“You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation…and that is called loving.”
~ Hermann Hesse
Do you remember that ‘cake or death’ scene (Eddie Izzard, it’s on youtube)? Why would anyone NOT choose cake? (Yes, metaphor for love) But people do. Go figure. And figure we must, because guess what everyone cares about most? Love relationships. At the end of the day, it’s all about the difficulty in finding that special someone, or once found, special someone related issues. No matter what goes on in people’s lives, whether they’ve got dollars & euros coming out of their ears, or barely enough to cover the bills; whether they’ve got rewarding careers or struggling through lesser jobs, regardless of age, the burning issue has to do with love…how to find it, and how to keep it. Our greatest, most tragic regrets have to do with love lost, opportunities missed, feelings unfelt and lives incomplete because love was not pursued or nurtured when the chance was within our grasp.
Fairytales work. And you know why? Because they’re a bit epic (ok, more than a bit) AND those in them, be they people or birds or ogres, do what they’re supposed to do to make the story work. Yes, even though adversity confuses them at times, they figure out what’s most important (and get it right), they embrace courage and faith, fight for what they want and against the obstacles that hold them back. And they do it together…they choose cake!
So of course love conquers all…because it’s actually used to DO some conquering and show what it’s truly made of, and none of the characters decide to play brick wall or say “oh, it might be too hard and inconvenient to slay that dragon, I’d rather watch TV and take a nap” instead of living the adventure. It’s really not rocket science.
Love is, by its very nature, rather epic…both gentle and fierce, an afternoon breeze and a blazing fire into which the phoenix melts and from which the phoenix rises. Think of Arwen who gives Aragorn her necklace, and renounces immortality for the sake of sharing one brief (and uncertain) human life with a guy who’s pushing 50 and probably smells like a heap of rusty metal. That’s more than giving up a kingdom, or a king’s ransom, or a job offer in Cleveland, or the convenience of never having to be inconvenienced. Arwen doesn’t exactly say “oh honey, I love you but I might have to put up with your bad moods, and besides, being immortal is kinda cool”…and Aragorn doesn’t reply “oh I don’t know dear, I might have to do stuff for you too and not have enough time to hunt orc”.
And yet we watch the films, read the stories, and return to our lives only to continue thinking and doing least about what matters most, replacing love and intimacy with activities and ‘duties’ we imagine will fulfill us by distracting us. But distracting us from what? Truly living? Do we really want to be distracted from that?
When I was little, family friends adopted a pair of adorable dachshunds. Sadly, one day the girl ate a poisoned tidbit in another yard, and died the same day. In less than a month, in spite of vet visits to confirm physical health, the boy stopped eating and he too perished. And yes, I will say of a broken heart. I submit therefore that love implies (and creates) a necessity no different than the air we breathe, water we drink and food we consume to stay alive. When we love someone, we begin a new mode of living, one marked by the birth of another biological, spiritual and emotional component that now enters the equation of our lives…a new need which in so many ‘simpler’ creatures is linked to their very survival: a chosen companion…or death. And if it applies to dachshunds, it sure as heck applies to humans!
We often hear that love is everything. And we look at the electric bill and pretend to be asking a relevant question: “but how is love going to pay this?” No, love will not pay the actual bill, but the bill will be paid because of the love that two people share, the strength and courage it gives them to create the means to pay the darn bill. Structure is indeed required in any life, but it is the essence that gives it purpose and value. Marilyn Monroe said it so well: “A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night”. And not just a cold night…any night. And not just a career, but other ‘practical’ concers like bills and schedules and material stuff and personal stuff that has to do with less and with easy.
We all know that togetherness enhances everything else as it takes two lives and makes them so much more than each can be on its own. There is no middle ground when it comes to love, just as there is none when it comes to life…one is either alive or dead. And my point here is that we need to look at where we are, at what we’re doing, and if love is not first on the list, and not something we’re willing to fight for to the last dollar, euro, breath, and drop of sweat; if it’s not something for which we’re willing to renounce every fear, conveninece, doubt, and ounce of pessimism or selfishness courtesy of past failures that may still swim in our blood (you were waiting for blood, weren’t you), then we might as well pack it up, because we’ve just chosen death.
Seriously, if we really want the fairytale, it’s not going to magically write itself…we must do what those in fairytales do: awaken the fairytale in the mundane, and don’t, for the life of us, ever let it go. Because at the end of the day, it is our lover’s hand we long for, and not our diplomas or investment reports or gadgets. Not that those are not important, they are very important, but they are not to be confused with the ‘everything’ that makes them possible, and most importantly perhaps, makes them worth pursuing.
I know, I know, many will say it’s not that simple. But it is. The universe gives to those who ask and are willing. Omnia Vincit Amor.
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where….
So I love you because I know no other way than this:
I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep”
~ Pablo Neruda