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In Spite of Ourselves

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved – loved for ourselves, or rather in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo

Here is a truism to hang your hat on. We are all imperfect human beings working at making lives together with more or less skill. We make messes of our situation routinely and we hurt each other unintentionally, well and maybe intentionally sometimes. Yet we all live to be loved, to feel accepted and welcome in the family of things.

I have been visiting my husband’s family of late in a country where I can barely ask for directions to the bathroom. We share a long history of miscommunication and hurts both real and imagined, and yet we keep coming back trying to find a place in our hearts that is big enough for all of us. It is tenuous and not work for the faint hearted. I am asked over and over again to look at what I hold onto and to see if the lens that I witness this story through is darkened by things only I see. It is hard to ask for forgiveness in your shortcomings under any circumstance, and heroic when you can admit to your weaknesses when you feel alone.

I have wondered many times of late as I have been circling the lake, what keeps us in relationships, especially in the messy painful turns that all relationships hold. I think it is the promise of this- that we find moments, where we are loved for ourselves and in spite of ourselves.

There is not much room for ego here. You can’t want to be right and be loved at the same time. Believe me, I have been arguing for my husband to be on my side only to realize that to find what I really want means to not have a side, not take a side, not even believe in sides. Believe in love instead, it is worth a little loss of ego.