“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
Yesterday, I got an astrology reading from an alumna of my alma mater. She had recently finished her masters at Pacifica Graduate Institute and I felt like someone who went to both my college (St John’s–look it up) and Pacifica would be someone who might understand my approach to things. She had dubbed herself an “archetypal astrologer.” The reading had to do with a particular relationship that has held me back for several years. It was one of those “this seems fated”/”I think I’ve known you before” relationships that flared up in a lot of weird, intense energy that then crashed and burned into nothing–or something to that effect.
That astrology reading helped me understand all of that. That it was not a relationship that was going to necessarily go anywhere in the future. That the pain it had caused me was real and could be read in our composite “relationship” chart. She said my Sagittarius moon would never get its needs met in that relationship, because some planets, Saturn and others, formed a significant square (I don’t know much about astrology but I have learned that squares are not good.) Another difference was he was born during a waxing new moon and I during a waning crescent one. The astrologer said something like “people born during waxing moons tend to want to change the world while people born during waning ones tend to be more focused on fixing themselves and their relationships.”
I have long suspected that I have projected a deified version of myself onto this person, refusing to accept, or even see, his very clear humanity. I put him on a grand pedestal and gasped in shock when he turned out to be wildly different from my expectations. I have wondered if the person I was looking for in him was available somewhere else, perhaps in my very self. Perhaps the selfishness and self-obsession, even, were in me, not him.
For a long time I would pretend difficult people were little children and that would help me deal with them, unless they were flat-out dangerous. It would, magically, help me have compassion for them and for myself. Dealing with children is as delightful and unglamorous and difficult as can be, but the reality is you will never meet better humans than children. The idea that children (or anything, or anyone) need to be changed is a lie told by society and it has been told for many, many years. If I imagine him as a child I owe nothing but basic respect to, who can’t give me anything, then I have to sit and think of myself as such, and realize I was involved in a very long and nebulous playground argument, nothing more. But we get so caught up in the story that we are imperfect and we must seek to perfect ourselves through the love and approval of other people that we can’t see when even that societally-sanctioned means of getting our needs met and fulfilling our self-flagellating role isn’t working. “That person clearly doesn’t like you, and it has to do with them, and not you.” “Really? But that person is like GOD. I will TRY AGAIN.” And again and again and again.
Victor Hugo said, “To love another person is to see the face of God” and it is true, we human beings are like God. But our flaws and our incompleteness make us need to rely on the presence of a real Higher Power (whatever that happens to be for each of us) because the fragility of our own egos combined with the vulnerability of our states makes the enormity of the role of GOD too much to bear for a wee person. And yet, love, that thing that will allow us to let a human be who they are and God at the same time, elevates us to the status of divine without having to be anything special. Loving is like peeking behind a veil at holy fire you never imagined. It ignites your heart and softens your worries and gives life meaning. So letting it go (even if that makes it attachment, not love) is hard.
But you get to keep those glimpses behind the veil. You get to keep the sight of that holy fire. You get to keep the beautiful little thing you swaddled and loved in your secret heart for so many years and that person never knew their preciousness to you and if they had they wouldn’t have born it. Love is like that. It is beautiful. It is embarrassing. It pops up uninvited and unwanted and stays and stays and stays, singing an annoying tune like Gregorian Chant and bringing tears to your eyes while you’re trying to conduct a zoom meeting. It restores you by sawing you in half, and realizing one half was never even you. And you sit and wonder, what else isn’t you? What is? Is that love?
You hope so. That’s all you know.
If someone is making you feel like love is pointless, don’t believe them! Never believe them. Once you love you can’t get rid of it, so send it on its way, to do its beautiful work in this world full of Doubting Thomases with broken hearts. If the only thing you get back is the knowledge the your heart did its work, then you know you did what you were supposed to.