At night on my bed I longed
for my only love.
I sought him, but did not find him.
I must rise and go about the city,
the narrow streets and squares, till I find
my only love.
I sought him everywhere
but I could not find him.
From The Song of Songs
Love-longing is one of the casualties of the Post Modern Age. We seem to have come to some kind of corporate decision that relegates spiritual passion to the psychological trash basket of romantic delusion. It’s the same thing we say when two people fall in love: “She is infatuated with an idea,” we declare, “not a real person.” (We learned this in Psych 101, and it explains a lot about our own history of romantic disasters.) Or: “She is a blank screen onto which he projects his own hopes and dreams of love. It has nothing to do with her.” The conclusion of this line of reasoning is that one day the lovers will wake up, the scales will drop from their eyes, and they will see each other truly. That, we assert, is when the real work of relationship begins. And that’s when many lovers bail and bolt, only to run the same delusional story on someone else.
Maybe. Or perhaps falling in love is more like what Leonard Cohen said in an interview I read in Interview Magazine while pumping my quads on the Stair-Stepper at the gym years ago. It’s not falling in love that’s the illusion (I’m paraphrasing here); it’s falling out of love. When that intoxicating feeling of awe and connectedness washes over us and penetrates our consciousness, that’s when the shroud lifts and we see that person for who she truly is: a being of exquisite beauty and pure goodness. When we fall out of love, the veil drops once again over our eyes, and we stop seeing our beloved as the holy creature he is.