People f*ck up.
The human condition is so unimaginably complicated that we are bound to make mistakes—and likely some devastating mistakes—that hurt the people we love.
The beauty of making mistakes is that we are gifted with many opportunities to redeem them.
Redemptive love is perhaps the most essential form of love. It binds together all the many expressions of love. Redemptive love allows the various forms of love to endure, for without the capacity to be redeemed through the act of love, our connections will simply fade.
So, what is redemptive love?
Redemptive love is the redeeming of ourselves through revealing the depths of our love.
We don’t need to have made some horrible mistake to make redemptive love necessary. Perhaps we have merely let time get the better of us, or maybe our journey has just taken us on separate paths. It doesn’t matter. What matters is expressing how we truly feel, and doing so in a way that redeems a connection that was lost.
I’ve had an experience with redemptive love.
I did wrong by a friend of mine. We grew up together, shared many experiences in our younger years, and when we moved onto high school I ended up treating him terribly because of the dynamics of our group of friends. He was my best friend, one of the closest people to me, and I completely tarnished that in order to fit in.
I never did fit in, really, but I wanted to maintain the illusion that I did, and I went about that in a way that harmed my friend.
We didn’t speak for years after we graduated. He went on to school and I ended up succumbing to a long-term chronic illness.
A couple years down the line, we ended up meeting at a coffee shop. It was sort of accidental. We were talking, and as the conversation flowed, I realised more and more how much I cared about him, as well as how badly I had treated him.
I just came out and said it.
I told him I was sorry, and that I had treated him poorly on account of my own insecurities. I told him he was stronger than I was at that time, and if I could play it back I would do things much differently. I would’ve stood up for him because he was one of my closest friends. I told him that he was an amazing person in spite of the scrutiny and slander. I told him I was so sorry…
He was receptive. He understood. He forgave me. I talk to him all the time now, even though he lives across the country. My love for him, and the expressing of that love, redeemed our friendship.
Even if he hadn’t forgiven me, the act would’ve been redemptive. I was speaking my truth to someone I loved, and that’s the ultimate form of redemption.
I don’t know if there is a more important skill to have. There might not be a more virtuous act than to speak the truth to the people we love—except maybe to speak the truth to the people we hate. There is a redemptive quality to both.
Redemptive love implies speaking our truth, expressing how we feel most deeply to the person we feel most deeply about. It is the revitalization of connection through the act of speaking the truth, and even if the connection remains fleeting in a tangible sense, there is still that element of self-redemption that is crucial to the full expression of our soul.
What matters at the end of life is knowing that we couldn’t have possibly loved any more, in spite of our flaws, our mistakes, our worries, our sorrows. What matters is the full expression of our love, regardless of how it feels to our ego.
Redemption can only be found in love, and love is all.
“There was a moment, I know, when I was under in the dark, that something…whatever I’d been reduced to, not even consciousness, just a vague awareness in the dark. I could feel my definitions fading. And, beneath that darkness there was another kind—it was deeper—warm, like a substance. I could feel, man, I knew, I knew my daughter waited for me, there. So clear. I could feel her. I could feel…I could feel the peace of my Pop, too. It was like I was part of everything that I have ever loved, and we were all, the three of us, just fading out. And all I had to do was let go, man. And I did. I said, ‘Darkness, yeah.’ and I disappeared. But I could still feel her love there. Even more than before. Nothing. Nothing but that love.” ~ Rustin Cohle “True Detective”
Author: Samuel Kronen
Editor: Lieselle Davidson