Archive | Spirit Matters

Loads of Lovely Love

I’m done hating Valentine’s Day. Instead, I celebrate the sort of love that I actually embrace: the communion of kindred spirits. As Camus (yes, I’m quoting an existentialist today) says: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

This week, I received a Valentine’s package of candy and lace and handmade notes from my glorious goddaughters Delia and Luci—ages 12 and 9, respectively. It reminded me that, when we were kids, February 14 was a time to celebrate friendship and gobble chocolate. So why not bring that back? Let’s take this holiday, however crassly commercial it may be, as an opportunity to beam extra sweetness into the world. Sparkle with great kindness; I know that’s your real self, anyway. To quote dear Anne of Green Gables: “It’s splendid to find there are so many kindred spirits in the world.”

I send love–juicy, limitless love–to everyone.

Love Is Real

Whether or not I’m in a relationship, I have become rawther cynical about the possibilities of romantic love–so much so that the other day I gave a mean little shove to two teens with entwined tongues who were blocking a subway door. But Elizabeth Alexander’s New Yorker elegy for her husband doubles as a testimony to what two people can offer each other in the name of clear-hearted intimacy. Of a dream she had a few years after his death, she writes:

I look back. I look back. I can still see him, smiling and waving me on.
It was the two of us walking the road and now he has let my hand go.
I walk. I can always see him. His size does not change as I move forward: like me, he is five feet nine and a half, exactly right. I can still feel the feel of my hand in his hand as I walk. I wake and the room is flooded with pale-yellow light.

This essay is the most beautiful thing I have read in a very long time. It is so beautiful and so lovingly, piercingly true that, though I still think successful marriages are less attainable than Greta Garbo (now), I am once again grateful that they can exist.

The Progress of Beans

The light was fading quickly now, but there was enough to see the things they wanted to see—the progress of the next crop of beans, the state of the Namaqualand daisies that Mma Ramotswe had recently planted along the side of the house, the new shrubs put in by the mopipi tree. There was also enough light, Mma Ramotswe reflected, to see the world was not always a place of pain and loss, but a place where our simple human affairs—those matters that for all their pettiness still sometimes confounded us—were not insoluble, were not without the possibility of resolution. She held her husband’s hand. No further words were exchanged, or needed.—Alexander McCall Smith, The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy