It is our most desired experience. We salivate and drink wine for it. And its pulp in our veins makes us do heroic things or convinces us that we can spread our wings and fly. But for the most part, our understanding of love is complicated. We tie so many things to it, a stranglehold that redefines it in our minds and alters what proceeds from our fingertips in its name. We believe love ends. Finishes. Dies. And we all have the evidence to prove it. We can trace relationships where love simply gave up its life; where love was not enough to save that connection. Separation was inevitable and the only way to peace. We know these stories oh so well. We all have them. They live on our skins.
Mine are written in red ink. Splattered all-over my life. Blots of pain here, regret there, and disappointment. They are reminders of the sheer difficulty of life and the hardness that lives in human relationships. I had reached a place where I believed real relationships were impossible. How could they not be? How could they not be when we are all just so imperfect? And love is never quite enough?
These are the questions I burrowed my whole being into for the last eleven years. I sat with them, ate with them, obsessed over them, had fights with them and wrote them down – looking for the colour, volume and texture that would finally explain their mystery to me. And I rewrote them, just incase I missed a syllable or letter; rephrasing and restructuring. Perhaps everything I have ever written before has been about trying to understand love and what humans do with it. And the truth of that is I simply wanted to know why my heart breaks so easily when it comes to people and love, and why these leave an indelible imprint on my canvass.
It turns out heartbreaks tell us something about how we are made to live and move through this world. Heartbreak, like any other pain, means something has not worked right. It means something is wrong; a malfunction. And this something is often, love. Or more accurately, our wielding of it. How we hold it in our hands and use it to express our unique souls to others.
In relationships, there is more coming to love than love coming to us. The act of walking towards love is a choice we make. This, in practice, means love is always there, holding its own and unending. An abundant resource that can be harnessed in the same way water runs through the whole earth in its cycle or the manner of grains coming out of the ground, again and again. Love is always there. What changes is us…our understanding of it and how it proceeds from our fingertips
Relationships get their structure from their core and their core is love. Because we are human we project our failings onto this core and when those failings cause a rupture in the skin of relationships we tell ourselves stories about how love ended, mainly to assuage ourselves. But love was always there. It just became too hard for us to use. From the depths of our being we could not reconcile our thoughts and feelings into the space love hedges. We do things to one another and in the process we forget to walk to love. And when it is just too hard, and sometimes situations indeed are, we walk away.
And this is why the heart breaks – because love doesn’t do its work.
I used to believe the world’s declaration of doom on real relationships, friendships and love. Until I met people who wanted to have this realness with me. My whole world changed with just one friend who is willing to love the way I love; fiercely and with sheer abandon to the requirements of love. And this is what happens when love is used, it changes people.
I am finally learning that love was created to be renewed, everyday.
Like the oxygen we breathe that is never used up but only rearranged, love is renewable because it is never depreciated but instead gets restored and replenished through a process of actions and commitments. Renewing love means constantly choosing it and going back to its beginning. This takes work, of course, but our misconception of love dying is precisely built around the belief that love is responsible for working out relationships, and therefore, when relationships fail, we believe it is because love was simply not strong enough.
Here is a fact: people are responsible for working out relationships, not love. Love is a resource, given to us to bind, grow and sweeten the beauty that is born out of people connecting. Love is the thing that makes relationships work the way they were designed to work. But the CATCH is, love has to be used BY people who are working out their relationships.
Human relationships are hard but love, when used well and full, is the hedge that keeps us from spilling out. Instead of saying love ended, let us be truthful that relationships end because we fail. And we fail to use love for its purpose
It has been many years since I first walked into the arena of the world, naïve and crazy pumped to love human beings with my little heart. Many years since my first heart break. Now, I have profound respect for the work of committed people that rise at dawn with the intention to love better than they did yesterday, people that take each day as another gift to love anew.