Only a few more days to plan, shop, surprise your loved one. If only it were that simple! And why confine expressive loving to one special day? Is not love magic everywhere, everyday? Ask and you shall receive a range of answers fitting one's age and perception.
Tune into most any current movie, lovesong, TV show and you will find abundant passion, lust, crazy love, unrequited love and lots of drama! This week's episode of The Bachelor was recorded in the Black Hills, the Badlands and Deadwood, SD. It epitomizes and exaggerates the actions of young people on the prowl for a mate. Hopefully it is not a universal representation of everyone in this phase of life. I like to believe that most of us have some well founded values, some sensibilities, some means of choosing that are genuine and that lead beyond infatuation to lasting love.
Do you remember yourself at this age and stage? So young, so intense, so certain, so believing happily ever after with this one soulmate. And so uniformed and inexperienced in real love that is not eg0-centric.
Sammy Cahn tells us in the lyrics of "The Second Time Around" that - love like youth is wasted on the young. But if the flirtation, the infatuation, the physical intimacy did not contain some truth and an awakening of possibilities, our species would be extinct! Young love is a requirement in our life cycle.
In "Fiddler on a Roof" Tevye asks - and persists in asking - his wife of 25 years, Golde: "Do you love me?" Golde replies with a list of all that she has done to prove she must love him: cooked his food, cleaned his house, gave him children, milked his cows, washed his clothes. And still he asks, "But do you love me?"
At last, in this stage of loving, he is asking all the right questions! This is the turning point, the mid-life crisis. What does all of this mean? How do you feel? The emphasis clearly is shifting from me to you to us. Here the road branches, the answers determine the way forward. This stage is also required in our love life cycle.
Rufus Wainright adds some lines to Leonard Cohen's original song "Hallelujah": love is not a victory march, it's a cold and a broken hallelujah. Truly the real work of love entails brokenness. We come to see ourselves and our beloved as the flawed and broken beings that we are. At the same time, we come to know the valiant attempts we each make to be more than our broken selves. To draw on strength that we didn't know we had. To be wounded and to heal. To wait when we don't know why or what the outcome will be. To stop keeping score. To be kind. Our human love is always conditional; unconditional love is God's gift, not ours. But we strive to attain it in our living with one another. It helps us begin another day .... and another.
As we surrender to our humanness and frailty, our rawness, our selves that we hide from, we may grow into the beauty of deep, mature love. We may discover the true purpose of love, relationships, all the essential cycles of our love life:
"in streams of light I clearly saw the dust you seldom see,
out of which the Nameless makes a Name for one like me.....
when I came back from where I'd been, my room it looked the same,
but there was nothing left between the Nameless and the Name."
-L. Cohen, Love Itself