The punctuated notes that mirror our own finite existence fade away.
In there place, the music shifts and a unbroken vibration rises up to that mirror my infinite emotions.
Love reigns supreme. In the absence of love, the absence of love reigns supreme.
There is another song that says:
“Love is an easy word to say, roll’s right off the tongue
Seems to crop up like a weed, in every song that’s sung”
I have people who love me. And there are people I love.
By loving those people I come to know myself, the universe, and everything that I value.
It is through this emotion of love, that I transverse my own inner labyrinth. It is through this emotion of love that the outer world comes to have meaning.
Without love there would be a lot of rocks floating in space. I’m not sure what else their would be of note.
The meaning of love is like the sound that emanates from the stage. Brief moments that seem to last forever, joyous, and sorrowful. Love is both all-encompassing and specific.
The vessels that give me love and to whom I give love are not here right now. Right now the people I love are far away. That absence defines my existence. That absence defines my journey.
Their existence, however it was, whenever it may be again, is an active force on my present. It is the boundaries of meaning.
Love tempts me into hyperbole.
I want to say: love redeems the indignities of life.
I want to scream: love and only love will endure.
I want to say: love makes the world go round.
And maybe all of that’s true enough in some cosmic mystical sense. I have my doubts.
But how does that mysticism relate to the flesh and blood creatures I claim to love?
“I woke today, and felt your side of bed
The covers were still warm where you’d been layin'”
What tenuous thread connects transcendental moments to warm bodies and fitted sheets? How do these occupy the same space? Or, do they?
Here is what I know. I have felt a thing I call love. I have been told I am loved.
And through that love, I have been changed. I love someone, and I want them to be happy. Unselfishly, without expecting anything in return.
They are kind to me. Which opens me up to doing the same for them.
I have felt warm sheets in the space where a body was and smiled.
We gladly make unspeakable quiet gifts from our time and energy and egos. We escape our small limited selves through each other.
We do this, again and again. In ways that are easy. In ways that are painful. And ways that brush up against danger. And in ways that are mistakes. We touch something that encompasses more than ourselves.
Peering directly into that is ecstasy.
This practice expands the heart. It is the foundation for kindness to others who may not return our love.
It opened my eyes to see beauty in new places. Those spaces of exploration contained new emotional contours that make life seem impossibly wondrous.
These implications are cosmic and mystical. They happen while listening to cats frolic. They happen passing food at a shared meal. They happen in quiet conversations. They happen between flesh and blood and bones and skin in mundane moments. They are whispered. They are sung.
Woven throughout this song is a long mournful line, sliding over and over the same ground.
Our bodies are the containers that loss sits in. Love is infinite, but we are finite. We give our hearts to fallible people. Again and again for banal reasons – I hurt those I love. I fail the giving, compassionate, spirit of love in favor of my small self.
And perhaps even more terrifying, sometimes it’s not my fault.
Sometimes people disappear for reasons outside of my control. And they carry part of my infinite mystical love with them.
“You were gone, my heart was filled with dread
You might not be sleeping here again”
And they are gone. And my heart is filled with dread.
What threatens to break my heart in this song, is the utter sincerity. The voice is earnest and heartfelt. Injured, but not cynical. It reminds me of my youth, when I felt things so deeply that the smallest slight could pierce straight through me.
The undying intonation provides no remove, no distance, from the subject. And the subject is really only a couple of lines repeated again and again.
The song clocks in at seven mins, but the song simply tells the same story again with the music filling in the rest.
“It’s all right, ’cause I love you
And that’s not gonna change
Run me round, make me hurt again and again”
Here is the power of love. Though I know my love is contained in broken bodies destined to disappoint, all there is to do is continue to love anyways.
“But I’ll still sing you love songs
Written in the letters of your name”
When that happens, worlds come crashing down. The thing that provided meaning has dissipated. The key to my own heart, given to another, is lost.
I face that suffering as it rings out from the long mournful notes. They pierce through the cynical protections I have foolishly designed. As if they meant anything on this stage.
Where does the bravery to love in the face of devastation come from?
From the only thing powerful enough to make the world go round. The only thing that will endure.
The small touches of bodies, the whispers barely spoken, the scent of rain. These things that let me glimpse the freedom of something larger than my small self. These moments of skin and promises that allow me to explore my inner contours. And see those contours inside someone else.
“I only want to hold you, I don’t want to tie you down
Or fence you in the lines I might have drawn
Love must exist for its own sake if it is to mean anything. If it is to reach its beyond us, then it cannot be only us. We must allow our hearts to be breakable, in fact to be broken.
Yet, of course I want to hold on to the body. Cosmic significance be damned.
“It’s just that I have gotten used to having you around
My landscape would be empty if you were gone”
I look to the future and know for certain that it looks like rain. And that tears will surely come.