There was a time when I felt that this made loving into a grand adventure. When I actively chose love every day, with boldness, with defiance even. Who cared that loving left me open to pain? Not me. I could handle that. What I couldn’t handle was being too much of a coward to love. I had enough courage to reach out, and to keep on reaching out.
Now, it’s a bit different. Due to the insanity of the last three or so years, I’ve lost or misplaced quite a few of the friendships I made during university–during that time when I felt that I was making truly independent choices in who I would reach out to. People don’t talk much about collective grief, the loss of a community. It’s real enough, though, and more than I bargained for, though perhaps not more than I deserve after my devil-may-care attitude. I still reach out to others, I still love, for life would be black-and-white without that. I would not be myself.
But it has become more rote and less personal. I often feel like asking, “what’s the use?” I take people into my heart, and they only leave again. I’m tired of that, yet I know it will never change.
Then, too, I see others loving freely, seemingly not hurt as much by the little losses, the little separations. I wonder, why am I different? Why do I feel the departure of each and every person so significantly? Why does it have to hurt so much?
Today I was reading an article by John Granger, on Christian imagery in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and read this: "[There are] some notable 'love moments' in Phoenix[, such as] Dumbledore telling Harry that his grief is a reflection of his love: 'The fact that you can feel pain like this is your greatest strength' (37). Grief is the experience of love spilled out of the heart for an object that cannot return it and, in that reciprocity, stop the out pouring. Grief is a burst dam of love."
Suddenly I am back in my university days. I am not some strange being, nor do I react in an abnormal way to the universe. I am simply gifted with the ability to love–and need to remember and accept, once again, that pain is not a punishment for loving, simply an unavoidable part of it. The greater the ability to love, the greater the capacity for pain.
If I want the one, I have to be ready for the other. It’s not a sign of weakness, that I hurt so much; only the flip side of my strength.
And it’s the one weapon I have to fight against evil. Love conquers Death.