So love is hard, but we all want it. You see it in all the romance novels, rom-com flicks, in poetry, music, art. It doesn’t always have to be about romance, either – I see love in the friendship between the boys in The Outsiders, in the Lord of the Rings and how Samwise Gamgee risks all to protect his best friend Frodo, and in stories about family life. But romance is often seen as the source of true love, because there you find the closest bond that two humans can possibly achieve with each other, the whole mind-body-soul connection.
Everyone looks for that – true love, their soulmate. Someone to love them completely and unconditionally, faults and all, till the end of their days. But of course, as we all know deep down, no one is perfect. We only ever hear about the happily-ever-afters in our romance novels – we don’t get the follow-up on the follies of marriage that are so common in real life. For an example of this: how many people do you know who yearn to love someone and serve someone more than for that someone to serve them? And that’s where our pride comes back around to kick us in the rear. We so often want to be loved, cherished, adored. We all want that. But how can any of us get any love when all anyone is looking for is to receive rather than to give?
And of course, we have our own faults that prevent us from perfectly loving anyone. We have our pride, our sense of self-preservation, laziness, greed, lust (which is entirely different from love – it is a selfish love that only longs for someone to please them rather than to truly love them), you name it. So then we insist that we don’t need or want perfect love, only some semblance of it. But are we not always distressed when we fight with our beloved, be they friends, family, spouse? Do we not hate drama and love reconciliation? Don’t we dream of utopia, where no one ever has to suffer? We settle for less than perfect – we’re not satisfied with it.
The human race is doomed, then, are we not? For thousands of years we have been killing each other, both physically and emotionally, and for thousands of years more we shall continue. We tend to inherit the faults of our parents and families, simply learning by osmosis. There is no political ideology or golden rule that will ever save us, because we have managed to pervert all of them.
It would seem a cruel irony: we each have a vision of perfect love, perfect happiness, that we all yearn for deep down, and yet we can never achieve it. We try to blind ourselves to that simple fact – try to pretend that people aren’t as bad as we think – but that doesn’t erase this simple truth. Everyone has a skeleton or two or three in their closet, things they aren’t proud of and wish to bury in the recesses of their minds. How many people have had a moment where they just broke down and cried at everything and nothing, perhaps while lying awake in the middle of the night? I’d raise my hand furiously to that question.
Could there perhaps be a reason that we have this longing inside of us for perfection in the midst of the madness of life? Paraphrasing what C.S. Lewis once said, could it be that because we have a desire that cannot be fulfilled by anything in this world, that we were built for another? We get hungry because we need to eat food; we get thirsty because we need to drink water. So that abstract yearning for perfection, completeness, harmony, love, eternity, that need for fulfillment that goes beyond temporary desires – should there not be something to cure that ache as well?