The Essence of Love

Having accepted the impossibility of letting go of my Love for Marilyn, the question was whether I can ever Love again. Let’s call it a “new love.” A love created in its own right and on its own terms, not in competition with my Love for Marilyn—but in addition to that Love.

Human beings are capable of great love. Spousal love is perhaps the purest form of love this side of heaven. That’s why marriage is a sacrament of our church. Yet, together this married couple created children who begot them grandchildren and all are loved deeply with all my heart and soul. Clearly, the capacity to love is not one dimensional.

Thus, finding and creating love in a new female relationship is not only possible—but coming from a lifetime of a magnificent Loving relationship, it is necessary if I am to continue my life as a whole person. The desire for a new love simply grows out of my need to exist in a loving man-woman relationship because of the former loving relationship that was the driving force of my entire adult life. It was my reason to exist and do all that was expected of me and more—to do it willingly with Love.

For those who have never experienced True Spousal Love, they may think my comments and concerns are corny, or exaggerated. I pity their loss but hope and pray they will come to believe in the redeeming grace of pure spousal love between a man and a woman and pursue such Love as the Holy Grail of our mortal life. This is a personal belief not intended to belittle the lifestyle and loves of others who have chosen to live alone or in non-marital relationships, or those who have chosen an alternative same sex lifestyle.

“Love” is the essential ingredient in whatever lifestyle a person chooses. It transcends all judgmental norms if it is pure and true. For me it was found in my perfect marriage that produced the family of children and grandchildren that expanded that love exponentially. It is up to others to create their own perfect love and those who do will know of what I speak. Until then, love is an abstract theoretical concept.

Our society has begun to grasp these concepts as we implement civil union and same sex marriage laws. The Catholic Church is still struggling with the concept, but our new Pope Francis is leaning in the right direction on this issue. Hopefully, he will embrace the importance of women in the Church’s hierarchy as well. Until then, it seems hypocritical for an all-male priesthood to criticize the treatment of women under Sharia Law in the Islamic world.

There is a practical side of new love. Living in the “present” while making plans for the “future” and then working together to fulfill those dreams is a time honored ritual of young lovers. We were once innocent, unworldly young adults when everything was possible. Those vibrant and joyful years are mere memories for senior citizens. They cannot be recaptured, merely recalled. Living in the “present” for us older folks too often involves health, family and financial concerns as life’s fuse burns shorter. Planning for the future is of necessity a relatively short term enterprise involving retirement, access to healthcare and living on a budget that doesn’t include your earned income. Basically, the end game has come and there are diminished opportunities for the joy of dreams fulfilled— and then making and pursuing new dreams. For widows and widowers who had happy marriages, all this is transcended by an acute awareness of their own mortality. Their spouse has died! Doing this last act alone is even more desperate. How do you write a happy ending? That is my burden and it must be undertaken without the Love that brought joy to my life every day in the years past.