In the Cause of Love: A Romantic Drags Love
In the cause of love, we do many foolish things. We go out on limbs not built for climbing in order to be gallant and free. We rise up to challenges and escape seemingly hum drum lives casting our hearts into the unknown. We start wars. We end wars.
This is love, we say, never knowing where we will be struck next. And some are touched for entire lifetimes. And some are struck repeatedly in an agony of relationships that start well and end, just as well. We fall in love all too readily.
We know all the clichés of soul mates, life mates, true love, perfect love, etc. etc. We find them heartwarming and grand, romantic even. But when we fall out of love, we fall hard for it is much more difficult to fall out of love than into it. There is nothing very romantic about a broken heart. We cavalierly declare that it obviously must not have been true love; otherwise, we would still be together. And we peer around corners hoping beyond hope that he or she awaits us.
And some love with their bodies and some with their minds and some find even deeper solace loving to the depths of their souls.
For some love like life is a journey. My parents have been married 58 years their offspring divorced at least once. Love is a certainty for my folks. They cannot and will not imagine one without the other. I have never thought that this was the love affair of the ages or one filled with passion and romance. There is a symbiosis between them, an odd dance non-stop for almost 6 decades. I wonder what keeps them going, that secret formula that keeps them together year after year.
I admire them and often stand in awe. I often have enough trouble living with myself let alone another lately. But their marriage is not all hugs and kisses, lovey dovey type thing. In fact, I barely remember the last time I saw them in love’s clench. Actually, I remember quite well as it was their 50th Anniversary. My family is not the huggy type. However, it has improved with living. There is a magic something that links them together from morning to night. The romance is hidden but secreted in their hearts and undying vows.
My romanticism leaps from speeding trains, screams from rooftops and dares to be overcome. I love being in love. Nevertheless, these extreme bursts of romantic fervor last years and not a lifetime as my folks have accomplished. It makes one wonder because it cuts to the core of a lifetime of passion. My parents are a miracle I think to myself. I admire their perseverance and patience.
We speak the words of love. But do we understand the intricacies of what makes love work? Do we know how to love another being let alone ourselves? And which comes first loving ourselves (that whole me thing) or loving someone else? And can you truly love another if you are rather misanthropic about yourself?
How much do you need to know about the soon to be significant other in order to fall in love? Jeez, I know many questions. Well you see I am taking this thing called love apart into all its facets so questions have to come up in order for the answers to be arrived at. I am using my parents as a model because they are still doing it after all these years and what makes them persist as they do?
Love is a Kevlar vest for my heart
I know about my loves and lacks thereof. I tend to dive right in without looking to see if there is water in the pool, without thought, fear or concern. Once in love I feel invulnerable like love is this Kevlar vest over my heart. With hindsight, I can see this is a rather one-sided view of things. A kind of ego ridden love that is so overwhelming that I would need a SuperMate not a SoulMate. Nevertheless, I love the sudden explosiveness in my universe that love brings, that impact of emotion and energy. I live for that passion. I would not wish to go through life without it! However, maybe this explosive passion flares so brightly and then seemingly burns itself out.
Then again, perhaps not, mayhap that flame would be eternal. I have learned much from each of my loves. I have learned that boredom is the fiercest of diseases and punishments.
And I have learned that love must be redefined to be successful. Old school concepts of one heart, one soul, and one love are out the door. The most important lesson being that true love is more the separateness of things than it is the mushing of things together (note: that is a technical definition).
Love is the willingness and the desire for each to be whole, undivided and unique. Co-creation means one creates a team of love (as corny as that sounds). It is the granting of beingness of another and not the desire to be “one” is the complete acknowledgement of your love.
Romantics will of course decry this and what I am about to say. They will feign broken heart malaise and woe is me and other assorted inanities. They will beat themselves with bungee cords or some such. But the fact is when you take into consideration the state of current romantics and climbing divorce rates, what the heck do they really know anyway?
Again, I state most emphatically, it is not the togetherness of things, of two lovers glommed together with Madison Avenue wallpaper and notions of what love should be. No, it is not the togetherness but the unique separateness that counts and if that uniqueness is admired and given life, love blossoms forth.
All too often, we hum these clichés until we run out of tune. Your LifeMate, your SoulMate, etc. is not half of you, they are entities unto themselves. We in a relationship are not halves of anything; we are whole entirely and uniquely whole.
The ridiculousness of this popularized notion of this one beating heart concept is best illustrated when observing the rest of life; like say sports (am a guy ain’t I). Nowhere in the annals of sport does anyone say one player. Players with individual capabilities, characteristics, skills, etc all go into making a great team. The individual is not suppressed by his or her teammates; to the contrary, skills and abilities are enhanced. Some teams even take their comradery off the field and hang out together. Why should love sanely and logically be any different? How did we get the quaint notion that somehow we must divide ourselves down the middle and join the other person to make one whole person? When did we decide to be our soulmate instead of ourselves?
Strength is determined and created by two beings creating together, not whittling down to one or even two with broken hearts. It is the uniqueness of the players that make a great team, not the identicalness of them. This is after all the game of love.
There are those that may now shout that I am removing the romance from love with such analytical statements. And draining the tragedy from broken hearts is blasphemy and sacrilege. I gotta tell you, there is nothing at all romantic about abuse and divorce.
Is it not time to put love on a new level with new ways to measure its impact and affection? We live in the 21st Century now and communication capabilities have truly sped up our lives that are just full of yesterdays and some tomorrows. We live with hindsight have little foresight and I would recommend midsight, i.e. looking at now and seeing what is without hindrance of past or future.
Let us put love back on the pedestal where it belongs, something exalted and striven for not to be tossed into like a tsunami of emotion. Let us redefine love based on communication and understanding and not a dartboard.
Admiration coupled with desire and passion would indeed mean true love for it could not be anything else. And you know he or she may just be around the corner.
Larry Jaffe Bio
Jaffe is the Co-founder and International Readings Coordinator for the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry program and Co-Founder of Poets for Peace. Jaffe is the Editor of Poetix the poetry magazine for southern California. He has been the resident Poet/Host at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and produced a number of successful reading series in the Los Angeles area including the popular Buddha Jam Poetry Series at the Elixir Café and Poetic License at the Moondog Café.
He has featured at numerous readings and poetry festivals throughout the United States and abroad including the Hammer Museum, Japanese American National Museum, Dylan Thomas Centre, Comedy Store, University of Texas, UCLA, UC Northridge, Los Angeles, Austin International, San Luis Obispo, London and Bristol Poetry Festivals.
Jaffe’s work can be found in numerous publications and anthologies like Short Fuse, Off the Cuff, 100 Poets Against the War, Urban Spaghetti, Saturday Afternoon Journal, Web Del Sol, PoetryMagazine.com, Will Work for Peace, The World Healing Book, The Book of Hope, etc. Jaffe’s books include Jewish Soulfood, Unprotected Poetry CD and the recently released The Anguish of the Blacksmith’s Forge. His book of poetic noir L. A. Rhapsody is getting ready for publication and Salmon Publishing in Ireland will soon be publishing his Lying Half-Naked in the Doorway.