Yet another sensitive, young man encounters adventure on a moon-lit night. This young man, though, is sleeping among the trees, entirely unaware of the fate that befalls him: the moon has fallen in love with him…
Love again? Yes, well, I must talk about love again, even though we are glutted with the word and everything it stands for. I mean, instead, to talk about real-world LOVE, which is active, over-arching, meaningful, true, and brave.
I say brave, because TRUE love takes a lot of courage and maturity. We like to sentimentalize it by making it seem only about emotions and physical attraction, but true Love takes bravery. It takes conscious choice. It takes self-sacrifice. Do you see why it’s so rare, and we’re all chasing after it all the time? Some people have even given up on it and settled for the purely sentimental, the purely physical.
Perhaps you have love and lost? I have. In fact, most of us have our stories. Among my recent group of friends, though, I have discovered an alarming trend. Although the pursuit of loving relationships is a need, even a right, of every human being, my friends are so uptight about it! Instead of us sharing stories of our failures and triumphs, it is “cooler” for everyone to pretend not to need it. When someone in our ranks falls prey to a bad relationship, the rest chatter disdainfully of that person, as if we are somehow above it all.
Last weekend, though, I spent some time with this real gem of a girl and we opened up to each other, as girls are sometimes able to do when they feel safe with each other. She talked to me about her failed romances and how she sometimes felt she would never find an honest, true relationship.
I was actually relieved that I was not alone. “I’m Not the Only Lonely One,” I thought. Yet, I didn’t give her a lot of details about my recent experiences, my heartbreaks. So, I’m getting on my soapbox, guys: TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS. SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES. It is the main way we know that we are not alone.
As I always say, though, poetry helps us know that we are not alone, too. If you are ever like me and some terrible failed relationship makes you doubt whether you will ever find love, peruse Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Endymion.” The last three stanzas remind you that there is no need to be anxious and there is no need to resign yourself to a lifetime of loneliness. Because, above all, love requires faith.
Here’s the poem in its entirety:
The rising moon has hid the stars;
Her level rays, like golden bars,
Lie on the landscape green,
With shadows brown between.
And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana, in her dreams,
Had dropt her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.
On such a tranquil night as this,
She woke Endymion with a kiss,
When, sleeping in the grove,
He dreamed not of her love.
Like Dian’s kiss, unasked, unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought;
Nor voice, nor sound betrays
Its deep, impassioned gaze.
It comes,–the beautiful, the free,
The crown of all humanity,–
In silence and alone
To seek the elected one.
It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep
Are Life’s oblivion, the soul’s sleep,
And kisses the closed eyes
Of him, who slumbering lies.
O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes!
O drooping souls, whose destinies
Are fraught with fear and pain,
Ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.
Responds,–as if with unseen wings,
An angel touched its quivering strings;
And whispers, in its song,
“‘Where hast thou stayed so long?”
The last two years of my love life have been harrowing, even if I have learned so many lessons. Reading this poem has helped me get my Eternal Optimist moniker back. Yes, if I’ve loved before, I can and I will love again. The same is true of you! No one is so hopeless that they will never, ever find love.
What do you think? How has your past relationships affected you? Have you found new reasons to hope?