"One of the most difficult tasks in life is removing someone from your heart. But remember, no relationship is a waste of time. The wrong ones teach you the lessons that prepare you for the right ones."
Facebook is chock-full of pithy wisdom. I'm sure everyone has a different experience on the social media giant, but my recent experience has been quite a lot of visually stimulating photos, either real or digital, paired with quotes that either cut to the quick or proclaim self-worth. Perhaps it is indicative of the times; it seems that so many people are desperately trying to hold onto whatever is good, right and healthy - to just not get lost in the crowd. Mental adjustments don't come from these types of things, however. Actual experience of sloggin' through the hard times is the only way to change our point of view and adapt healthy attitudes about ourselves and others.
I am guilty, too. I have been known to put up heart-wrenching proverbial quotes from time to time. However, it was this one I've quoted above that hit a nerve and ended up pinging around inside my head.
Can someone...anyone...actually remove someone from their 'heart'? Is it possible to say that you no longer love someone who was special enough to love in the first place? And, if so, was it really love or something else?
Being of the Hebrew mindset, I think about the biblical concept of the heart. Not simply the organ that pumps blood through our bodies, the heart is the place of decision. To follow G-d with your whole heart would mean that in every part of your life you submit to Him - all your decisions and actions. We modern Americans would call that our mind, not our heart. However, in poetic language, we still speak and think with this concept of heart firmly entrenched. "What does your heart say?" or "follow your heart" would indicate that the heart is more than just the center of circulation, or even solely restricted to matters of romance or family connection. "You're breaking my heart" would indicate that someone you care about is making decisions and choices that hurt you emotionally or is inflicting social trauma. With that in mind, again, I ask if we can take someone out of our heart whom we have deemed important enough, influential enough, to love?
Being the definition girl that I am, I have to think about the definition of love. I tend to think of love in different categories, as I'm sure everyone does to some degree. Romantic love can be categorized as different than familial love, which may be different from the love of close friendship. But in the case of the above quote, I'm not sure it really matters what kind of love has 'occurred' in our heart (life). To care for someone deeply, whether it's a lover, a child, a parent or dear friend, means they are 'in' our hearts. At the point that someone garners our affection, is there a way to reverse the process?
There is a strange phenomenon within relationships, I have found. Once a relationship, of whatever kind, progresses to a deeper level of intimacy, it is difficult, perhaps even impossible, to go backwards to a lesser level of intimacy. The bonds, information and shared history is imprinted in our memories for all time. It is more than just logically remembering who that person is, what they like and how they act. Rather, it is shared interests, emotions and memories of experiences shared that combine with the facts to maintain and sustain that bond of familiarity. Logically, can one just jettison those things from our memories? I have found it impossible to simply 'forget' the feelings and relationship I've had with another, or to revert to a less-intimate level of relationship. Once you go forward, you cannot go backward...at least in your 'heart'. To convince ourselves otherwise is denying the power of love at it's very foundation.
I firmly believe that love flows from the Creator, Himself. He is the source of all love, models the truth of love and enables humans to experience a fraction of Himself when we love others. I always have to remind myself that love is not a selfish emotion, such as lust. Love is a word of service and submission to the needs of another. Simply put, love is caring for another more than for yourself, even to the point of self-sacrifice. Certainly nothing to be taken lightly and surely the most beautiful of all human emotions and decisions.
With all that in mind, I have to conclude that the answer to my question is no; we cannot remove someone we have loved from our heart, regardless of how much or little we loved them. We can remove people from our daily lives, it's true - and that may be necessary to maintain stability and health. But to remove the imprint, memories, history and care for another, regardless of their behavior, I believe is impossible.
The bottom line is that we all carry the pain of failed relationships or the grief of lost loved ones. Somehow, in the passing of time, we learn to live with the pain as a companion rather than a tormentor - and it becomes part of what defines us. Relational experiences, both good and bad, foster the maturity that is absolutely necessary to build healthy, loving relationships in the future.