That They May Have Joy

My last serious post was nothing short of unexpected.  Life comes at you fast sometimes.  Things change quickly, especially when you aren’t looking for it.  Am I still nervous about being married?  Am I really ready for it?  Truthfully, I get nervous about it sometimes.  But I think back on the promptings both Ashley and I received and I know that it is right.  I did make the right choice.  This is definitely not for everyone.  There are still the naysayers who think that things will fall apart.  The more time I spend with Ashley the more I know that we are perfect for each other.

Of course this doesn’t mean that things are perfect.  No marriage is.  It takes work.  More work than I ever could have imagined.  It takes practice, patience, understanding, and compromise.  I honestly don’t think we would have ever gotten married if we hadn’t known each other as long as we have and spent as much time talking and getting to know who we are first.  I mean that in a sense of me knowing myself and also in knowing Ashley.  You cannot expect to be happy in life–let alone in a marriage–without first coming to know yourself.

In the Eragon series a great deal is said of learning “true names”.  A true name is the essence of who you are.  It has all of your qualities, good or bad.  All of your strengths and weaknesses.  All of your quirks.  When you know someone’s true name you have power over them because you know who that person is down to their very soul.    Eragon made a point that it is one of the most sacred trusts any person can ever receive to learn another person’s true name.  I bring this up because this is what I like to think of when I refer to knowing who you are.  Learn your true name and you become ready to accept–truly accept–the love of another.  I personally don’t think we can truly love another unless we come to love ourselves first.  Just like Eragon struggled to find his true name, many of us do the same thing daily.  It’s one thing to say we think we know who we are and something else entirely to actually know who you are.

One of my personal goals is to always try to better myself.  I want to grow and be the best man I can be.  To do that, I have to know myself.  What are my strengths?  What are my weaknesses?  (No this is not a job interview.)  I am a natural man.  I have many flaws.  Some have been much easier to admit than others.  I like video games more than I should.  I let myself get distracted from the important things more than I care to admit.  I have been known to have a short fuse and an even shorter attention span.  Knowing these things helps me to strengthen them.  This is another reason I think it’s important that we know who we are before we can find true love.

When you truly love someone you love them for who they are.  And they love you for who you are.  You compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Those things that you know you are weak at can be made strong by a loving partner who can guide you along the way.  Guide is the key here.  You can’t change the people you love.  They are who they are.  You are who you are.  If you spend all of your time trying to change somebody’s true name you’ll find yourself frustrated and ultimately alone.  The only person we can change is ourselves.  We can only do that if we know who we are.  It’s hard to learn that and even harder to accept it at times.

I used to be one of those guys who walked around lamenting my lot in life.  I always wanted the world to change so my life would be better.  I got so frustrated when the world stubbornly refused to conform to what I wanted it to be.  I gave up more than once.  I spent a vast majority of my life running away from my responsibilities and simply “going through the motions”.  One day something just seemed to click in my head.  I began to look at my life through a microscope.  What did I need to do to make myself better?  I determined a course of action and started working on it.  I came to know who I was.  Once I knew that I started to change, little by little.  I am still me at heart.  But I feel like I am a better man at the same time.  I am happier.  I guess you could say I learned my “true name” and am the better for it.  And I believe that the sooner everyone learns who they are, the better off they’ll be.  After all, we are here so that we might have joy.

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