It’s curious the impression a person can make on your heart. In fact, it’s rather a surprise when you realize what a mark they left on you. There’s sort of a classic “ah-ha”, moment that comes out of nowhere and smacks you across the face when you realize that you miss someone. It’s not because they’re deceased or because they moved away, but because you love them and they aren’t there to love you.
Love takes many different forms and it’s a very curious and oft demented sort of thing. It has no shape or form or substance yet we crave it and long for it and try to mold it into something that feels real, reciprocal and warm. We want it. Everybody wants, on some level, to be loved and to give their love to someone. It’s in our nature.
This occurred to me while watching (what else) The History Channel yesterday and the topic of the show was Lost Civilizations. It described how Archeologists and Paleontologists are rethinking the age of human civilization based on discoveries of societies that pre-date what we thought were the oldest human cities. It seems human beings have been living in well organized and well conceived cities nearly 2500 years earlier than previously thought. Those people wore jewelry, organized streets, family homes, government buildings, defensive positions, had a complex language and even art. And we know a lot of this by the way they buried their dead.
The graves of these ancient peoples were adorned with the items of life. These items were left by loving family and friends to help carry them into the next world or whatever afterlife they imagined. This basic human emotion, love, was the support column for what a complex and evolving society needed. They took care of each other and missed those that were no longer with them. I can only imagine their idea of romance or if they even had a word for love. But the concept of it, of believing in some force connecting us all, was very real.
Just outside the destroyed city of Pompeii the body of an ancient Greek solider was found. His body was just in front a portion of the harbor where many residents tried to take refuge and escape the volcanic ash and pyroclastic flow of 500 degree gases. From what they can piece together, this solider appeared to have been helping to direct the people of Pompeii to somewhere safe when the concussive blast of Vesuvius’ eruption hit him. It’s been surmised that he did this because he loved his people, maybe his family was there and he was doing what he could to help them simply because he loved them.
I thought about the people I love and have loved and how I miss them. I thought about the loves I didn’t get to have, the loves that I wanted and were spurned from, the loves I didn’t even know where there until they were gone. I thought about hand holding and how that simple act between two people speaks volumes about our need to be together (Or at least my need to be with someone).
Love is something that can make us feel sick to our stomachs or joyful beyond belief. Love is the validation of our existence in the eyes of another person. It is the thing that gives us all meaning and purpose. It is our historic and human destiny to love. That’s why it’s so painful when it’s gone or ends or shifts into another form. It’s part of our human make up. It’s as real as the wind and hard as the sky and its potency echoes through every fiber of our being.