Back in August last year I wrote ‘tongue-in-cheek’ two-parts post on Kiwi Blokes. The idea was light-hearted fun and for most part it worked! Lots of people found it funny in a slightly cheeky kind of a way. Moreover, the Lantern’s stats page tells me that those two posts continued to be read on a weekly basis. All well and good -:)!
However, some people went into trouble of sending me rather strongly worded emails voicing their disagreements and, in some cases, went as far as to offer to prove me wrong in person. As the Lantern is founded on the principle of humanity, I responded as best as I could, mostly by; ‘thank you, but no thank you’, and/or; ‘the intent of the posts was humours rather than factual.’
While those emails did not come as a huge surprise to me, some others did. Primarily those written by women of various ages and from various parts of the world asking for my advice on the issues of men, love and relationships.
When the first one arrived from South-East Asia asking how to best interpret certain behaviours of the writer’s Kiwi boyfriend, frankly I could not believe my eyes! For one, I am by no means an expert on anything, least of all matters of love, men and relationships. Hence my almost life-long singleton!
While I responded to the young lady who wrote the email, and who is young enough to be my daughter, with best wishes and explaining my complete lack of expertise, the others followed … and eventually I decided to write a post about it.
And to write it in the only way I know how … lacking in any expertise, numerous female magazines offer more than enough of it already, but with compassion.
As the stories and questions arrived from various parts of the world and concerning men in general rather than members of any specific group, or country, the letter below is written in the same vein.
Thank you all for writing to the Lantern. On the endless and furiously fast cyber highway, the Lantern stands alone, affixed to the little backstreet alleyway and welcoming all who pass under its soft, solitary glow. Whoever you are and whether you rest under the Lantern for just a little while, or take some time to feel the warmth of the Lantern’s spark, tell the secrets or leave footprints … the Lantern and its keeper hope your stay was pleasant and you felt at home.
Your letters speak of anguishes, confusions, hurts, humiliations, misunderstandings and disappointments in love and even in life itself. Many of you are so young that speaking of dissolutions with men, love and life sounds like a sacrilege. I know you will not believe me now, but in time you might, so I am going to say it right here – to feel truly alive we need love, but to love and be loved we must be alive … those are entwined conditions; one depends on the other. One clings to the other with all its might.
And being alive entails opening your eyes to the clear sky even when all you can see are clouds.
However hurt or lonely or angry you may be now, and/or even for a while yet, and however unlikely it may sound to you now – it really is the truth that sadness and grief are like rice in the barn, each day there is a little bit less of it … each day at least few grains disappear.
Throughout the history of human kind love has given birth to countless literature, poetry, art … it is love and love alone that motivated and inspired myriad of creators to produce ageless beauties and in doing so make our human existence bearable.
I believe that one of my favourite poets said it best when he wrote; ‘For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task of all, the epitome, the ultimate test. It is that striving for which all other striving is merely preparation’. (R M Rilke).
And that love for another human being; whether a partner, a child, a sibling, a friend … is what makes us human. To surrender in love, to give your heart away into unknown, for whatever might come, and to receive the heart of another surrounded by the equal act of complete trust is the quintessential human experience. It defines us like nothing else does. Because when we love and are loved in return we become the best versions of ourselves. To walk amongst people requires courage, to love them requires faith.
I am often told that there are so called destructive, unhealthy loves that ruin people lives beyond recognition. In other words that not all love is enriching and beautiful, not all sparkles like waterfall under the morning sun.
I however remain of the view that in those instances love is used only as a disguise to conceal other, less appealing but equally powerful human desires, such as to control, dominate, manipulate, and somehow ‘possess’ another human being by any number of means by those of us who, for whatever reason, are either incapable, and/or unwilling to truly love and receive love in return. There is the kingdom of self-deception. Because there is hardly anything more mournful than life lived without love. For such lives are lived in fears; fear of surrounding to another human being, fear of inadequacy, fear of losing control, fear of being controlled, fear of rejection, fear of being ridiculed … in a word fear of living one’s life.
In conclusion I can but offer often repeated but not necessarily practiced wisdom that it is better to love and lost than to never love at all. I always believed that the true meaning was to convey how important is to cherish each and every moment that brings you joy of love, that incomparable feeling of pure lightness of being … regardless of whatever comes next. Whether you have one day, or one lifetime of it; each moment is equally precious and each moment is a testimony of your humanity.
And yes, as long as you love another human, your heart might be broken, rejected, discarded and you will grieve, and know sadness of the deepest shades … and that will also stand as witness to your humanity. How you deal with it will witness your character.