I used to think love was enough.
I used to think one day, if I were lucky, love would grace my soul like summer rain. Love would walk into my life and hold the pieces of me together with an embrace that would make me wonder why any other arms had tried to hold me. I thought love would sing a song I didn’t know I knew until the melody breathed light within my chest. I used to think love was enough.
I blame Disney movies and Nicholas Sparks and the twenty-nine years of my parents’ unfathomably happy marriage for misleading me. I blame the stories that conclude with “true love’s first kiss” and an elegantly scripted “the end,” leaving no room to question if the love lasts. The finality of this love is cinematic certainty; it is our collective truth. I blame the stories that tell of love refusing to fade, the audacious love that believes it is more tenacious than time and more determined than distance. I blame my mom, who still gets butterflies every time my dad calls, and my dad, who never fails to remind my mom that she is his best friend. I blame being raised by the kind of love fairy tales aspire to, a love that is true and lasting, a love that continues to grow every day.
The happily ever afters, both fictitious and formative, painted a perception of my future I scored with my favorite Beatles songs, the lyrics worn thin on the cassette tape I carried with me everywhere when I was little. John Lennon was the first man who ever lied to me, singing All You Need Is Love, Love Is All You Need.
Sometimes love isn’t all you need. Sometimes love isn’t enough.
I’ve found love; I’ve held it in my arms. I’ve kissed the lips that offered the words “I love you” as equal parts shy secret and brazen truth to be shared with anything and anyone who cared to listen. I’ve laughed hand in hand through sunshine days and walked through nights of unyielding rain and sworn to my cautious heart that this was love that could stand the weather. This was love that could last. I’ve cried my truth into love’s chest as life placed thousands of miles between us. I’ve thanked and cursed the timing that both brought us together and tore us apart.
I’ve watched love change its mind.
I’ve watched love fall victim to the brutalities of reality. I’ve watched love as it was twisted by timing and deconstructed by distance into something unrecognizable. I’ve watched love ignore my calls. I’ve watched love break my heart. I’ve watched as the same hands that once held me together tore pieces of me apart.
It only hurts when it matters. It hurts because if you’ve loved, really loved, love knows its way around your heart. It’s something you made sure of, something you celebrated. How lovely it is to be known, how riveting to be so raw, how gracious of love to give a place to belong. It only hurts because it was worth it. It hurts because it matters.
Sometimes, love isn’t enough. Love needs trust, and resilience, and a promise to believe it can last. Love needs a reminder that it is strong and true and valued. Love is always worth it, it just forgets sometimes.
Sometimes, love isn’t enough.
When love leaves, remember it fondly. Sing its praises until your voice is as raw as the sinews of your broken pieces and assure your heart that love is always welcome there. It is never love itself that is not enough; it is simply sometimes, life is too much. Don’t blame love. Love, love is there, love is needed and cherished and honest, and someday, love will find us all and hold on tight. Someday, love will be everything we need it to be. Someday we will be everything love needs. Someday, time and distance will be love’s great casualties. What a day that will be. Until love is enough, I hope you’ll think of me.