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Monday, August 07, 2006

The Opposite of Love

I’ve heard it said often (you've probably heard this, too): “The opposite of love isn’t hate…it’s indifference.” At first blush, that sounded true. Nowadays, based on personal experience and lots of contemplation, I no longer agree. I’ve come to feel that the opposite of love isn’t indifference…it’s emptiness.

My wife and I spent the last five years or so pummeling love to death. Over the course of the past fourteen months, we finished the job. Not a trace of love remains. The corpses have been buried. Am I indifferent? No. What I feel is emptiness.

Indifference is commonly defined as “lack of interest, care or concern.”

I haven’t lost interest, care or concern for my wife. I am not indifferent when it comes to her well being. Not at all. This past spring, she suffered a ruptured appendix. I stayed with her day and night, tending to her needs, nursing her, worrying and hoping for her successful recovery (it all ended well). How could I not care about a person who once was the whole world to me? How could I not be concerned? I doubt I will ever be indifferent towards her. I will always want the best for her, always hoping that she finds happiness, ever praying that she remains healthy and safe. BUT…these are now matters solely of mind and memory. My heart is not involved in this. It is isolated, insulated and insentient. My heart is empty.

What I’ve come to understand is that my wife will always be important to me, but she no longer elicits feelings (neither good nor bad) in me. All that I once felt for her, the love and passion that once filled my chest to bursting, are sealed forever within the catacombs hidden in my heart, buried beneath layer upon layer of scar and scab. These emotions will never see the light of day. They will never sing to my soul again. They are shrouded, sealed and buried. There will be no resurrection. There cannot be a resurrection, for buried with all the love, affection, joy and faith I once shared with her are all the horrors and agonies of love destroyed. It has taken so long…and far too many tears…to bury these feelings. No good can come from exhumation.

Only mind and memory can serve us now. I take comfort having Mnemosyne perched on my shoulder, whispering stories of a golden past. I do not wish to forget the long days filled with laughter. I hold precious the memories of the years we sang and danced together. It is good for the soul to remember how it felt to fly. And with those memories come the obligations of the mind…to show respect, to offer help, to treat the other with dignity and care. It is only right and fitting that I treat my partner of twenty years with kindness, care and concern. I will never be indifferent towards her.

But I can’t love her. My heart is empty.

* * *


Blogger shadowlands6822 said...

Oh, dear Jonas,

As I am reading your past postings, I cannot leave this one without a comment.

I do not know the intricacies of your story. And I do not need to know how anyone could make such a statement. I can only comment that this person, who was a loved one of yours, never knew you. This soul, never knew your soul. But, this I know, this statement has no basis of truth and I hope you tossed it to the wind. Don’t harbor these words.

I am sure that you loved this person, but I will never be convinced that they knew or loved you...

Your gentle heart is so delicate. It seems to be so easily wounded. And the amazing thing is that you seem so willing to be wounded for the sake of Love.

It is from your heartstrings that you write and this cruel and thoughtless comment would be like breaking the strings on a Steinway piano or a string on a very fine guitar. Your heart is too beautiful an instrument to be treated with such disregard....

Sun Feb 24, 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you, Ms. Shadowlands. It's no easy labor to learn another soul, but it's all too easy to damage one.

With every dawn we get an opportunity to do better...

Mon Feb 25, 11:14:00 AM  

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