Worth The Sacrifice

Just because your sacrifice was betrayed,
Didn’t mean it wasn’t worth it:
What we give for love is always more important
Than any regrets we might have over who we have given it to.


“Sacrifice” is an important part of relationships. Since none of us has the time, resources, or energy to do everything we might desire to do, life is always a series of tradeoffs. With families, the number of choices becomes greater and the need for tradeoffs more acute.

Where problems typically arise is that we view relationships through the lens of power dynamics: or, said more simply, everybody wants to have their own way. We all know what it is like to be inconvenienced in a social situation by that one person who stubbornly wants everyone else to do things their way. But we are all born like that. We want what we want.

Morality, however, has long taught, around the world, the importance of sacrifice. To give up what we want for the good of our family, or village, or country, or even the world.

It’s not that sacrifice is good for its own sake – doing that is just pointless – but for the sake of others.

Too often, however, people in relationships come to see sacrifice as a sort of a contest, as to which one of them has given up the most, sacrificed the deepest – essentially, who has been the biggest martyr.

If we are making sacrifices to try to win a contest, we probably won’t win, and we will almost certainly sacrifice the wrong things.


When a marriage or long-term relationship ends, the temptation is to view whatever was put into the relationship as time wasted. That is the natural human reaction: it is also, very often, wrong.

We cannot know going into a relationship how things will go. None of us can really see the future, and no matter how confidently people pretend that they knew all along how others’ lives would turn out, they are almost certainly being disingenuous. People change, people grow, some people fight with circumstance and lose, and others just get lost along the way. Physical, mental, emotional – all of the forces working at these levels are complex, individual, and subject to rapid change. We just don’t know what the future holds for anybody.

We just don’t know.

So, since we can’t know if a relationship will blossom or, ultimately, wilt, that doesn’t mean we should be upset for tending the plant as long as we could.

Or for grieving it as long as we need to.

The Afterwards

The afterwards of everything is wondering
Why tradeoffs must be made, and friendships lost,
And why the night turns silence into shadows
That touch the edge of passion turned to frost

The afterwards of everything is emptiness,
A strange reward for doing what is right:
The cold and quiet heart that’s ribbed with darkness,
The winner, who’s left sickened from

The fight

Heartbroken

The porpoise may become a shark,
If we don’t have our species right;
Because she loved him in the dark,
She thought she knew him in the light

She thought she knew; she felt so strong –
But love gone left is simply, wrong,
And hollow is the memory
That now is tinged with treachery


© Katarzyna Bialasiewicz | Dreamstime.com – Heartbroken woman

This Happy

I wish you were this happy all the time.
I know our days are coming to a close,
For I am not for you. I’m not the one
To bring to you this warmth, or sense of peace.
So we can part now, better in past tense,
Then ever in the present tense we were.

For comfortable and boring’s what we were;
A slowing down of interest and time
That led to moments clumsy, fraught, and tense:
A time when couples ought to settle close
Together in a panoply of peace,
And show the lucent ways two become one.

For there are many paths, and I was one.
Now spread into the air is all we were;
A maybe once that led to greater peace,
When that day comes when love takes over time:
When what had seemed so far, comes ever close,
And there’s no pretense – any kind of tense.

But here, the moment’s peaceful, far from tense:
Your heart is full of joy. The furry one
Who rests within your arms is warm and close.
The two of you seem suited, as you were
The moment that you saw, and froze in time
A mother-type of love, and child’s peace.

How strange to know, within this shade and peace —
To let go of my hope, let go the tense
And worried weight I’ve carried all this time.
For maybe, without you, I can be one
Not tied up in the things we weren’t, and were,
And bring these months together to a close.

This journey soon is drawing to a close,
The sun will set into a night of peace,
Officially beginning what we were:
An active love turned into passive tense.
Just know: for me, you could have been the one.
I thank you for your kindness, and the time.

To be so close, and yet to be so tense,
To see your peace, to know I’m not the one,
That all we were will soon be lost to time

Kitchen Breakaway

That morning, we awoke,
And I remember: runners on the beach,
And there was music, somewhere,
Through the open window,
As we munched our toast,
And drank our drinks in silence.

“What will you do?” I asked,
As though I hadn’t several times before,
And you said, “I arrive in Dallas
Around 6, I think, and then
It’s off to school. The program starts at 8.”

Twenty minutes later,
On the shell driveway,
We said a quite banal goodbye,
Me with my duffel bag,
And my old car was soon back on
The shoreline road, for 23 miles until,
I got back to the Interstate.

A breakup is like a knockout punch:
But this was more like
Us calling off the fight because
You had a better offer out-of-town,
And me understanding, because
It made sense for business.

Of all the mornings we’d spent in that kitchen
The one I remember best is me eating dry toast
And drinking a flat Dr Pepper
And wishing the runners on the beach

Had taken me with them

Flowers Cannot Fix It

You have this dream, that she’ll be there
At dinnertime tonight
And, if you make it perfect
Everything will be alright

But flowers cannot fix it
Cannot make this dream come true:
Don’t worry friend, she’ll smile again —
But it won’t be

With you

Standing in the stillness of the sunrise

Standing in the stillness of the sunrise. Mourning
  the loss of what she hoped to find
  that wasn’t meant to be —

But giving up the past is part of not suborning
  her loving heart to thinking that
  to settle’s to be free —

There is a place for looking back,
  there is a time for crying,
  and none of us is good enough,
  but most of us keep trying —

For everything is learning when you just keep going:
  the book you don’t get down again,
  but leave up on the shelf

Standing in the stillness of her heartbreak. Knowing
  she’s better off to feel this way,
  than not to be

  herself