Love does fill,
And love will empty,
For love we spill,
And love makes us envy.
It brings out our best,
And certainly our worst,
It can be divine rest,
Or hell disbursed.
The ‘Bright Star’ That Is Love
In the Jane Campion directed Bright Star (2009), depicting early 19th century poet John Keats’ life, his beloved, Fanny Brawn, exemplifies the horribly bipolar nature of love. From depths of hellish disdain, where life is not simply an empty room, but by torture, the heart aflame in vestiges of pain, she glides upward to existential heaven, but then back again, and back and forth she vacillates. Love, here, has no middle ground.
We cannot control love. If she were a person, she’d appear to be despicably sadistic. If love were a man, he’d appear to be nonchalantly uncaring. But on a different day love would be better than life, for love is God’s, and blessing isn’t the half of it as far as our feeling is concerned.
Love is a bright star. It has power remarkably mysterious, and if we would live life, giving ourselves over to risk, we would need to climb into bed with love. We would need to commit. Love’s power compels us to choose.
Love asks us, “Do we care?”
And if we care, and usually we do, we stand to be both blessed and burned by love. The way of commitment knows no middle ground.
This bright star called love insists we get in, boots and all. There’s no transformation without pain. We get none of love’s benefits without sowing ourselves into the dough of life.
Treading Softly On Hard Realities
One of the great confusions of the faith-life is in the misplaced stoicism that suggests ‘resilience’ is the be-all-and-end-all. It doesn’t leave much hope for those hurt by love, or those timidly treading, wanting to enter in, but genuinely scared that they don’t have what it takes.
Love may be a hard reality in the way it deals with us at times, but just as much it makes a generous allowance for softly-softly approaches for us to draw near. Love is a great and compassionate teacher if only we can connect with the love of God sourced deep within us.
Deep within us we care for ourselves. God is intimately part of us in this.
Whilst love can be brutal, it is underpinned by a softness available to anyone who draws openly near. Love can heal our hurts, but only when we open ourselves up in truth. That takes much courage, and it’s the journey with no clear destination.
Romantic love both blesses and burns. It takes us to dizzying heights and abysmal depths. It is paradoxical. But the secret of love is in hope for future blessing. Love teaches us when it burns, if we’re open to learning; to risk again, when we’re ready. Love can heal our hurts, but only when we open ourselves up in truth, at our time and at our pace.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.