Awhile back I introduced you to my own version of Dante's Inferno as I walked you through the first 3 circles of Dating Hell. I always meant to return to Hell...but then I just got lazy. Fortunately for you, a dear friend of mine whom I ADORE inspired me to return like a dog to its vomit.
The things I do for attractive men ;-)
So now without further ado or exposition...let us make our triumphant return to Datin's Inferno!!!!
Thus far we have already covered the first 3 circles or levels of Dating Hell. If you haven't read them, I suggest going back and then joining us when you are through. Just to recap though...here they are:
1. Limbo: Not JUST a fun party game for contortionists anymore!
2. Lust: SO much sexual frustration..so LITTLE time and BYU co-eds *sigh*
3. Gluttony: And the "Healthy Lifestyle Change" starts.......tomorrow.
The 4th Circle: Greed
After someone totally rips out your still-beating heart and shows it to you whilst you die a slow painful death......It is understandable that you might be a bit...shall we say...Gun Shy when it comes to opening your heart up again to somebody new. Sometimes all it takes is just a certain amount of time to heal the old wounds and regain your confidence in the opposite sex. But sometimes we can be hurt SO deeply and SO profoundly by the actions of another person that we in essence condemn ourselves to a lifetime of wandering the 4th circle of Datin's Hell.
I think we all understand the concept of greed when it comes to material things. From our early days in the sandbox when Billy asked if he could have one of our animal crackers and we told him no because we had purposely saved all of the elephant crackers for last because they are our favorite and who knows when we are EVER gonna get animal crackers again!!!!........Just me?.........Anyways, my point is that at a young age we begin to adhere to a philosophy of Lack; that is to say that we begin to believe that there isn't enough of this or that in the world to go around and because there isn't enough of this or that we must therefor hold and withhold what scarce resources we have lest the Billy's of the world rob us blind of elephant crackers.
The thing is....we also do this same thing with love.
When we chose to share our love with someone it is tantamount to giving them not just our favorite elephant crackers, but ALL of our crackers AND our favorite Slinky AND our tender and vulnerable hearts as well. We want to believe that we can be generous with the precious resource of our love with this person; trusting that they will not only appreciate, but also return our investment 10 fold. But then they reject us, and the pain of that rejection wounds us SO profoundly that many of us decide that the potential benefits or returns of this particular investment are FAR outweighed by the risks involved. When we draw this conclusion we then make a choice to become greedy with our love. We withhold all of the sweet, tender, and beautiful parts of ourselves from anyone in the name of protecting our soft and vulnerable underbellies.
This is a safe life...but this is also a lonely life. This is a Hell on earth only half-live and half-felt. To be vulnerable means that you run the risk of having your heart totally obliterated.....but being greedy with your love all but ensures that you will never reach the full breath and depth that can only come from the equivalent of emotional free-fall.
Terrifying....but unlike any other thrill in this world.
The 5th Circle: Anger
This stage is fairly self-explanatory and easy to conceptualize.
You trusted someone. They broke your trust and/or your heart. And now you are pissed.
People who get stuck in this stage can become a destructive force....sometimes to themselves and sometimes to those who they perceive to be their offenders. Sadly, the news is riddled with stories of jilted lovers who, in moments of Anger, lash out at the one who they once loved so deeply. I have heard it said that the line between love and hate is thin......I don't know that this is true. Both are strong emotions to be sure, and one might argue that the majority of Hate once started out as love....but ultimately, when we are talking about true love, the kind of love that Christ speaks of and asks us to have for one another, then this couldn't be further from Hate if it tried. Charity, the pure love of Christ means that even if someone offended you in the most profound way imaginable....and then you were given the opportunity to turn the Karmic tables and basically do unto them what they just did unto you.......you wouldn't.
You wouldn't because you understand what it means to TRULY love someone. They might have been dabbling in infatuation or lingering in vain lust, but when you made the choice to utterly LOVE this person, you did it with no strings attached. Anger arises when we feel as though we have been wronged or cheated in some way. We think to ourselves....Hey! I gave you my whole heart and you were suppose to take care of it!!! But you didn't!!!...and understandably this can make us very angry. We may plot ways we will get back at them, we may waste YEARS of our lives wandering in this circle of anger. It will turn us into creatures like Gollum constantly filled with rage and .....fear.
Because ultimately....all that is all Anger really is.....Anger is Fear parading itself under the banner of it's "righteous cause".
As a wise Jedi Master once said....."Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to Anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
And Suffering is what Hell is all about.
The 6th Circle: Heresy
This circle is a little tricky. Try to stick with me on this one.
Traditionally, when we hear the word Heresy we may tend to think about apostates and traitors to a certain religion or creed. I find it interesting that Dante's Inferno included a special place for just such people. While attempting to draw some sort of correlation between dating and Heresy, I found it difficult to link the two. But then I had a thought....take it for what it is worth.
I remember years ago I lost someone who I deeply cared about. The sudden and unexpected loss of this person shook me so violently that it almost destroyed my faith entirely. I was SO mad at God for (from my perspective) taking this person away from me. My WHOLE life I had done the "right" things. I was a good little Mormon girl....I never made waves...I never questioned.....I dotted and my I's and crossed all of my T's in hopes and in faith that God would be pleased with my efforts and reward me accordingly. There was only one thing in the world that I wanted and it was this person....the same person who I would later have to join all those who loved him as they laid him to rest. I was SO angry....SO hurt....SO confused......I couldn't understand why God would allow this to happen...after ALL I had done. At one point I began to question if God was even there in the first place. I thought to myself that I would prefer that He not be there; because that way...at least I wouldn't have someone to blame. If the universe is some random ball of chaos then ultimately there is nothing any of us can do about it. But if on the other hand there is a personal and engaged God that has power to do all things, then why the Hell didn't He step in on this one??? And to take it a step further...Do I really want to worship a Being that can be so obviously heartless and ungrateful of all my many years of dedicated devotion?
We all have stories of friends and family who have become angry with God after experiences of deep pain. It is so easy to shake our fists at the sky and curse His name for not caring enough about us to spare us these injustices. Many will declare a holy war against God, walk away, and never come back. I almost did...
But then I realized that as great and powerful and loving as God is, there is ONE thing in the universe that He CAN'T monkey with even if He wanted to.....
If a person sets their mind to do something then they are probably going to do it. If God stepped in EVERY time someone had the inclination to do something wrong or to hurt another person then we would live in a world of constant God-Blocking....He would have time to do nothing else. But this is not the world He intended for us to live in. God gave us minds and hearts and unfortunately for us sometimes....the permission to exercise our inherent Free Will. Many religions believe that God GAVE us our agency and by the same token could take it away if He so chose. This is not what I believe, but I will save my reasoning for another day.
Suffice to say that hating God and the subsequent faith that you once use to hold so dear is ..in a way...a form of personal Heresy....
When Mormon people talk about Hell, we don't mean a place wtih fire and brimstone and little jerk-wads with pitchforks. When we say Hell what we literally mean is Removed from the presence of God. If this is the case..then Heresy isn't just a circle of Hell..it Is Hell.
Only 3 more circles to go!!!!