I was a child beneath her touch, – a man
When breast to breast we clung, even I and she,
A spirit when her spirit looked through me,
A god when all our life-breath met to fan
Our life-blood, till love’s emulous ardours ran,
Fire within fire, desire in deity
~The Kiss, DG Rossetti
Love is not a solid thing, a thing you find or receive and can tuck away until you wish to play with it. It is not a teddy bear that sits on your bed, patiently awaiting your arms and your cuddles. It is not a diamond ring sitting on your finger in flashy splendor, there but forgotten until someone wants to admire it.
Love is a small child, full of life but needing care, feeding, cuddling, guidance. It wants to roam hither and yon, exploring, touching, feeling, living, all without regard to boundaries or necessities. Like the child, love must be guided – steered away from those things that will hurt, pointed towards all that is good and sweet and wonderful. It must be taught that patience is a virtue, that sometimes work, or chores, or life, need come first. It must be reassured that things will not replace it, that there is no replacement available. It will meander around, testing boundaries, learning rules. It will encounter bumps and bruises, pain and heartache. It should be taught that lessons like these should be heeded. A child would be scolded for not learning the lesson of the hot stove, should love be less mature?
There is a learning curve in love. It is silly to believe that love can survive without nourishment and care. You must take action to keep love alive, keep love in the forefront of your mind and your life and your soul. Would you let your child roam near the road, or eat berries, or go for a swim without supervision? Would you think ‘I have nurtured this child for a week, for a month, for a year … she should be able to care for herself now’ and turn back to your chores, your games, yourself? Do you stop gazing fondly down at your child, peaceful and angelic in slumber – or does your heart stop at the beauty of that face, that peace, that life that you have created?
You cannot shelve love. It does not exist on its own. Love will starve without care, without support, without feeding. Love must be created and recreated to be sustained and to grow. You can be the leader, nudging it to where you want it to go, guiding it in the direction you wish, but you must have a hand in the being. It does not exist without you and your efforts.
Love is a fire. A flashburn of light, a grand beginning of flame. The flash ignites the kindling but slowly … So slowly and carefully you must begin. You add a small amount of fuel, tiny sticks from this pile or from that, a melding of air and fuel and fire. You must carefully set your kindling, feeding the flames of light and desire and love and strength and create an indomitable love, a fire of forever. You must tend and care and change and create until the fire itself is burning brightly, a testament of your patience and belief and guidance. You cannot stop even now though, you must continue to fuel the flames, tend the fire, exalt in the beauty of that which you have created.
You must continue to make an effort; you must continue to provide sustenance to your child, your fire, your creation.
You must believe.