I question if love is worth it.
I thought about getting a dog the other day, but when I did, and thought about the pleasure I would get from it in my life, if I was willing to open my heart, my brain fast forwarded to that same dog in it’s old age dying, and the feeling of loss that would remain. The pain from the loss outweighed the pleasure.
So too, real life love, no matter how I imagine it, has a similar risk. And I have found that it is hard for me to settle in love, when I know the pain of love’s demise.
Of course, there are those who through their hearts out into the world, living with the good feelings that come with connection and belonging, and not thinking about the future. Perhaps those people might have a higher pain tolerance, and honestly, that is a blessing, if that is the case. They get all the benefits of love, but less of the pain.
But I can’t get myself to let go so easily.
At first I thought is was due to not wanting to make myself vulnerable. But I realized that while I am uncomfortable with vulnerability, ultimately, that wasn’t the real issue as I have seen myself take plenty of emotional risks this past year.
The real issue is that nothing can ever compare to the pain of true loss. The wretching, gutteral pain that tears at your bones, and shreds your faith into parts so small they are hard to reassemble.
And once experienced, pain brings love into a whole different light. The naivity can never fade away, and love can be seen for what it really is in all of its glory.
On the other hand, I believe that this lesson, this recognition of the other side of love, can impact me for the positive. It can keep me alert for someone who understands this lesson as well, and can fully appreciate the power love – of connection. Of course, it’s not all in our control, since typically, someone in a longstanding love relationships (and by definition they must all be longstanding) dies first, but other things are more in our control, and this lesson can keep me alert to those aspects.
In truth, this is really just an academic discussion, since for me, I have a strong desire for love, and I constantly find myself holding the gift of love (and to feel loved!) in check, waiting for the person that I think could be a life partner. Put another way, ultimately, I have decided that the rewards of love trump the risk of loss. But the long-term value needs to be there to take the plunge.