Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Love Hurts and It Should Sometimes

I'm reading through boxes of old letters researching a writing project that my friend, the redneck noir author BH Shepherd, has persuaded me to tackle (or die trying). The love letters from my first love are an interesting time capsule, listing the things we predicted would happen after high school graduation:
  • we would move on to meet and love others,
  • we would each eventually be displaced as the relationship standard against which new prospects are measured,
  • we implicitly acknowledged that it would be a struggle eventually to stay in touch.
Indeed, all those things came to pass, and re-reading the words that tore at my barely-callused high school heart, it hurt that those things didn't hurt more when they happened - as my younger self had hoped they would.

Why did I hope that it would hurt to move on, when many are afraid to stick even their bare big toe in the murky waters of love?

If love could NOT cut you down to the ground, would you want it? If it wouldn't hurt when your child lies to you, would it mean anything when he or she said, "Mommy, I love you"? You cannot love without exposing some vulnerability, and why would you want to? Even if you could love without feeling pain, would you learn anything about your soul's topography in the process?

There is a logical argument (as in explanation, not debate) for the stinging phenomenon of love, but knowing why is not the same as knowing that
"there are sharks in the water
but the only way to survive

is to breathe deep
and dive."

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