“Where there is love, there is life.” — Gandhi
We know this so well: Love can heal us; love can lift us to the sun-drenched mountain peak. But love can also wound with the knife of rejection and loss. And when this happens, we are faced with a great and fateful choice.
Once there was a young woman whose heart was broken by love. She had poured out the liquid fire of her soul to one who abandoned her for another. And now her life stretched out dry and parched — a vast empty desert of longing. She could neither cry nor laugh. She could only thirst for the love she had lost with a thirst that racked her with pain. She could not live without love.
One morning, in the midst of a winter snowfall, she wandered back to the park where she and her lover had met so often in the days of their passion. It was a small flat area overlooking a wooded ravine. She remembered the spring of their love, and the sharp perfume of the long-dead lilacs came flooding back into her memory in waves of sharp-edged bitter-sweetness. The woman’s heart constricted in the agony of memory and longed only for the death of all feeling. Winter lay both before her and within her.
Just then, she noticed two small children playing in the snow. They were giggling and intent on rolling a large fluffy ball of snow. Making a snowman? But the ball had become too large for them, rolling slower and slower until they could budge it no further. She watched their young bodies strain against the huge white ball and she felt something warm stirring within her, an urge to reach out. Yet her sadness seemed to hold her prisoner.
For a long moment she held her breath and the snow swirled about her. Then with a rush of air she shouted: “Do you need some help?” The children gestured “yes, yes,” and squealed with joy as she ran toward them, tiny flakes of snow melting down her face, melting into the tears, flowing into the parched, thirsty soul within her.
Vincent Kavaloski, Ph.D., lived for 37 years in these Uplands in an intentional, eco-community devoted to peace and harmony with people and the land. He is concluding a long academic calling at Edgewood College and looking forward to being a freelance philosopher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.