These Three Remain

You can’t make people do what you want them to do. You can’t change them. Or even save them. You can’t make them see what you see. Or feel what you feel. Sometimes I wonder what it is all for. Why we need relationships. Why we crave them. Why we fight for them. Why we feel compelled to save and salvage them. Especially when we know there’s nothing left to give. Sometimes I wonder, you know? What makes us want to go through these things. What makes us vulnerable and overly sensitive to the people we love. It’s hard to explain. – R.M Drake

If you haven’t read Drake’s works, you are missing out. The guy is phenomenal and his poems on social media have a way of striking just the right chord for me. This particular one was unusually long but I’ve been struggling with a certain relationship and it’s like Drake read my mind.

Have you ever felt exhausted from loving and caring too much? You know the other person doesn’t give a hoot but you just cannot give up on them? You have done all you can and time and time again you have told yourself you are done, but you find yourself the next day reaching out to them? Because you cannot stop thinking if they are ok, if there’s something more you can do. You know you cannot change them but still, you cling…

Why do we put ourselves through the wringer over and over again? As I thought through my own situation, the following came to mind:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Faith in the context of the Bible is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hope, on the other hand is wanting an outcome that makes your life better in some way. The two are closely related and it is almost always the case that people who have faith, have hope; and people who have hope, have faith. Strictly speaking though, this relates to faith and hope in a higher being; to God. With human beings, I dare say it is foolhardy to have total faith and hope in them. You can tell someone you have faith in them, but really? They leave your presence and go and do the very opposite of what you had agreed. They will stab you in the back, while you sleep.

I will not even consider why we need relationships. Or how imperfect they can get even when we have given our all. But what is a relationship without faith and hope? Human beings are hardwired to hope even in the worst of circumstances. Hope helps us get through a tough present situation by envisioning a better future. That’s how we have made it this far through the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s how we will get through this third wave that is threatening to get us back into lockdown. We are optimists by nature, always looking for the good and expecting things to improve. Pessimism is a learned behavior – due to life’s battering and bruises of disappointments and unmet expectations.

And so it is with the ones we love and care for. Our optimism is heightened as we hope for the other person to love us back. To get the relationship back on track. Even if it is our self-designed track. We do not give up even when all signs say we should throw in the towel. We fight on even after the closing bell has sounded. We hope. For love.

Love, even flawed human love trumps everything else. To love – a choice we make every day. Do I want to love this person and commit to them, or am I going to let this person go? Once I make the decision to love, the work begins. Work that comprises making many other choices. Choices that will often have me giving and giving even when there’s nothing left to give. All for love. Even the smartest of us does foolish things. For love.

These three remain. Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of them is love.

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