Love is a subject that fascinates me. I am intrigued by the stories we attribute to it’s power, to heal and hold, to harm and leave, to stay or go, to live and die. What I have found in myself and commonly in my clients, colleges, and friends, is the idea that Love is something I experience outside of myself with another human being or Divine force. It could be the love of a lover, a child, an animal, or God and yet it is not within me, but rather before me. It took many years and lots of heartache to realize the fallibility of such an idea.
Recently a friend’s husband transcended this earth and went home. As he lie, bound to a hospital bed, in between the temporal and the eternal, tears fell from her face with the realization that his linear time was coming to it’s end. Though she knew intuitively and held strongly to the belief that he would live eternally with God, the reality of her hand not feeling his ,her bed being lopsided, and her garden being tended alone, brought great grief to her spirit. Having been married for well over 50 years, the magnitude of this transition, the ache of it all made perfect sense to me. And yet, it was as witness to the pain that I came to understand a powerful truth.
My friend said, “I simply can not lose the love of my life.”
I said, “you are right. You can’t.”
Even as the words fell out of my mouth, I knew they were not my own. The weight of their meaning was other worldly. I could almost feel God smiling, “see, Tyler,” He said to my spirit, “Love can never be lost”.
Like a bud opening, extending her petals to the edges of the space around her, this truth began to show it’s self to me. I felt for a moment, the way the great minds of science must have felt when realizing Einstein had discovered a formula, which disproved all that they knew to be true. We can not lose love? It can not be lost? Baffled, I watched as the door opened wider within me.
You see, love does not begin “Once upon a time….” Nor does it conclude with, “The End”. Love doesn’t live in time. Love doesn’t happen to us either. It doesn’t show up on our door step holding flowers, or hold our hand, or even meet us in the face of our children. Rather, love is in us and it is the Other that awakens, reflects, and inspires the thing we already posses. The love I feel for my children was in me before they ever arrived, they, however, awakened it, brought it forth. The love we feel for a lover does not come because we meet the lover, but because we meet our own love in the lover. The love we feel for a friend, an animal, for a world, this love is not because of the friend, the animal, or the world, but because the “other” has awakened love within us. And I pray, we in turn, have awakened love in the Other.
The great lie is that the love is outside of us. And were that true, we would have reason to ache deeper than the depths of the ocean, because we could in fact “lose our love”. Dispelling the lie, we can finally see, this love we crave is actually the craving to awaken the love that is within us. What we are really looking for is the Great Awakening.
I know relationships end. Lovers part ways. People we love die. And grief is essential to the process of releasing the daily experience of that person. Yet I wonder, if we might find these murky waters of tears easier to manage were we to bring with us a bigger boat and a stronger paddle. If we bring to grief the truth that love can never be lost, because it was in us all along, then maybe our ache will look different. Of course we will weep to once again feel the experience of the “other”, but we can rest in that we have not nor will we ever lose the love they awakened within us. For once you have lit the eternal flame, you have begun the journey that neither begins, nor ends, but “was, is, and ever more shall be”.