I recently overheard someone saying in a conversation that there is no such thing as "unconditional love". I would have to agree, although for different reasons. Love within itself is unconditional. Anything else is only an attempt to love, a learning to get us nearer to the one true knowing of love. It may be honorable, well intentioned, passionate and desiring, courageous and pure. It may be felt as temporary, but if lost easily it may not have been love at all. Love can not be corrupted, but attempts to know love can be thwarted and often fall short of what we hope love will be. This is where we learn we are human.
Love has been experienced as a life of living poetry. Love has been experienced as being the very notes of song, uplifting and generous to the wanting ear. Love has been experienced as the final act of giving one's life for another in battle. Love has been experienced as choosing to give new life to another. Love has been experienced as a devoted oneness with God. Love has been experienced as an endless passionate overflow of emotion in the arms of a waiting lover. Love is defined for us as "strong or passionate affection for a person", or "a warm liking, fond or tender feeling", or " a genuine emotion, emphasizing strength, depth, sincereness, devotion, loyalty, reverence, or passion, as for God, a man, a woman or a belief." Powerful ideas all. We know each of these definitions or ideas for ourselves. What we do with them is what makes us who we are in our lives. And what do you do with the love granted to you each day? How many times do we deny its expression from others because we fear what our own expressions will bring? Are we not denying our creator every time we deny the expression of love?
For the individuals who have experienced separation or divorce, or even the loss of a loved one to death, the separation can be the most traumatic experience we live through. The heart wrenching pain that seems to never really go away, the enormous waves that hit us daily, the times we hit the wall right after a strong and uplifting experience reminds us that we are learning. We are learning about strength, passion for our own life, about our own sincerity in our beliefs, about our loyalty to who we are, and certainly about our own genuineness. We search for that day when love will come again. We search everywhere, everyday, almost every hour. It has been said for centuries that "love is where the eyes meet with passion, for the eyes can not hide what the heart feels." So we have learned to look outward for this eternal love that will fulfill us, forgetting that it must first fill our own hearts. Perhaps that is why we fall into such pain and agony and sorrow when a love affair fails?
It is at that moment that we realize we did not fail the other person we expressed love to, but we have somehow not fulfilled ourselves once again. We combat failure with a misunderstood unfulfilled promise. We lose it, not knowing if we will ever find it again. The emotional tides lift and fall, crash and settle, then lift again. No one else, no matter how much we talk or cry, can pull us through the anxious hours of soul repair and growth. It is our own fire within that needs rekindling, guarding against the winds that would blow it out and leave us dark, cold and helpless. It is at this time we find the love that binds us together with every other being that surrounds us on the planet. Eventually we find the sun still rises to meet us in the morning and the stars continue to show us the way each night. The rivers still flow downstream into oceans that will never turn them away. The trees still reach upward every day praising the God that made them. We stand up straight and take a lesson from it all. What if you woke up one morning and realized that you were the only person left on the face of the earth? Who would you love? Why do we wait so long to start the journey that begins in the same place that it ends?
Love, in all its endlessness, unboundedness and failed definitions is this experience. And in opening up to let it go, without need of owning or even sometimes knowing its return, we open ourselves up to experiencing it more. We expand with the universe and not against it. We feel the stars for the first time. We feel the night for the first time. We feel God for the first time. Love doesn't ask why. It doesn't come. It doesn't go. It just is. It is not only in our hands, it is our hands. It isn't only in our heart, it is what makes our heart beat every beat. It wraps itself around us so securely that all we need to do to survive against all odds is to recognize it as the very breathe we just drew, and the last breathe we just let go. Love is the very Power of the Universe, every beat, every spin, every pulse, every move. And this is what you have to give.