This song has been running through my head for weeks now, telling me to admit my bias.
I may need to make a rule that I will not do divination on the question “Will I find love?”
I admit, in my own way, practical about love relationships as I may be, I’m also deeply a romantic idealist: I believe everyone can and does have love in this world. Not always romance. Not always sex. But love is, itself, an inevitable cosmic truth.
Between me and Freyja, we seem to see always the most hopeful answer. This isn’t always what happens in practice with people, especially hurt, lonely people who have grown wary in their search. If there is one thing love requires to be found, it’s a willingness to be vulnerable.
We can’t promise it will always be reciprocal. We can’t ever promise you won’t be hurt in the process, or even that you will feel like it was worth it immediately after. We can only say that we believe it’s always worth it to find love, even when we have to walk away from the ones we love later, even when it hurts so bad we can’t breathe, even when counting everyone we love, everyone who loved us still means sitting alone in a room listening to birds and children outside calling to each other in a world that isn’t offering us a hand right now.
So you see my problem. If you ask me, I will always say, “YES, you can find love!” But the soonest you could find love may not be the most likely time or place you’d find it. So as many or more have come back to me to say “Love did not come when you said it could!” and all I can say is “I’m sorry it didn’t. It’s never too late. You must stay open to love, always.”
The truth is, love means more than just romantic love, more than just someone to touch. I don’t mean to say that either of those are trivial. They’re absolutely NOT trivial. But asking for love isn’t the same as asking for sex, or a life partner, or someone to fall in love with who will also fall in love with you.
We’re so shy around what we actually need, especially when what we need is in any way connected to love, so we won’t say it and we won’t say it and we won’t say it. When we finally get fed up with everything we haven’t said, we go the opposite direction and get so idealistic and specific that we leave no room for a real person at the other end. Over and over again, love begets imperfect connections, and we have to decide where the balance between self-love and loving another will be. We have to decide which faults we can tolerate, and which faults are unforgivable, and either way we find pain. We have to decide when to trust our passions and when to heed reason, when to stand up to the pain and when to acknowledge its message. Love is never, ever easy, and yet it’s so often the easiest part of partnership, romance, relationship, and for some of us, it’s the easiest part of sex, too. So it just gets more confusing and complicated from there.
How can I tell a person who is asking why they don’t deserve it that love isn’t earned, but trust and connection still are? How can I tell someone they’re not finding what they seek not because it’s not available to them, but because they aren’t looking in the right ways or the right places? The lonely are everywhere, vicitims of the world we’ve created that idealizes separateness, instructs us all to be independent, isolates us from each other, that says interdependence is the same as codependence, congregating is a form of blindness, and belonging is an impossible ideal that requires us to give up who we are in order to earn a pale shadow of what we need. I hesitate to blame such victims for their own circumstances when so much of what puts us all here is beyond our reach to fix.
But some of it IS in our reach. Love is always about being in relationship with someone, whether that someone is yourself, a spirit, a plant or animal, or another fellow human being. If you want to connect, you must first contact. I am not much impressed with dating sites as a way to find love. Sex, perhaps, but not much love. Hobbies are a better way. Community. Get out into the world and do something you love, do something inspiring, and meet the other people who are similarly inspired.
But even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, because sometimes we’re looking for what we want despite what we need, and the gods can’t always help us with the difference.
Love will indeed come to you, I promise. But love may not be what you think it is. Love may not be everything you were seeking. You have to not only know what you actually want and need, but be willing to find an imperfect person at the other end of your search.
And that person may well be you.