Falling in Love Lasts an Instant, but Love is Forever
To love is to touch the infinite and, at the same time, to discover that our arms can never fully reach it, no matter how far we extend them. This is the great paradox of love: it feels eternal, but it ends. It ends, but it never dies. With love we discover a new logic, one in which everything and nothing constantly flirts with each other. True love is forever.
The verb “endure” is imprecise when it comes to love. It is a word that better suits objects, rather than emotions. Love is a dynamic reality, it changes, it modifies itself, it mutates and goes through a metamorphosis as time passes. It is because it goes through all these processes that it persists, it never dies, only changes.
“In a kiss, you will know all that I have kept quiet.”
If we speak of the love of children, parents, brothers, or friends, the degree of stability is usually higher. The love between a couple is a different thing entirely. This is especially true if we take the perspective that romantic love is something that stays static and eternal. In reality, this type of love ends relatively quickly. It is said that “eternal love lasts three months.” It is the most intense, but most fleeting phase of love.
Love is an infinite instant
We will first speak of the love between a romantic pair. This is one of the most problematic for almost everyone. We are heirs to an idea of romantic love that was constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries. An idea which has continued to loom over our culture. This idea, in turn, is the child of idealism, which has had so much influence in the western world. It is understanding of love that makes us speak of “soul mates” and lovers who live happily ever after.
In reality, there is a moment in which we fall in love, which any one of us could swear feels like the feeling will last forever. At this point in the relationship, we can’t even imagine how what we feel towards our partner could change. In this state of quasi-insanity, we unintentionally lose our sense of proportions. That is why we promise and swear that this love will last forever.
This type of love generates elevated expectations. Although the promises and vows don’t say it specifically, it seems that what is offered and expected is that this state of plentiful and strong romantic love will be maintained. It is from these disproportional expectations that the first disillusions are born. Love does not get rid of our miseries, pettiness, or limitations.
Sooner or later, realities appear that destroy the idealized version of romantic love that we have created. In the end, falling in love becomes an obstacle to love. Falling in love feels delicious, there is no question about that. However, it can raise our emotions to such a height that it prevents us from seeing the greatness and the restrictions of what we feel. If we overcome this obstacle without trauma, the true path to love begins.
Love is forever, like a tree
The metaphor of the tree is a useful one. It shows that something magnificent and grand can grow from a tiny seed, and that the destiny of everything that lives is to grow and reach for the sky. The tree, once mature, has flowers and fruits which put forth new seeds so a new growth can begin, a new story.
So too, is love. Once it germinates, nothing can stop it. It will continue growing and bearing fruit, re-initiating the cycle forever. As love expands, you will see that it is like an oak or cherry tree. Do not hope to keep it the same forever, exactly the opposite. Every day something is going to change and, even if it dies, it is not dead: it will be the start of something new.
If we truly love, we do so forever. Parents love their children and children love their parents, even if they are not together, even if they have died. Friends love each other in good times and bad. Siblings love each other, whatever vicissitudes may present themselves. They love each other, even when they hate each other. After all, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.
The love between romantic partners can also be a story without end. Even with all of the break-ups, divorces, abandonment, whoever has been genuinely in our heart, will always have a place there. Each one of these loves writes at least one line in a story that cannot be erased. A story which leads to deeper paths of who we are and who we have ceased to be.