“Do You Want To Make Love Last? What do you want to do first?”
Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins, local author and personal hero.
It’s a yummy double juicy entendre. How do we make Love last? It’s an eternal question. It’s a question with many simply complicated answers.
First, what constitutes making Love…let alone making it last? If you want to make Love last, what role does fore play? Something has to come first if there is a last. What do we do first to make Love last?
Perhaps we must first decide to believe in Love. Believe it’s real and valuable. That it matters. Not because we are told that it matters. Not because we are lonely or afraid to be alone, but because we care deeply about someone or something. That someone could be ourselves, our kin. That something could be what’s in our heart, our community, our cause.
“Love your neighbor as yourself”. (Mathew 22:29-Mark 12:31) It’s the second commandment of Christ. The first, of course, is Love the All Encompassing Organizing Principle of the Universe we call God. Then Love someone else as much as you Love yourself. Love yourself first, though. Enough. As much as you can. If you can. You can’t make Love last if you aren’t able to do what’s required first.
“Love never ends.” (1st Corinthians 13). It’s biblical. It’s epic. It’s metaphysical. It’s a concept. It might not be true. Or maybe it is true that love never ends if you have ever, in fact or indeed, truly Loved. Maybe what’s left of Love that seems to have ended is the memory of it buried deep beneath the rubble of abandonment, rejection, neglect, apathy, change of heart, change of circumstance or even something horrific like abuse.
I once imagined that if I ever Love someone, I always will. I won’t quit. It can never end. That might not be true. Or maybe it is true if I have, in fact or indeed, truly Loved. Maybe I only thought that I Loved and if pressed would be forced to admit that I was mostly addicted to the thought of Loving. But if, for instance, I was seriously unloved, the opposite-of-loved in return, then I must not have Loved myself much. I didn’t remember to do the first thing. I didn’t Love myself enough to honor myself over un-love. This is an attempt to make sense of making Love…first and last. It’s an exercise. It’s a process. Quite possibly futile.
Un-love is not the same as unrequited Love. I am not making this up. Unrequited Love is heart wrenching, even common, but it’s not un-love. We can’t try to Love any more than we can try to be happy, try to meditate or try to believe in God. Love just is. We can’t make it happen and we can’t make it not happen when it does. When it does happen as we wish it’s grand. When it isn’t returned as we wish, no amount of trying or cajoling or begging or manipulation will make it be what it isn’t. We could take it personally, but it isn’t personal. Not really. It is what it is. We still Love whether returned or not.
Un-love though, the opposite of love, is intentional. We decide it. We make it happen. We go against Love. We break the Law. We harm and are harmed by un-love. We don’t do the first thing. We don’t love ourselves. When we un-love someone or something, there’s just no way we can make Love last.
Let’s make Love not un-love. Let’s make Love not war.
Let’s make Love first so that Love can last.