Friday, July 30, 2010

The 50/50 of Love

Lately I have been engaged in several dialogs with friends about love, and find myself thinking about it as one of the ultimate examples of the 50/50 nature of life: equal parts joy and pain, fun and work, sureness and precariousness, love and hate. I could go on forever with metaphors like a double-edged sword, a two-way street, and a black and white cookie, but will stop before this gets too tedious. Instead, I give you the yin and yang of love as portrayed by two men whose work I admire, Eric Clapton (the video) and Neil Gaiman (the quote below).

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

With the end of a long marriage, the continued blossoming of deep friendships, the beginning and end of an affair, and the exploration of self-love all swirling around my emotional core, I remain wondering about it all, but firmly aligned with Alfred Lord Tennyson,

"Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all."

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