“And think not you can direct the course of love…”

When I was young, it was easier for me to fall in and out of love. I also found it easier to recover. Even when the first man in my life decided to get married to his fiancee and I carried the guilt of our relationship with me out of my home country, I was sure that I will love again. I cried endlessly, and I disintegrated into a thousand pieces every time he called, but all this never obliterated the certainty that somewhere there will be love for me again.  I was only 27 and my whole life was ahead of me, with endless possibilities. It also helped that I had a future career to look forward to, and no burdens. My only responsibility was to guard my future and mend my heart.

I am finding it much more difficult to recover from the love I found unexpectedly, later in my life. Now instead of looking forward I can only look back to realize with dismay that all the things I felt before were small tremors of the heart. They do not compare to this major earthquake. I had long given up on the notion of romantic love, content instead with the love for humanity in general, the love of my child, my family and my friends, until I was struck with this lightning bolt. I was a love agnostic, an atheist even, and then god chose to speak to me. I still try to reason that this was only an illusion, something that my wishful thinking has conjured up, but my heart knows it was real.

As its newly converted disciple, love opened me up to joy and pain, in ways I never imagined. It was as if I lost a layer of skin, and started to feel everything more keenly.  Pleasure, pain and loss magnified to a point they became unbearable. I now see beauty more clearly, and feel deeper empathy.  When I cry now, I cry not only for myself but for everyone who has ever loved and lost. I even touch the pain of the boy who once read me a poem he wrote to my beautiful eyes, about how much he loved me, and whom I rejected and laughed off as silly. I now know how he felt all those years ago.

Sometimes I miss my ignorance, and my dismissal of love as a passing ailment, no more destructive than a hailstorm in the middle of spring. I was content in rejecting it as overrated and unnecessary, before I figured out that I have been passed a sugar pill instead of the genuine drug. Now, instead of my cynical dismissal, I am left with despair of ever finding it again.

Now I think that love is exceptionally rare. You have to quit looking for it to find it. It has to find you, and when it does all you can do is just surrender to it. Whether you get over it or not is a matter of destiny.

Khalil Gibran — ‘And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.’



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