We all come from struggle. Even the cherry blossom. Therefore, dismissing someone as not worthy of our care or attention is a pretentious way of perceiving the world. Even a crude person can have surprisingly tender moments; just as the kindest of creatures are sometimes naturally inclined to bite back at others.
We may contest upon meeting someone and even after interacting with them on a daily basis that we know them. But this isn’t necessarily so. In fact, I would argue that this is rarely the case. It is even possible to fall in love with a stranger; someone who reveals little of who they truly are. Which begs the question: When we love someone, who and what exactly are we drawn to? Which parts? Surely not every part. Because we can’t know every part.
Some parts can only be exposed under certain conditions and situations. Sometimes–most times–the worst parts of ourselves are brought out only by the people we love and trust most. And I think, this is how it’s supposed to be. If we can’t be our worst selves with someone, how are we ever to find true and lasting love? How are we to reach our highest potential? When a tree grows toward the heavens, its roots must extend further into the earth. Its outer layers must be shed as its inner core widens and strengthens. No one can blame a tree for dropping its leaves only to make way for new ones. Sure, you curse them in the Fall when you find yourself picking up after them, creating hours of back intensive labor. But what about the Summer, where in their shade you find solace from the sun? What do you say of the tree and its foliage then?
We cannot expect for love to fall into our laps, suddenly and without hindrance, or to remain static and full of blissful optimism. Love is a process. It can blind you, surprise you, and lead you astray. Love goes through phases, just as a tree must. It has its Winters as well as its Springs.
This is a lesson that has been reinforced for me time and time again. After a long hard Winter, you don’t stay inside your cave, shunning the warmth of the sun now permeating the atmosphere. You step outside to greet the light shining upon your walls, heating what was once cold and crystallized, rejuvenating life once again. You are grateful for the deep slumber only Winter allows, aware of its greater purpose. You feel ready and eager to respond to the world as nature intended, prepared for any struggle you are determined to stand triumphant against. And ready to bite back when necessary. To survive in love, you must be prepared for Winter even as you welcome Spring.