It’s impossible to write about love. To represent it in words would be not only a task unachievable, but seems simply almost a wrong to the love itself, a diminishing of it. It appears feasible and the strange, intense urge to make the love known, both to have everybody around me know that such a love exists and to have Tim know how loved he is, creates the illusion for me that it’s something I can make known. But when I try to fathom its existence into words, to breathe (breathe seems an exaggerative word, but love is living and must be) the true essence of it into a sentence, it just isn’t possible. Not only in some abstract way, for myself, but also, in any way which can really show him what this state of being is, what it gives to me, what it does for me, how it transforms me. How in any way which would do it justice, can you write about love? I don’t mean love in the solely romantic, jittery feelings sort of way (although this is an important part of it). I mean love in the I give up my life for you, to serve your needs, to bear our children, to live every day desiring to make your value in my eyes and the eyes of God known to you sort of way.
I feel this deep desire to tell him every day that I love him, that he is appreciated, that the beginning of this union of our souls which I know will be eternal is everything for me. Every moment it’s what my soul longs to express as it experiences it. We take love for granted, I think. We live the beginning parts of our lives (and for some, our whole lives) imagining that this kind of deep communion is possible, but once it comes for those of us for whom it does come, we greet it and are amazed for some time and then it simply is. We go on living, now with the love, but do we stand in amazement? What a mystery! A mystery as profound as God, if God truly is love as I believe and have been told. And if something is so profound, how can I for any space of time take it for granted? How can I just accept Tim as a part of my life and of myself and not be with him, not be amazed by him? I mean being in the same sense we use it to mean living in the present with God. Being in its deepest sense. Truly being human. If we live in this state of true being, of real humanity, then we have to live in a state of amazement, recognizing the being of the person we love, their humanity, the profoundness of experiencing their soul in an intimate inexplicable way.
I imagine heaven as a state of being in which we are in eternal and profound ecstasy at the amazement of experiencing God. I think we lose that amazement as we grow older. When we’re young, everything is new and everything we experience is a new thing to learn and comprehend and assimilate into our lives and our understanding of the world. From words and language to relationships to flowers to animals to planets and poetry and history. When we first experience the world, we are amazed by it. And then, it’s just the world. We stop standing in amazement of God. I think the same thing happens for our experience of love, but even more importantly for our experience of the person being loved, my experience of Tim. We start to simply accept its existence, rather than being amazed. And of course, I fear it more after having been with him for 50 years, than I do now, yet still it happens now too. But I think, at least for me, my deep and mostly constant desire to make my experience of his being known and understood, especially by him, but also by myself and by others, is my soul’s reaction against this trend toward mere assimilation. In other words, I think my soul wants so badly for this incredible experience, (the experience not only of another person, but of him experiencing me and of sharing each other’s experience with one another), my soul (because God loves me) wants so badly for this experience to be what it really should be, that it attempts to refuse simply accepting my love of Tim and by Tim, rather than wondering at it as a state of being, and it attempts this by a desire to tell Tim just how much I love him…because the fact that I love him and that he loves me is an incredible phenomenon. It’s a glimpse into God and trying to make this known, or at least the desire of doing this, is my soul’s way of reminding me that love is an amazing thing. It’s a physical experience, as much as a spiritual. A surging and tightening of my heart, feeling like I’m too big for my body. When I think about him, there is as much a reaction from my body as from my soul (“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I think it’s something so profound that its very existence in the present moment must suffice. It can’t be experienced in the future because before we have it, we can’t imagine it the way it truly turns out to be. It can’t be experienced truly in the past because once we lose the love, just like any memory, it would fade and be distorted. It must be lived in the present. Love should be a constant attempt to bring ourselves to that state of true humanity where we dwell in the present amazed at existence. That’s why writing about it, or trying to put it into words seems in a way wrong or at least deceiving to me. Because love is something that in its ideal and perfection should be an experience of the present, a state of being with the person, as it is with God. And still, I want so badly to express in words for Tim how amazing he is to me, how much he gives me meaning, how profound my experience of him is.
Fr. Carsten said to me in confession that even if this love doesn’t continue, although he hopes it does, it is a beautiful, wonderful gift that must be appreciated now and how wonderful is it for me to be able to experience it. He’s right. How awesome is it to be in love? It’s awesome! As in awe-inspiring. We say those words all the time. But do we keep that in the forefront of our experience? Do we really recognize the gift the other person is to us? A gift. From God. Something given voluntarily to us without its being earned, deserved, or merited. The gift of an experience, a transformation, a unity.
Do I recognize its profundity?