What matters is that you love…

Fringes and Frontiers
Rhoderick Abellanosa
Rhoderick Abellanosa

It has been three months since Valentine’s and still social media is filled with articles, quotes, and discussions on love. 

Contemporary culture is conflicted when it comes to love. People keep on talking about its meaning, yet they are lost in the confetti of relationships.

Often, love is confused with what is merely its accidental or coincidental bits and pieces.  

Love must be acted out. It is an experience and an existential state, not a concept. One needs to go through the test of being accepted or rejected. In most, if not all, cases, both are involved in the dynamics of love. 

That is why an experience of love necessarily begins with self-communication. An unknown love is no love at all. It cannot be kept because it is more than just a feeling, it is a choice to go beyond oneself. Self-giving is the incarnation of love. Because of this, risk is always involved, and no calculation or estimation can guarantee whatever success or failure may happen in the process. 

Success or failure, however, cannot be our point of departure when we love after all it is not a career or a scholastic achievement that can be captured by metrics of certitude. The only way to know what it is to love is to enter its world and only hope that it will be reciprocated in return. 

Anything done out of love is in danger of not being repaid, but if love is a "choice,” then it must be made with all its gambles and possible failures. In the end, the experience of love is itself an achievement, nothing more, nothing less.

What we are seeing right now is a world that is afraid to go through the real test. This is evident in the various apps all around that offer compatibility tests. We forget that although compatibility is an important element of love, the latter always transcends whatever “practical matching” that we can think of.

C.S. Lewis tells us that “to love at all is to be vulnerable.” Pain and hurt are natural (even logical) consequences of falling in love.  He adds: “If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal.” But a protected heart is not a human heart. The avoidance of pain in exchange for safety is not humanizing. The refusal to show what your heart truly desires is, to borrow Lewis’ words, like locking yourself “safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness,” where you experience nothing but a “dark, motionless, airless, and changeless” life.

The greatest love stories involve friction. There is chaos in love as much as there is order. And while love is nothing but romantic, it cannot be romanticized as a condition without anger, misunderstanding, and grief. In the grand scheme of things, love is ultimately a human experience, and all human experiences are plain and simple imperfect, painful, and even exhausting, but on the contrary, also formative, actualizing, and meaningful.*

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