Instead of lamenting today, know this very raw, simple, truth:
Love is not for the innocent.
It is not for the young. It is not for the pure or undamaged. Lust? Yes. Flirtation? Of course. Crushes? Totally! Love? Nope. The real thing – the kind that everyone wants – is meant for those who have weathered storms; who do not tremble in the face of its danger. Yes, it is dangerous to fall in love. It is dangerous to stay in love, to even attempt it. No matter the outcome, there is permanent change after this tempest rages. Whether we grow steadfast through the storm together, or not. Whether we run from it to higher ground, or not. Or whether it passes us by, leaving us unscathed but somehow yearning to have experienced it just for the sake of the lessons it holds within.
In Pablo Neruda’s poem, Girls, he speaks of love as if it’s a storm off the coast. In youth the excitement of love draws us in, while the words of the wiser warn us to stay off the beach. The rush of the newness. The romanticism of searching for (and finding) the person who will fulfill our wildest dreams and desires. In youth, we never think about the rest of what love really is. Sacrifice, compromise, frustration, even anger can cross between two lovers.
Don’t fight it. It’s just part of the process. From others I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do. I learned that honest communication is always better than polite silence. I learned the quickest way to forgiveness is through a softened heart. I learned love doesn’t always mean you like someone. From infancy, others have taught us the lessons we’ve needed to grow. What have we taught ourselves?
Patience. Temperance. Fearlessness. These are the lessons we teach ourselves. These are the lessons that are hardest to master. These are the lessons that make us strong enough. For love. Yes, we have to fight for it. Yes, there will be disappointments, and broken hearts, and tears. There will be permanent scars; scars that will forever be present in who we are. Love your scars. Build a foundation strong enough for the weight love carries. We can’t forget the lessons but let go of transgressions. Let’s be grateful for the opportunity to learn what love is, whether we’re ready for it or not.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s be thankful for love. Because we all have it, regardless of our relationship status, and we all deserve it. Mediocre love comes and goes, like a warm up for the big show, teaching us and strengthening us for what lies just off the coast. As scary as that storm can be, we can all learn to dance in the rain.
In French, the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is translated to «L’absence diminue les mediocre passions, et augmente les grandes, comme le vent étient les bougies, et allume le feu» – Absence diminishes mediocre passions, and increases the grand ones, like the wind blows out a candle, and ignites fire.
Let’s also ask ourselves – do we want candles? Or fire?
You girls who were seeking
the great love, the great and terrible love,
What has happened, girls?
here it is, see how it passes
dragging the heavenly stones
destroying flowers and leaves,
with a noise of foam lashed
against all the stones of your world,
with a smell of sperm and jasmine,
next to the bleeding moon!
you touch the water with your little feet
with year little heart
and you do not know what to do!
certain night journeys,
certain most amusing walks,
certain dances with no greater consequence
than to continue the journey!
Die of fear or of cold,
or of doubt,
for I with my huge steps
will find her,
or far from you,
and she will find me,
she who will not tremble in the face of love,
she who will be fused
in life or death!