Some people say you only truly love one person in a lifetime. Like, that person is your person. The one. They say that anything before that special one was not really love, only something like it, but I’m not sure I agree. It doesn’t work out that way for everyone. I can think of four men in my almost  years that I have loved. Really loved. To lessen that would cheapen it somehow. To regret it would take away the beauty it held. And even in the pain, I think it can hold a place of value, a place of gratitude as you move forward. I believe that for some people love is like different seasons of life, each a path leading you to what you needed all along.
They say, “to have loved and lost is better to have never loved at all,” but I say, “to have loved and lost, then to find love again… that is the best of all.”
I look back on my past and I can pinpoint four men I have loved, each one in a different way, each one in a different season, each one leading me to where I am today.
First came First Love, aptly named. I can easily remember the first man I ever loved. Through this relationship, I learned that I could love someone more than myself. I learned how to romantically love another. I was able to experience excitement, intrigue, passion, the butterflies.
Through First Love, I discovered how to give of myself, a very noble characteristic. But I also learned when to stop. I learned how to stand up for myself, despite being in love.
Then I learned heartbreak. I learned that love hurts. I realized that men have faults, that love isn’t perfect. How could I realistically love in the present without my past lessons, my first foray of love learned, built, broken, and healed?
First Love taught me how to love, and how to let go of love when that’s what I need to do. I’ll never forget this kind of love.
Second, for me, came True Love. Wow. True Love blows you off your feet, doesn’t it? This was the man who showed me a deeper love than I had ever known. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I discovered this love at the same time I discovered the love of God. I just don’t think that was an accident.
Childhood rejection and a hundred other things in this world had shown me love didn’t work. That it couldn’t work. My parents were in love. So I wanted to believe it was real. But when I found it, that was when I really believed it in my heart.
True Love changed me. True Love mimicked God’s Love, and though nothing can compare to that, True Love gave me the best example I had ever known. The thing was that it came easy. We didn’t have to try for it. It just happened, like breathing.
True Love was the easiest love I had ever known. It taught me that love is what we’re meant for in this life.
In retrospect, I know that my first brush with True Love was overpowering. I’m not sure I knew how to process that in a healthy way.
But then it wasn’t. True Love slipped away from me. I suppose that happens to us sometimes.
I was broken. My heart was in a million pieces. I felt like there was no love for me beyond that I had found. If it wasn’t my True Love, I didn’t want it. I was dumbfounded, I was numb, I was hurt, and then I just wasn’t anything. I walked around in a haze, unfeeling, afraid, unsure. How could love hurt? How could something written in the stars and meant to be slide through my fingers like sand? Did it never have substance to start with?
My third love came out of nowhere. I wasn’t looking for him. I didn’t want him. He came in from stage left, and he slid in so easily and naturally that my heart opened to him unaware. He was a soothing balm for my broken heart. He was my Healing Love. Healing Love showed me that I could love again, that I could move past heartbreak, that it was okay to be brave and be loved again. Healing Love was like a second chance to feel, another opportunity to open myself up to another, to experience love instead of run from it.