For Gerad, love was a confusing emotion. One day it satisfies and on another day it strips his heart bare. He wanted out sometimes and he would often say, 'Love is too hard.'
Often she would call him and tell him time and time again her problems. She would constantly despair of the disorder of her soul as incurable. He always offered her his ears and even more, he always made his shoulders available for her to cry on.
But his heart was crumbling too.
Bottling up everything, especially his own problems had reached its limit and Gerad knew that at any minute everything could spill over.
But Gerad loved her.
Gerad knew that love offers life. It lightens the dark moments and his presence always made her smile. He tells himself that love covers a multitude of sins whenever she forgets to ask about him and his troubles. It was always about her – so self-centered. He always took a sigh to swallow his own madness and always, always focused on her.
His love was a love that gave but never received. 'Giving love its is own reward', he often said to himself. 'It is not about me. But about her.'
'To love her,' Gerad reminded himself every morning, that 'I must daily forgive her, for love is not possible without the healing work of forgiveness.'
'Some people,' he tells himself 'have turned their hearts away from tenderness because they have a defensive hardness – but I must always be tender towards her. I must always cry over her misery and adopt it as my own. Perhaps I need another friend, one who can hear my heartache, but she takes up too much of my time. She is needy and I must be there. Loving her is sacrifice.'
Gerad's love is not the kind that is easily found in our society. Time and time again, voices have told him that his love for her is unhealthy. That he is loving the unlovable, that he lets her desires take over his own, that his love is surely one-sided. Why love someone who does not love you back is the common refrain. But in his heart he always answered saying,
'My love is not determined by self-interest, nor wanting an appreciation or even recognition for its service. My love is free even when it bleeds.'