On Love Spilling Over


You know how you love some people so much that they’re like part of you? Like part of your skin or bones? How sometimes you feel almost stricken with love, overwhelmed and overcome for a moment?

It struck me one day that, if we let in all the love we feel to its greatest depth, we’d probably just explode, melt, die. Our hearts would just sizzle and burn with the heat of so much care. I thought that maybe this is what Divine love feels like – wonderful, but we can only take it up in tiny sips.

We learn very early that some feelings are too much, too intense. We grow cautious, careful; we learn to keep quiet, to disguise or measure out our love. We get hurt. We don’t want to be too vulnerable. We grow afraid of what it would mean, to really give ourselves completely over to love. For better and for worse, that’s a normal part of growing up, of being human. We are always trying to find the awkward balance between caring intensely and guarding our own hearts.

It occurred to me that maybe this is part of what the love room is about….we feel so MUCH love for someone we can never adequately express. But all that love gets filtered through the busyness of everyday life, old hurts and fears, or just differences in styles of expression. Then, after someone is gone, the love room becomes the place, and the time, where that immense, intense love can safely spill out. All that we were unable to share with someone when they were alive floods through us. Maybe that’s why the love room, after someone is gone, feels so rarefied and precious. It’s the tenderest love we felt all along, but could only squeeze out in measured, imperfect drops.

Since my aunt died, and with my own aging, I’ve begun to realize that love matters more than anything else. I want the rest of my life to be about love. I want my heart to be less brittle and guarded; to be strengthened and softened and opened and healed. I pray for that everyday. What else, after all, can we really do in and for this world?

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