No More I Love Yous
Love never dies when soul meets soul. Our souls never stop loving the significant people who appear as actors in the various scenes in the play of our lives. Because once we ignite the flame of love, no matter how briefly, or how fiercely, devastatingly, that flame burns and chars, Love endures, long after we part, long after we die.
I met my former husband for lunch yesterday. He appeared taller, younger, and happier than I have seen him in years. “She’s the One,” he said, eyes sparkling. “I’m going to ask her to marry me.” Still sprinkled with the glitter of his happiness, I left this man I had lived with for 26 years, my heart a – bloom with flowers of joy for him, for her. There are never No More I Love Yous. The container of marriage may fracture and break under the avalanche of an affair, a cot death, an intrusive in-law. Love affairs are extinguished not with a bang but a whimper, realtionships stagnate as the current of passion dwindles to a trickle. Even in the No More I love Yous, are small seeds of renewal. There are really no “lessons” to be learnt so we do not make the same “mistake “again. Our marriages are the holy sanctums for the in-breath and out-breath, the cycles, and twists, of our soul. From the moment we say our wedding vows, through all the in the years we may spend grinding off each others’ rough edges, even in the heartbreak and despair of the endings, are our soul’s rites of passage; our circling Home.
A divorce can be a sacred act of renewal, if we transcend the power plays, the anger, discard the role of Victim. Love can be transformed into a caring friendship if we are willing to step into Gratitude for all the memories, and experiences of our past, that have made us who we are today. When we are able to look into the eyes of our former tormentor-husband, wife, lover, mother, father, friend – and feel the lotus flower of compassion blossom in our heart, then we will know our own Wholeness. The ancient Greeks knew that Love wears interchangeable costumes: Agape meant the deepest sense of true love, that sense of contentment and mellowness, the holding of another in the highest regard. Eros was understood as passionate love, sensual desire, and intimate love, which did not have to be sexual – it could be the power of beholding something beautiful within that person. Philia was the love of friendship we feel in community and family. So what is this thing, called Love? Even after death, divorce, frozen years of separation, the sacred vows reverberate. We may find, after the atomic fallout, the love we never dared admit, even to ourselves, is there still. We find a wedding photograph, a piece of jewellery, a gift given in the innocence of that love that carries a fragrance of sweet memory. There is remains a fragment of something noble and pure in the the vows we made all those years ago.
These days when I go to weddings, what I celebrate is the Hope that comes, an invited guest, to the bridal table. The noble belief in a love that will endure as the dark storm clouds gather on the horizon. First marriages are sprinkled with Hope and Great Expectations that we believe no man will tear asunder. Second and third marriages are more sober affairs. Jean Kerry said wryly, “being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left.” We are not always wise in the choices we make. We do not always listen to our inner guidance. But in our fumbling, in our folly, in our delusions, will always be the seed of great passion and enduring love.
Says Marion Woodman, “real love happens when soul in the body meets soul in the body. Not in that disembodied world of spirit where we want to be perfect, but in life, where we’re changing the diapers of the one we love who is dying, swabbing the lips, doing things we never thought we could do. Stripped of all pride, of everything unreal, we have no false modesty. Where soul meets soul that is Love.”
How can there ever be No More I Love Yous when Love never dies. It simply changes form.