If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I love rather easily. I also like to think that I'm rather easy to love. But I am not necessarily an easy person to have a relationship with. I'm on the road nearly 300 days a year. I'm not interested in having children or raising a new family; I already have three kids of my own and had a vasectomy 8 years ago. I have some rather unorthodox views about romantic love; I don't put-out billboards with big arrows pointing at it, but a glance through my LJ bio page will tell you that I'm not ashamed or try to hide it.
When welfy and I met two years ago, she knew all of these things. She and I both decided to take the leap and explore the feelings we were having for each other. A year ago, she moved to Kentucky to live with me, yet another sacrifice on her part in addition to those mentioned above. In that time, we've explored what it's like to be primary partners in co-habitation. About a month ago she began to question the things she sacrifices for her relationship with me. She began to consider her long-held, more traditional ideas about romantic love and whether she could live with compromising what had long been a moral conviction for her. For the past month, I've tried to be patient and kind, to hope and to trust. Currently Welf is still in a complete state of confusion and indecision. I've always taken our living arrangement, that of a partnership, very seriously.
Beginning this week, I unilaterally decided to reduce our living arrangement to that of roommates. I now have my own bedroom in the house, and I've stripped our relationship of any expectation of being living partners. I hated to do it, but with no end in sight and little assurances to the contrary, I didn't see any other choice. Welf and I still love each other very much. As of this writing, we are still seeing each other romantically. Essentially, we're back to dating. I don't know how long this will last. I don't know if any sort of reconciliation can be achieved. Regardless of where things go, or where they end or begin, my primary hope is that Welf finds her way through this dark time. I love her so much, and more than anything, I want her to be happy in life; to have everything she needs, even if it means that it doesn't include me. Even if she and I fail, my love for her never will. I'm not angry. There is no record of wrongs.
But it does hurt, and it is hard. This morning, Welf posted a public entry dealing with some of these things for the LJ-Idol contest in which she has been participating all spring. It's a very brave entry for her, as she's not accustomed to having much of her personal life in the public arena. It's something I have a hard time doing even in a friends-only or filtered entry. I admire her for it, and it's one of her better entries... LJ-Idol or not.