“Watch me choose you,” the fictional leader of the free world said to Olivia Pope, on the popular television show Scandal. It made me swoon for a split second — if only there’s someone who loves me this way, I thought. Having someone choose an entire country over you is incredibly moving.
Except when it is not.
How is it love in its finest essence, when someone thinks the best way of expressing his utmost love, is to give up his own responsibilities towards the greatest purpose of his life?
Why would he distribute the weight of crushing his own dreams, to the very person he loves? How is he a man deserving of Pope’s love, when he cannot discern the true weight of his choices?
I am a recovering die-hard romantic. I had spent a whole lot of my life seeking my one true love to complete me, before learning the hard way that I am really the only person who has the capacity to fill up that gaping hole in my soul. Several hearts were broken along the way. It was a very expensive lesson.
I fell out of love with that sort of love — the love that is so all-consuming that nothing else mattered except being with that person, the sort of love that makes people grieve over Romeo and Juliet while getting angsty over the finale of How I Met Your Mother.
I fell out of love with love, because now I have greater ideals for love. Love is unconditional, it doesn’t seek to possess, place labels or desire for sacrifices. Love is about having the capacity to understand that empowering the people you love is the best way you can ever love a person. To empower this person to achieve his or her own greatness, even if it means we may not belong to that same picture. Unconditionally loving is not the same as being a crutch or incessantly coddling a person.
The greatest romance for me, is when all parties involved want nothing but the most joyful and purposeful existence for each other. Sometimes that means supporting each other’s goals while being in a relationship. I have witnessed amazing couples who serve as amplifiers for one another and the relationship becomes an exponential force on its own. Other times it may mean setting somebody free with all the love and hopes you have for the person, to graciously step back and assume the role of the silent supporter.
I have found my one true love. My love for the world. It sounds really frivolous. Love the world, what does it even mean?
It means wanting nothing but a joyful and purposeful existence for the world. I want the world to achieve her own greatness empowered by her people.Can I be part of that?
I want to be free to romance the world. That anytime I can freely and consciously choose to experience different parts of her, different expressions of her, to serve her in any way I can. Her needs, hopes and aspirations will always be greater on my mind than anybody else’s.
I woke up one day in bitter-sweet realization — I can no longer belong to or be with a person. No matter how much I loved her and could have given to her, it would never ever be close to what I want to give for this world. She would always be second place, not even tying for first place.
I still fall in love with people, and with animals. It would be easy for me to get a dog for example, and the only justification I need is that I love dogs with my life. Someone asked me if I would consume my dog (hypothetically if I had one) for survival if I was stranded in a deserted island with it. I didn’t even think about it. I would let my dog eat me.
But here comes the paradox coupled with irony. If I truly love dogs as much as I think I do, they deserve all the love in the world with better people-companions. Not me. Love sometimes means recognizing we’re not the best people to give. I know my attention will drift away from it, and the most painful thing to realize is — if my dog truly loves me, it will want me to be free to love the world, the world I have chosen to give myself to.
In between moments I miss the people and animals I loved and still love, for a split second I wondered if it could have been different.
No matter how many times I think about it or how much time I spend going through all the possible scenarios, it still comes with the same conclusion:
I had fallen in love with the world, and I would not trade her off for anything else. Perhaps, just perhaps, there will be people out there who loves the world as much as I do, and we can all beautifully be each other’s second places, while pursuing the greatest love of our lives, together.