The pain of the loss of love feels endless to the heart because the heart has no sense of context and can not tell time. It just pumps and only knows how to love. It does not respond to reason and, in fact, it can be very cruel to our hearts, in my experience, when they are gauzed up by the dings of life, to demand it to be rational or linear and impose anything on it beyond gentleness.
When love breaks us, it breaks us open. And that openness makes us more willing to receive. The poets would write about lovers being transformed by grief into mulberry trees and cows and birds and the whole night sky because it is only these things that can contain us and sustain us amid the crazy storm of loss that rips us apart from the inside when we lose love, or appear to. But again, the heart can’t tell the difference.
In those states, we expand because we have to. All of life bursts open and carries us into the Wild where we are bathed in the divine and learn of the great source of this love we have but a dull glimmer of when we hold our dog, or our lover’s hand or …
It makes us mad and bold and capable of doing the impossible. This love. It is the nitro that propels all great human achievement and mothers or fathers to take on a second job and live in their car as they commute between the two. It makes the stars closer and the agony of being and fear of nothingness vanish under its pure light. In the end, it is all there is. As Dylan says on Nashville Skyline, “it makes the world go round.”
But when that light goes out it can be dark. And in that darkness, even more is revealed. The ocean is deep, yes, but not as deep as that dark. There is no dark darker. According to other interpretations of the Bible, it is the absence of love that is hell. And that was Satan’s punishment for loving God too much: To be cast into exile. Into permanent night.
So we learn to light a candle and fumble on. We learn that love can be a deceiver. That it can betray our hearts and attacks our belief. When the lover is apart from his or her beloved.
Modern days society likes to diminish the profundity of great love into clinical terms and things that make us feel like we are even more broken because we love poorly or too much or not enough… or whatever other buzz word we use to feed our own fear of inadequacy or myth of unlovability or yadda yadda … There’s no drama in it, just fact. Our hearts are dumb. And there is no flaw in that. If they were not dumb we would never populate the human race. Or attend an opera. Or read a poem. Or …
It’s what makes us alive. It’s the price of being human. This thing in our chests that beats. For that which we love or hope for or… share. It is the very drum of life itself.
That’s why them poets talk of gods disguised as beggars and the forest coming alive by the pain of grief. Hell, it’s why birds sing. Cross oceans and take up homes in strange lands. But our society teaches us to run from pain, to deny it, to narcotize it, dull it. But If we allow ourselves to make love to the pain itself. Not in a gimmicky or self
Indulgent or victim way- but simply feel it, we are transformed like all lovers into something greater. The heart can’t help but expand. And love.
It is the only thing that has ever inspired anything of great worth. To live fully, you must love fully. And to love fully, you will lose greatly. Or feel like you have for a time. But to love without attachment, freely, that’s the target, the moving target Cupid sets his bow on.
I am of the belief that love is our natural state. Pure consciousness expressed as love. But we forget it so easy. We get pulled into the day by day and the bells and whistles and demands of us as House holders and lose perspective. These are things that lovers know. About each other and the world. Those common secrets that when whispered we steal from one another and don’t miss till they are gone. The little things. And the moments shared in the intimacy of our lives and when that ends, or rather changes – it leaves a void. Memory haunts for a time, but sooner or later we begin to feel whole again. The heart is a resilient thing. It can break a thousand times or more and still go on performing its function. Thank god it was designed perfectly to compete its single task; to make us not feel so alone on this earth as we move from day to night. It is less than a yard from our brains but sometimes it takes a trip around the moon or more to travel that span and return home to ourselves.
O gracious love you teach us always to emerge and rise with bigger hearts more capable of loving. And more willing to share that love freely. It is the one great commodity in the world and the only true inexhaustible resource. There is love. And there is fear. Period.
So here’s to all us crazy fools out there risking love with full knowledge of the cost of it all- the promise of loss. Let us not contort ourseles into formulas to self-improvement, but simply let our cups overflow. Isn’t that what the prophets ask us from time to time?
What a divine comedy it all is. The promise that we will all let each other down and yet, the real hidden miracle is that we can go on loving. After loss. And more loss. And disappointment. Without cutting ourselves off or deluding ourself with some proxy. That takes courage. Great courage and faith. And a dumb heart with a poor memory. Without which we would be surely lost. That’s what Zorba would advise as he plants trees he will not ever see grow. Sir George Harrison I’m sure put it better, but I think he sung in praise of that same kind of Blake-like innocence love returns us to. It admits us back into the garden for a time. But as guests only.
Maybe that’s why we sing in praise of it for as long as we have. The song keeps the melody alive in our hearts long after the bruises vanish. I haven’t been able to pick up my guitar. But I know I will. In the meantime:
“ I’ll take the high road or you take the low road and we will meet somewhere in Scotland on the Bonny Bonny banks of Loch Lol…” as the folk song goes, and goes ,and goes… on and on– while the world spins and somehow doesn’t fall out of gravity and collapse by the weight of all our dreams. And so we love on, and on. And volunteer. Show up for those in our lives with our missing parts. Or we get a dog. Maybe all great lovers return to us as dogs … I think Ovid touched on that in his Metamophasis. Or should have.