Love is Temporary Madness

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

-St. Augustine

These words speak so directly to my heart they threaten to suffocate me. Since a friend posted them a few days ago, my thoughts keep lingering back to St. Augustine’s words. How do you know? I mean how do you really, really know?

I think one of the problems of my heart is that it makes itself too clear. When I know something, I simply just know. My heart doesn’t batter in the middle for very long, it defines itself by what it loves, which isn’t always a good thing.

I loved Michel with the intensity of an earthquake. Ironically enough my love for him was born in the midst of an earthquake, when security and comfort and understanding doubled as love as well. The earthquake shook places inside of me that of course were already there, but had been hidden, dormant, until awakened with the rumblings that I never truly got my balance back from. I was thrown off course so long ago, and only now, when everything is different and so very clear, am I learning to walk again.

Lately life has been overwhelming me. I feel the pressure of Levi in his terribly innocent stare, trusting me so whole heartedly when I have no idea what I’m doing. Today, when I couldn’t stop the tears any longer, I strapped him to me and we went walking. Instead of looking around he simply just stared at me, until eventually he put his head down and slept. My tears would fall into his hair and drip down the corners of his face, creating little wet pools on his shoulders. It wasn’t until I began my rosary that my heart found peace again, the familiar words carving their way into my blood, my being, to let me rest in the peace that only He can give.

What in the world am I doing?

It seems that every little tiny mess up these days is so illuminated. I lose my patience once and it feels like the walls are caving in on me. I thought my self judgement was bad before, well I had known nothing. Now with this twelve pound little man watching my every move, it sometimes feels like maybe I might crash.

And here we are, Michel and I. It is the strangest feeling to look at a man and know him so fully, so intricately, and to look at what has been created with him, but to know in your heart there is something different you’re being called to. To move from love to friend again, and to do it appropriately and maturely. We could spend all day talking in circles about what ifs and whys and hows and maybes, but what it comes down to is that our love is simple and fragile, and we took too much control of it and ended up with too much of a good thing, Levi, but it wasn’t God who was in control.

Control. This is why my heart cannot rest.

When we depend on ourselves, for anything, any, tiny, thing, we lose. How many times do I have to learn this lesson? I am not a good mother, without God. I am not a good friend, without God. I can’t even make my own bed without the help of Christ’s hand. He is in all things, and so often we go throughout our days as if He is in nothing.

I am guilty of this. Almost all of the time.

So on my walk with Levi, with the sun setting and his little head against my heart, I gave up my control. I have a very imperfect life, and Michel and I are going to need oceans of grace to do this like two people who really, really love God. I get brutally mean sometimes, and he gets pretty lame sometimes too, but here we are. We were an earthquake that subsided. God only knows what comes next. But we do know what our hearts already hold. And thanks to grace, I can look at him and be thankful. But my heart is fierce and unwilling to choose anything other than what it wants, so the road ahead will be long and hard.

Levi. I have to let it all go so Levi can be ok.

I’m always so tempted to define myself by my mistakes. Lifeteen recently reminded me that God created us knowing the decisions we’d make, but He chose to create us regardless. I interfere way too often with God’s workings, with whatever it is He wants to do with me every second of every day. We all need to be under constant reconstruction from the Holy Spirit.

Whatever it is you think you are, you most likely are not. In the middle of the night when it feels like my soul is being hollowed out, and I can feel the scrapings of my blood against my bones, and that darkness settles around me like a blanket, I pause. This is who I am. With the heavens above me and God in my breath and Levi’s eyes on me, this stillness, this is life.

Yes. I could take either life. I could settle down and live this right here and right now. But our hearts pulse for a reason, so I will keep on going. I just pray that I can lose all control, all the time, so I can know where to find myself again.

I think in our lives we must burn away all that appears as love, and be left with the tangible force of love itself. The dryness, the ugliness, the harshness that we live day in and day out. The nasty that we see and hear, the mundane boredom of some days. All of it, all the crap, there is love in it too.

I think we all should burn up in flames of love and give, give, give until it so desperately hurts. I guess Mother Teresa was right after all.

My prayers to you all as we all learn to burn in love in all the little moments of our lives.


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