Love is never what you think it is, is it? We imagine that it should be simple, it will fix our woes, fill our gaps, and warm us in the cold. We dream that all the good in life will be better and that words will be replaced by a knowing look and a connection so strong that there will never be a doubt that we are bonded at the soul. Can you hear me laughing?
Ahh, it’s good to dream! Sometimes I think those dreams are our undoing. Perhaps it would be better to think that real love will test you, enlighten you, and throw all of your own shortcomings in your face in order for you to rise to the challenge of being a more complete person on your own and when your beloved sees all of this, they will love you anyhow.
Better said by Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”:
“When love beckons to you follow him,Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.”
It can’t just be the flowers and love songs because when that passes, as it always does, what will be left? I have been very fortunate to have a friend and partner who has challenged me to be better person. A man who will not allow me to be any less than I should be and when forced to admit why, he will reluctantly admit that it is because he loves me, but not necessarily in the way I want to hear it. He is a man of actions, more so than words. My own challenge… not always getting what I want, instead getting what I need. In turn, hopefully I will push him out of his comfort zone to be something more than he is now. I tried the easy route of no challenges and it was empty. True love is a growing, learning, sometimes painful, experience. It’s the mother bird that pushes the baby out of the nest, not really knowing for sure if it will fly, but knowing it needs to and believing enough for both of them. To love and be loved in this way both breaks my heart and then mends it, it lifts me up and then brings me to my knees, it is more than I hoped for and better than I could have dreamed. It’s anything but simple.
“All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”