The greatest problem is not embracing the one(s) you need to have

a crowd of love

“…it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems—the ones that make you truly who you are—that you’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person—someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, this is the problem I want to have.”  Galway Kinnell

Anything/anyone we love, acknowledge and bring into our lives becomes a responsibility. What we love demands our time, attention and patience. It requires effort and flexibility. We have to share our blanket and our ice cream, our free time and maybe even our favorite chair. Whether it’s a person, a hobby, work we want to do, a pet or a child, it will be part of our life and our space, its soul will require our presence, and putting it out by the gate when we’re tired or cranky isn’t an option.

What we love will delight and reward us beyond our dreams, but will inevitably bring its own demands with occasional irritating persistence. It will interrupt. It will create awkward moments. It will make us imagine expectations, and create misunderstandings.

What we love will sustain our freedom but also ask that we remain vulnerable, honest and curious. It will force us to be mindful and self-aware, protective and occasionally worried.

So yes, it could be said that anything/anyone we love, acknowledge and bring into our lives is going to complicate things. Dare we call it a ‘problem’ then? Yes, a problem indeed…a fortunate one. Just look at what a happy, simple life full of love is like: it’s crowded with love and happiness, and the sources of both. All of them complications, and fortunate ‘problems’. Because these sources need to be included, considered, watered, fed…they need kisses and smiles and sometimes will even slam a door and disagree and get all grumpy and eat our favorite snack without asking first.

Yet there is no way to experience true love, connection and happiness without the fortunate ‘problems’. Anything we love is going to have its wrongness, and the best wrongness to match our own is going to come at a price to match its value.

So it all comes down to taking responsibility, to admitting we want and need the fortunate ‘problem(s)’ that come with what we love and wish to bring or keep in our lives; things of quality, things of beauty.

The alternative?

I remember decades ago when as a child I asked a dear friend (the one with the love letters) about life and handling all the ‘complications’ that come with being married, working, children, housekeeping and so on. The answer: “Well, one can always go live in a mausoleum. Bring enough food and something to embroider, seal the doors and windows and you shall have a perfect life…clean, undisturbed, with nothing to work on, nothing to aggravate or interrupt you, no one to consider or inconvenience yourself with…or for!”

Maybe it was my impressionable age, or maybe the metaphor is really that good, I don’t know. But I’m old enough to know how it feels to be able to point and say: “These are the things I love, with all their wrongness…these are the problems I want to have.” And know that life is not going to be like a mausoleum. Because that would be the greatest problem…and the saddest.

“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.” ~ Mark Twain

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