love them. Even when you shouldn’t.
Like I said, I don’t think we get to choose who we love. We don’t get to decide if we will have feelings for a person or not – you either do or you don’t, whether you want to or not. A good handful of my friends have been struggling with this lately. I might even include myself in that group. Ending a relationship is hard. Even if you don’t want more, not having a person who meant that much to you at some point in your life is an unbearable thought at times. Other times, you can’t believe you ever gave that person the time or day. When they are in your life, you don’t want to deal with the issues that were there. When they aren’t, you’d give anything to bring them back. I don’t mean this for only romantic relationships either. This goes for best friends, siblings, all of those other relationships.
We don’t tell people we do love who are “only” friends that we love them enough. Maybe you get sappy here and there (and alright, maybe this post is getting too sappy too), but in general, we, as a society, don’t tell the people we couldn’t live without that we couldn’t live without them on a regular basis. Maybe the value of it would die. But when you’re romantically involved, you’re supposed to say it all the time. It becomes habit – what if you leave the house and die? You never will see that person again and you want the last words you said to your loved one to be something loving and caring. But why isn’t that the same with our non-romantic relationships? We don’t get to choose those people any more than our significant others. In my opinion at least. I honestly don’t know what I’d do with myself if certain friends were no longer here. I’ve said that to past boyfriends. I think I’ve only said that to one or two of my close friends who have been there through breakups and deaths and good times too. But there are so many more people that would leave a void if they were gone. My friend John, who I blogged about in an earlier post, for one. It’ll be a year in three weeks that he left us and I never told him EXACTLY how much I loved him and cared about him. How much he meant to me. That sucks.
We should tell the people we care about that we love them. We should work to accept and actually love over bringing up past arguments or wrong-doings – it doesn’t get us anywhere. The past cannot be changed. I’ve learned that we need to accept people for who they are – their faults included. Whether it’s that easy is another story in itself, but it comes back to love. Love never fails.