Tears in Paradise
A girl sits down next to us on the porch. She is waiting for her girlfriend to pick her up, her now ex-girlfriend, to be precise. This is the last night, and then she’ll be gone.
She tells us how she sold her house and gave up her job to come here and be with her. How she asked her to marry her. And how the girl just didn’t care. She didn’t love her back.
And so now all I have is this one last night before I leave the state, the girl says – and to me, it will be worth it. If this all I have, it is still worth it for me.
But why are you doing this? Someone asks. Meaning, why are you waiting for this one last night, why do you still love her, meaning – why are you proud of your love? Oh shut up, I snap.
You did everything right, honey, I turn to the girl. You do and did everything right and you should be proud of yourself.
And when you give up your home, your life, your future for love and get nothing in return – don’t listen to anyone, to all those voices of reason telling you to be rational, and stop giving, and stop loving, and measure your response, and stop humiliating yourself. Because you love. Because you have found the one pearl worth giving up everything for, because you have been given a glimpse into the heart of God.
I used to think we don’t really care about our loved ones or the details of our life when we die and get to be with God – because he is so much greater and bigger than all of it, and because finally getting to be with him, knowing him, breathing him overshadows everything we ever knew. I am not so sure of this any more.
Because the people we meet and the places we see and the experiences we have reflect God onto us. He is not totally separated from the world he created, he reveals himself through it, and if we never loved anyone or anything in this life, how can we truly know God? How will we be able to love him, if we never loved the river, the wine, the food, the little children and the funny old men, the saxophone and the guitar, the one who broke our heart – and the one who mended it? And I think the soul carries with it some of the imprints of those moments, those feelings, into the eternity.
And now that I am here, in the only paradise I know on this earth, the place that so totally and perfectly resonates with me that if I died tomorrow it wouldn’t matter, because there is nothing else I seek in this life – and yet I want to spend as much time here as possible, without fear of losing or leaving, because I know now what my home is like and it doesn’t really matter if I’m far away from it or not, it only matters that it exists, that this place in my heart that was always empty is now filled. Yet here, too, I remember the pain and the loss of the past – I remember it in a different way, it doesn’t have the finality it had in the imperfect world that I knew before – but I remember. I still love, and I still want and I still dream. It matters less, perhaps, in the sense that I know true happiness exists beyond those things that I lost – but it doesn’t mean they don’t matter anymore. I want to keep my love and even my loss in paradise. Because they are precious, and they are a part of who I am.
Go ruin yourself for love over and over again. Lose everything you’ve got, leave your home, your stability, your future, get nothing in return, move halfway around the world and back – and then do it all over again. Dare to love. Dare to dream. Because this is just one life. And it doesn’t matter if you believe the soul comes back to earth in another form, or not. Make this the last one. Make this the life of love, make this the life where heaven meets earth, and dying doesn’t matter anymore, because you have dared to rise above death, and above loss, and above pain. Because the greatest loss is the loss of love.