“I love you so much it hurts.” This is one of my favorite expressions and I know exactly when I feel it.
Usually, for Thanksgiving, my family and I make the long and corn-filled drive to West Lafayette, Indiana to see my aunt and uncle. The trip is one of the closest experiences of Hell I can attest to in my lifetime: the scenery is bleak and the sky seems only to get bigger and greyer as we get closer to the destination.
But my light suffering is worth it when we finally pull up to the house and my aunt is waiting for us, peaking through the glass door. Everybody runs to one another and the mood feels so special. And we all hug like we think we will never see one another again– the squishy, hard to breathe spaces in between one another feel like little pieces of eternity–“I love you so much it hurts.”
I’ve heard that love covers a multitude of sins. Love is the balm for a broken heart and love bears all things. But love also hurts. It cuts deeply and is the equalizer of the human experience.
Love to me, like God, is the great mystery of time. Everyone is bound to its mercy and falls victim to its allure. Every time I enter into its chambers prepared to face it with bravery and wit, I am amazed at the lack in assumption of depth I have made regarding love and I am wounded like never before. Foolish Heart!
Maybe this is the experience of God, too. This space between bliss and affliction. Does surrendering one’s life to the divine correlate with a happy, light and buoyant life? I know, this is not the case in God, and I do not believe this is the case for love either.
But, yet, for all the times it knocks the wind out of me and leaves my flat on my back, for all the times it doesn’t come back to me, I still feel like I have more to give.
The more I walk around the space of love in my own heart and I ponder what it means, the more I feel my fear rise. What is love truly about and do I have the strength to find out?
Is it suffering for the ones that you care for? Is it the proclamation of resiliency of self above all? Is it the cognizance of dependence on uncontrollable things beyond one’s “self” or is it the lonely realization that love and attachment cannot exist together?
Could all these questions be in synthesis with one another when describing this elusive thing called love? Probably.
For all my late-night thinking, and beyond my hesitancy, I am so very drawn to love. I ache for it and long to give it freely to others. It is the thorn of my flesh, this capacity for love, but yet it is the soil in which I thrive and grow and exist beyond my own familiar condition.
I’m inclined to think that God cherishes the lovers of the world. The ones whose hearts are bent towards adoration. The ones who suffer for others and save places in themselves for the wounded and lost. The ones who are broken open again and again but continue to poor our mercy and empathy.
This space of love is the song of the redbird in the morning, it is the sunlight on a cloudless day, it is the tears of sorrow in the dark, early morning and the drive of a determined soul. It is the purest essence of the human condition and it is the language of God.
People may say those who love are fools, but I’d rather be a fulfilled fool than an empty critic. And for the times I, and all other lovers, say I’ve loved till it hurts, maybe that’s an indication that we’re doing it right, I hope.