Love: The Agony and The Ecstasy

Look at the photo of these incredibly powerful, beautiful dancers from the ballet Romeo and Juliet. Are they in agony or ecstasy? Or both? We know the story of these star-crossed lovers. They are passionate soul mates whose circumstances pull them apart and lead them to untimely death. Damn. I hate it when that happens.

But isn't that the way with love? On the one hand, it is exquisite, thrilling, rapturous, lovely, fulfilling, and passionate. And then that same love can leave you wounded, fearful, angry, confused, and depressed. What gives with love?? We all want it, but boy can it turn us inside out. Even when love gets older and cozy and predictable, suddenly the love rug can be pulled out from under us, and all we can see is that creep who leaves the toilet seat up or the raging Tasmanian she-devil who steals the remote.

Love has so many obstacles, but we still go after it with dogged determination. Why? Because it is a noble pursuit. I think we long for love, strive for love, because it reveals our greatest good. It shows us the depth of our capacity to feel and the measure of our ability to give. It can bruise us, batter us, and reshape us, but we will still knock down doors to get at it.

I suppose it's that way with everything — that there are two sides to the coin. Without black there'd be no white; without sorrow there's no happiness; and without pain, there can be no love. Just as love brings out our greatest good, it also reveals our deepest hurts and most deplorable behavior. However, the unique blessing of love is its remarkable healing powers. It brings out our best and it brings out our worst. But like a sheepish, steadfast puppy, love creeps back in and licks you on the face when you are least expecting it. Unless the wounds are too deep or the walls too high, we almost always welcome love back with open arms.

This Valentine's Day, whether you are single or with someone, my wish for you is to welcome love in your life. Yes, pain is inevitable. But healing and growth are inevitable too if you keep your heart open.