I used to love people mostly for their potential. For that light I saw behind the drawn curtains, for the genius beating under the bullshit and ego, for the next, the almost, the if only.
I thought this made me kind, or insightful, or special.
It made me terrible.
It made me wish change upon everyone I loved. Good change, sure, but what business of mine was that? How do you love someone not for who they are, but for who you think they should be, could be, may become someday? Not well, let me tell you. Not presently.
When I met the woman who is now my wife, she was struggling with some pretty serious auto-immune disorder symptoms. I knew enough about myself by then to know that I could not love her with the hope that she would get “better.” I had to love her as she was, or not at all.
I still love potential. I still love looking ahead and dreaming of what can be, especially with the people I love. But now I also love the now. And I love the process of growth, not just its ends.
This is the long-game of living: to love the making of a life more than the products of that life. To be so fully that the self, the life, blossoms of its own momentum.
This reminds me of a beautiful poem by Timothy Liu. Here it is:
The Tree that Knowledge Is
I do not want to die. Not for love.
Nor a vision of that tree I cannot
recollect, shining in the darkness
with cherubim and a flaming sword.
All my life that still small voice
of God coiled up inside my body.
The lopped-off branch that guilt is
is not death. Nor life. But the lust
that flowers at the end of it.