Back in 2000, when the world seemed a simpler place and everything made sense, I would sit with my Chihuahua puppy on my lap as I wrote articles for my website. This one is dedicated to the memory of Riley, my brother and sister-in-law’s magnificent Mastiff, who left the planet yesterday.
The Terrible Truth about Love
There is something terrible about love. Something so profoundly disturbing that it keeps even the strongest at bay. It is an unsettling knowing the moment you care deeply for a person, a pet, an “other”, that you will some day lose this Beloved. Love, the double-edged sword, at once thrills us and scares us half to death.
We gaze with wonder at a tiny being in a crib and love it beyond measure. We instantly worry that this child is born into a terrifyingly unsafe world and we imagine horrifying scenarios. We watch our little puppy with amusement and amazement. It romps so full of adoration for us; so innocent and light. And we are struck with nagging fear that in a fire, burglary, hurricane or other emergency, it could not take care of itself and would be harmed.
In our newlywed state, we adore our new spouse with a fullness of heart unspeakable. And tapping at our consciousness is that childhood fear of abandonment. He could be harmed at work; he didn’t call – there must have been an accident; he may find more interesting pastures. He could die someday and how would I breathe?
Hand in hand with our love, we must learn to deal with the issue of eventual, if not imminent loss.
I hold my tiny four-pound Chihuahua on my lap as I write this. She is focused on licking my arm. Her sweetness transcends description. I want to freeze this moment. I want to come back 40 years from now and she is still patiently grooming her doting master. I know that is not possible. I know that in less than two decades I will be making a decision about her that numbs my heart and sends my tear ducts into a frenzy.
Before I was owned by dogs, I thought dog owners were nuts. Now I know that, just like parents and lovers, dog owners have surrendered to the sword. “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Tennyson could not have said that without loving deeply and then losing that loved one terribly.
When we surrender to love, we surrender to our mortality and to our human-ness. It is in these moments that our compassion grows. The lovers of the world become the conscience for our world community. In our knowing about love and loss, social justice is formed.
August 11, 2000
© 2000-2009 Beth Terry Seminars, Inc.