Thoughts on Love and Fear, Giving and Loss
by, 10th February 2011 at 04:45 PM (3687 Views)
OK, a little break from writing only about perfume, though perfume may come into it a bit…
Recently I’ve been concerned with the idea of how fear affects one’s attitude toward love. This came up for me as I was reading one day and found an article that quoted some familiar words: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” I remembered these words from reading the New Testament, where they appear in the First Letter of John. They reminded me of someone I knew a long time ago, a person who loved, but was very afraid of loss. It wasn’t a fear of losing the person he loved, but a fear of his love for his lover diminishing him in the eyes of other people. You see, my friend loved another man, and couldn’t bear the thought that if his love became known, some of his family and friends might reject him. His fear kept him from the freedom to be himself, because he thought the risk of admitting his love to others was too great.
Perfect love casts out fear. If only he had seen how true this is, he would have known that there is no fear in love, and that his love, had he been able to express it, would have brought him more joy than he imagined. Besides fulfilling his dream of loving and being loved, it would have set him free to be himself. Losing the approval of some of his friends and family would just have been evidence that they didn’t love him for himself, and so wouldn’t have been so much of a loss as he feared. What good is the love of people who would despise you if they knew who you truly are?
I sympathized with him, and understood his fear. It would have changed the whole basis of his life, and made a difficult transition for him into unknown territory. I know that he loved those friends and family he feared to lose. I felt some regret for him over that, and also over his losing the one he loved, the one he would never approach because of his fears. Yet what made me saddest for him was that he would miss the chance to live through giving himself — his real and deep self — to the person he truly loved and to the rest of the world as well.
Why do I say this? Because giving is never losing, it is always gaining something. We are remembered not for our material success in the world, but by each person we know for what we have given them of ourselves, of our love. The love we give give is not only the love of physical attraction and of passion, but the love of a son or brother, of a friend; and these loves can be just as deep and just as important as that love we hold for a spouse or a lover. A gift of love is always returned, whether by the one we love, or if it is not accepted fully, by returning to us in the knowledge that we have offered something of ourselves purely out of love, and not out of hope of gain.
In my life, some friendships and family relationships have been just as exciting and satisfying as those conjugal loves, though in a different way. In a sense, they proved to me that love is not just a question of sex and procreation, but a deep bond of one person to another, even in the complete absence of physical desire.
I guess I am a bit of a hot-blooded Latin, even though I may often come across as cerebral and intellectual. I don’t think a current of warmth and passion is ever completely absent in any but the most casual relationships of mine. That sometimes makes some people uncomfortable, perhaps because they are afraid of too much fellow-feeling with someone they don’t know all that well. Well, getting to know me isn’t that hard, and can even be fun. Still, I probably try to do everything I do with a measure of passion and out of a sense of giving myself, and yes, even out of some variety of love. It’s not a bad way to live a life. Even if it’s sometimes misunderstood or rejected, it’s still enormously rewarding to me. Whether it’s a passion for art, music, perfume, being out for a walk on a beautiful day, or the love I bear my life partner, it makes life brighter and better, sweeter and more joyful.
Of course, I don’t love everything and everybody. That would be more joy than I think I could bear! Yet, where my love is called forth, fear dissolves (though anxiety can spice things up a bit) and the desire and ability to give becomes in itself life’s best gift.
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