Monday, April 23, 2012

This Love by Judith Maxine Barnett

What is it really, this love? How can it be that a person whose very existence I was unaware of a few months ago is as necessary to me today as the air I breathe? Vows that have been taken by lovers for centuries speak of dichotomies: Better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness or health. But at the first sign of weakness, the slightest hint of "worse", my tendency is to run away as fast as I can travel, and the crowd cheers me on.

What of this love, this blossoming potential, this kindling flame? Shall I pour the water of disdain over it and put it out at the first sign of trouble? What then does it really mean for me to love, if I can with flagrant disregard ignore the overwhelming needs of the loved one for my own self-interest? Does that not make me shallow, and unworthy to speak the word?

This is not a passing fling, the hyperbole of a childish crush, a middle-aged move of desperate melodrama. This is the most powerful emotion I have ever experienced. How I can I leave it, unfulfilled? How bleak a future I see, without this heart to hold. I have everything to gain from staying, and nothing to lose but my fear. I have everything to lose from running, and nothing to gain but my cave: the infinite, crawling, empty loneliness of a tiny room, where I can spent the rest of my life staring at the face of regret. To spend the years in silence with nothing but the sound ringing in my head "what if?, what if?".

Love, if it is worth having, must be worth the struggle to preserve it. Having someone hold you in your joy must equate to your willingness to hold them while they cry, or even while they die. If at some distance bedside, we share those final moments, let us go to them knowing that we did the best we could. That we walked through hell, holding hands, and emerged the stronger for it. That above all, when it mattered, we loved each other.


Copyright @2011 - Judith M. Barnett

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