I overheard this conversation accidentally and since then I wasn’t the same anymore.
Maybe it wasn’t an accident after all, being at that hour in that garden.
I once walked in a spring garden, in the early morning hours, when the day is yet gray, hazy and undecided. The dew had wet my bare feet and hem, and even the birds were still too sleepy to greet me when I heard whispering.
I turned and looked and couldn’t see. So I walked around some cherry trees and there, not far from me, I saw two figures sitting on a small stone wall, with fog capturing their bodies. A girl who wept, with her hair and clothes all tousled, and an angel holding her hand, waiting.
“Why isn’t he following me into the lands of love?” The girl asked lifting her head and I was sure she had cried all night.
The angel looked her straight in the eyes, and from where I hid I could see his warm, soft gaze.
“The path of love is laid out for everybody and all will return to this land you seek. But love has many faces and accepts all paces. So your path is your path, and his path is his. If you love him then let him be who he is and let him go where he wishes to go.”
“But my heart is yearning for him to be with me.” The girl whispered and became restless.
“You yearn for a free heart that truly meets and sees you.” He said. “If you ask a lover to be something he is not, you would imprison him. Instead, you could love what really is, and love whatever he gives. That’s your shared heart. There you really meet.”
Now I became restless. The lovers of my past appeared in front of my eyes and how I had demanded them to change and behave in certain ways. A painful knowing in me broke open which I couldn’t unknow anymore, however, I had to compose myself to be able to hear.
“And so let this special love take you two on a path, which might not be visible or conventional, yet is still there, created and walked together, even in your separation. It may not be what you thought love is or even dreamt of, however, do you want a real love or a fantasy?” The angel asked the girl, whose tears still shone on pale cheeks. She shrugged her shoulders but I could see she had understood.
“So receive his ‘no’ and feel loved.” He said.
Yes, how? I asked myself.
“In his ‘no’ he loves you more than in a ‘yes’.” The angel smiled. “A false ‘yes’ would be an insult to love herself. And to you. Instead, by being true to himself and to his path, he practices true love. And more, contemplating his ‘no’ teaches you about the many faces of loving.”
The girl didn’t reply but didn’t weep anymore either.
“Oh, what a great love he has shown you.” The angel sighed and the girl sank exhausted in his arms and there I think she fell asleep.
So I quietly stole myself away, and from that early morning on I looked at rejection and heartbreak in a different way. Understanding that truth and love are one thing I conducted my relationships more mindful with respects for the no’s and more acceptance of the goodbyes.
How can a path of love end? Once you and I have loved and let someone in, they are a part of us forever, even after any kind of separation. And we can love that part of them in us for all times. So a goodbye does not mean the shared path ends. It simply is altered, and its expression is different.
The face of love has changed, as the angel had put it, not love herself.