Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Heavy Burden of Love

In a college acting class, we were asked to do an exercise in "emotional recall": choosing a moment in your life and using the memory of all the environmental details to dredge up the emotions you felt. The moment I chose was the previous Valentine's Day, and the memory was of having my heart broken.

I closed my eyes and remembered standing against the wainscotting next to the kitchen door, the light switches pressing into my back. I remembered staring at the floor and the dining room table. I remembered the tension of the atmosphere and the deadness in the pit of my stomach. And I remembered my loved one telling me and my family that it wasn't my fault, that it wasn't our faults, but that it was time to go. I remembered the footsteps down the stairs and the click of the latch on the door and the rush of tears as my mother left the house, seeminly for good. I remembered the sense of relief afterward at the thought of the severing of this relationship and the lightness of having the burden of love taken off my back. And, when she suddenly reconsidered, the almost unbearable weight of having to shoulder the cross of love again.

This is why, for me, Valentine's Day has never been about the sweetness of love, but rather a memorial of its overwhelming and almost unbearably crushing weight.

5 comments:

Jennifer F. said...

Wow. That's quite a post. Oddly, I've been thinking about that very subject over the past few days.

Speaking of which, I'd love to see a follow-up to that post you did a while back after watching the Food for the Poor video, helping those of us out who feel like we just can't let down our guard too much when thinking of others' suffering lest we become paralyzed with sorrow. (I know that's not 100% related to your point in this post, sorry).

mrsdarwin said...

Jen--

This is a post I wrote last May, about conquering the paralyzing terror of something evil happening to one of my kids. It's not a direct response to your question, but you know how long it takes me to put up new posts...

ernesto pinamonti said...

A very beautiful, almost poetic post, Darwin. You've helped me deal with the tough St. V's Day I'm having. I (selfishly) wanted to be lavished in affection from my wife today. Instead, I've gotten a minimal acknowledgment of the fact that it's Feb. 14 and absolutely nothing else. Then she left the house (for a legitimate purpose) without saying goodbye, something she knows I hate. She's hurting about something that has nothing to do with me. I have to love her through it. It's not easy for me. But your post has reminded me that Valentine's day is about TRUE love, that my love should involve expectations of anything in return. That's how God loves us.

Ernesto Pinamonti said...

oops, I meant should NOT involve expectations...

mrsdarwin said...

Ernesto,

I hope your Valentine's Day will, in the end, will be one in which you not only know that God is love, but are able to experience that love as well.

Funny how the Valentine hype never seems to focus on the fact that St. Valentine was a martyr...