A Meditation on Love

There are those who feel that love is inherently traumatic. The seismic waves of emotion—they’re “feelers” these folx—pound them mercilessly, and not in the good way. If you’ve ever felt ‘emotionally flooded,’ you might know what I’m talking about. Or grief. That’ll do it. If you’ve felt grief, you’ll know about this aversion to the more intense aspects of love.

When I was married, romance was the joint bronze calf we worshipped on the matrimonial altar. All could be smoothed over, much could be ignored, with the right gesture. The effort taken to make the gesture was the important thing, not the thing itself (being that love that doesn’t always lend itself to words). We wallowed in sentimentality precisely because it distracted us from the brunt of the love between us. The constant cards, favors and flowers seemed to be insuring us against the end. The incontrovertible fact that, on the physical plane, love ends.

So, what of our metaphysical heroes/sheroes/theyroes straining against terrifying intensity, trying to guard against the exploding of the heart? If you had the kind of soul that could simultaneously feel the end of love at every beginning, would you ever allow yourself to feel that accursed emotion again? How could you feel safe to?

Today is supposed to be the day of romantic love, but I no longer understand romance. Sex, that’s something I understand. Touching human acts of service, not mere gestures are more prized to me these days. That elusive safety, self-generated. I struggle to contain all the love I feel—for my children, my parents, partner, people, humanity, my dog, for god’s sake—but resolve today to stand steady against the wave. I will allow myself to love, as much as I can, and so today I will love you, as well as I can. And on its way to you, that love will rub and bump against my insides, where I’ll store it up for another year…

Claire Mae, by the genius Nathanial Mary Quinn


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