“Love, in its own nature, demands the perfecting of the beloved. …When we fall in love with a woman, do we cease to care whether she is clean or dirty, fair or foul? Do we not rather then first begin to care? …Love may, indeed, love the beloved when her beauty is lost: but not because it is lost. Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal. Love is more sensitive than hatred itself to every blemish in the beloved….”
– C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“Wonder what I’m thinking, wonder why I’m drinking, but it’s plain to see, I’m not the man I used to be.”
– Fine Young Cannibals
There are two lies we are often told: People never change, and we should love them the way they are. The first is proven false by our experience; the second is based on a misrepresentation of love.
I don’t know these people…
A dynamic life is full of change, but even the most stubbornly static existence is marked by it. People are forced to change: by nature, by experience, by conflict. People change: their personalities, their ambitions, their motivations, their tastes are all modified – if not fully transformed – at various points in life. And these are not just superficial changes, but rather fundamental alterations that often leave one unrecognizable. The phrase “Once a [fill in the blank], always a [fill in the blank]” is not only unfortunate, it is a lie. Of course, it is also used exclusively with regard to negative attributes. I have never heard someone say, “Once a kind, gentle soul, always a kind, gentle soul.” While this is possibly due to an intuitive understanding of human nature, it is also unmistakable in its purpose: to deny that essential improvement is possible. Continue reading