Recently, I came to a staggering observation.
The amount of time that we, individually and collectively spent on pursuing, learning about, formulating stories, even satiating our minds with dream scenarios of ‘romantic love’ is supreme. This begins with what we are taught as children, moving into adolescence and beyond; what romance may look like, proper attire for romantic encounters, even learning about courtship rituals from societal structures and social norms. What turns women and men off, how to find the right partner, the importance of marriage and stable relationships in society, how to render women hairless in order to attract men to their bodies; it seems that romantic love has taken supremacy in our society and our lives .
I must admit that I have fallen privy to a few ‘do or die’ romances that crushed me into fine jewels after they fell apart, forcing me to re-examine myself, even my values and my interest in future relationships. I observed myself thinking about relationships in very different ways, depending on my life cycle, circumstances and age. As one gets older, age refines a person’s taste and hopefully, brings wisdom in romance as well.
We make way for what complements us, rather than granting primary importance to physical attraction.
But, it wasn’t until my father’s recent passing; a fight that I watched for over 8 months day in and day out, that I made an important life realization. And this was, that there is no higher love worth fighting for than unconditional love.
The kind of love that feeds a once competent, strong individual, mashed potatoes in their hospital bed, trying to keep up your strength and hope that the situation is simply, passing. The kind of love that enables you to encompass a being with the utmost and heartfelt attention, praising each day that you have time together. The kind of love that would enable you to give anything for a chance at the beloved and their life. Unconditional, unwavering, pure love for another. There is nothing greater; there has been nothing greater in my life.
The kind of love that I felt for my father, though we quarreled in life greatly, grew with each month that he fought with his cancer. As he passed, my love (and grief) multiplied, realizing that I loved this man so much that his bigotry no longer bothered me, nor the nights of screaming and yelling at each other. My love for my father became pure and unconditional when he left my world, which is quiet the oddity, but through the grieving process I am, and have learned that to love this deeply, to feel this deeply about a soul who has left this life, is the truest and deepest type of love there is; unconditional love, the kind that I believe would restore our humanity and bring us closer to grace and divinity.
Everything else just fell sideways.
My perspective changed so much by watching his battle, and watching my love for him grow ever more so, as I knew he was slipping away. I am unsure, but I don’t know that I can look at ‘love conventional’ the same way again. The experience has made me understand that love, true love, is the deepest sacrifice and the deepest gift that one can bestow upon another.
The words “I love you,” became magnified, and now I see love differently. As I kissed my father’s hands, I am certain that this profound love dripped inside his body, though he was unable to express it.
I watched love build itself through the loss of someone I loved deeply. At that point, it mattered not if I was attractive, if I had shaved or not, my past relationships were insignificant (not irrelevant), my behavior nor my attire mattered; all that mattered was being present, truly exhibiting love to a human being that attached himself to my soul.
I say this not to dissuade anyone from pursuing romantic partnerships, but for a second, to stop and think that every time we think or act with a gesture of love, we are indeed tapping into something that is significantly greater than any of us can imagine. Perhaps that is why we have placed it in a box; something to pursue, to achieve. But love cannot be contained, for I believe that to love is a soul’s truest purpose, and the full extent is not ours to understand.
And so I ask you consider this; what if love is truly Divine?
Love is full only in the ether
the realm of humanity cannot grasp such magnitude
feelings of longing soul to soul
breaking apart sutures in hope of eternal flesh,
the love you feel for another is so lovely,
but the love you become
once you are made complete,
is truly divine.