Life measured in things, accomplishments, belongings is not really life. Life measured by the things we love, the beings we love, is perhaps the point of life. To place supreme value on the love we feel for each other. And to feel love is a marvelous feeling, to be the object of desire, attention and affection. To be the recipient of a love that lasts...an enduring love. Is that not everyone's goal?
And that is easy when love flows effortlessly towards you. You just feel it. It warms you and holds you close in its grasp. It is easy and roomy, like a comfy sweater you wear on a cold morning. But sometimes enduring love feels like a sentence. We do not get to decide when we love, just that we do. We do not similarly get to decide when we are done loving. And often, the feelings remain long after the object has gone away. We endure love, and it is painful.
Love is such a funny thing, not unlike a sunbeam, cast about carelessly on a warm afternoon. Throwing light but only in a trajectory allowed by physical laws. It shines there, but not here. It glows warmth, but not necessarily where you want it to.
I was watching my dog take a sunbath yesterday. She laid on the deck, sunning herself in the afternoon air. As the light moved across the sky, she would soon find herself, cold, the rays of light having moved on. Each time, she would get up and move to the sunny warmth again...
And I thought about the nature of love. That one does have to keep moving towards it, to experience it. One cannot remain in the former patch of light, and demand that it still warm you. Love insists that you must move toward and follow it. Otherwise, you are left behind.
And those same beams of love, radiate to illuminate things about ourselves that we don’t want to know. Lighting up the places that we would rather hide, the things we would like to remain forever in the darkness.
And perhaps it is this that causes us to stop seeking love, to stop moving with the light. To rest easier in love’s shade. The fear of those dark places being illuminated, cracked wide open and exposed. This, likely more than anything else, keeps us forever stuck in love’s fading after glow.
To find enduring love, we must be willing to endure love’s other side. The pain of truly loving always balances us out with the cost of love unrequited. Love lights us up and heats us to a point of overflow, but there is always risk in loving.
Love remains an action. It is about the things we do, the things we move toward. The value we place on the connection we feel and sustain for another. Love comes like a sentence, your pardon never assured. You stand alone bearing the weight of the enduring nature of consequence. But sometimes, love wins. Love conquers. Love prevails. And endures. And all that you suffered, all that you endured, rises up within you and warms you once again.
Love should stretch you toward another. Pushing you outside the limits of your own fears and expectations. Love should arrive and accept the constant motion required toward another. For love to endure, one must shoulder the burden of love’s fickle nature, never knowing when the one you move toward moves too. Leaving you behind, enduring the love minus the object of your affection, attention and passion. Love remains but you are alone. Bereft in your grief of love unmoored from its object once more.
While standing in the shady coolness, it is easy to reach a conclusion that loving was wrong. Loving was only some cruel joke, a taunt one must endure. But I have found that while one stands still in love’s passing shadow, love can still endure. Love can still prevail and it matters not that the one you loved moved on. Love can remain, love can endure, because it exists in the heart not exiled to loving only what can love it back. Like the sunbeam, love can warm wheresoever it might land.
Enduring love pours forever outward...flowing easily to all who orbit closely enough to feel its warmth. Love endures when it is tended to, if only by oneself...