• Love - Reflections in Broken Glass

last modified August 17, 2012 by strypey

Part 1 of a 4 part series on the Bohemian virtues of Freedom, Beauty, Truth and Love

By Danyl Strype

Love is an enduring theme in art, history and experience. From ancient mythologies and half-remembered legends to modern films and multimedia installations, stories of love emerge as an enduring motif in creative expression of all kinds. Love is an integeral part of what it means to live a human life.

There are many kinds of love. There is love of our family, our friends, our community, our people, our town or country. Parent's unconditional love for our children and children's innocent love of our parents. The love of all humanity described by Christ in the parable of the good Samaritan, the loving compassion for all life written in the stories of the Bhudda and the love of the living earth woven into the songs of tribal peoples.

Of all the diverse varieties the kind of love most notable in human creativity is romantic love, the passionate dedication of our affection to one person over all others. William Shakespeare wrote often about love but Hamlet's lament of "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" describes the experience of falling through the cracks of love better than his more oft-quoted lines about roses and many-splendoured things. Love can be a fickle friend. Arriving without arrangement, consuming all our time, energy and dedication, emptying our emotional pantry and departing as swiftly and unexpectedly as it comes.

Love lives on trust. To trust in love is one of the bravest things a person can do. It asks us to open ourselves to the possibility of pain, pain of the most crippling kind, pain that pierces into our deepest vulnerabilities and brings into question everything we believe about who we are. Love can bite. Loves can sting. Love can tear us to shreds with claws like razor blades.

Some of us give up on love and move through life alone for fear of being hurt. Anyone who gets too close and cares too much is pushed away in favour of more indifferent friends. Some of us protect ourselves by hiding in loveless relationship contracts. In public we wear clown paint, an exaggerated smile concealing a lonely soul. Avoiding the risk of loss we risk the loss of the greatest heights of human experience.

Nothing compares to the explosions of light that fountain up our spines and set our minds on fire when we love someone. Nothing compares to the intensity of inspiration, the enthusiasm for life, the fervour for creative work that can be fuelled by its fire. There is no deeper touch between two people than a caress conceived in the womb of pure, unquenchable longing for the object of our heart's desire.

No casual rubbing of flesh on flesh and no friendship, however lasting, can substitute for the absolute meeting of body, mind and spirit, the unconditional gift of ourselves to our beloved. True love knows no distance. We can feel a lover's touch from the other side of the world and hear their whispered words of wanting from the depths of a cosmic vacuum.

True love does not wait as it knows no time. True love exists in the moment, in gentle affection, in furious copulation, in the comforting presence of our lover in quiet moments alone and in the midst of chaotic crowds. Life is short and all things pass in time but the anticipation, the experience and the memory of true love make it infinite.

Whether we yearn for another soul with whom to bond or wait for the invasion of love into our emotional terrain with trepidation, true love is an unpredictable ambush by the universe and the embrace of its subject a leap of faith into the unknown. May we all find true love or more rightly may it find us.

I dedicate this to my soulmate Emma McGuirk. You will always have a piece of my heart, angel, care for it well as you would your own.

Originally published in Boheme Magazine (February 2005)

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