“O brawling love! O loving hate!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.” -Romeo, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Romeo’s despair has been swirling in my head this Valentine’s Day. How can we celebrate love with so much hate seeping into our existence? I gaze out at the gloom and my heart aches, so I close the drapes, turn off the internet, and stumble around in the dark.
But then…but then I remember the words. Those exquisite, brilliant words writers and artists and peacemakers have given us throughout the centuries. Words celebrating the heart, the soul, the complicated and the simple pieces that make us human. They ponder love and all its miraculous adaptations.
Words will save me. Words will save us all, because we cannot let love die. We must fight against the harsh winds to gather love up and hold it close, because love is our only hope.
You’ve got to love life to have life, and you’ve got to have life to love life.
― Thornton Wilder, Our Town
You can have other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it. – Mary Oliver
Where there is great love, there are always wishes. -Willa Cather
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold. -Zelda Fitzgerald
Love is the ultimate expression of the will to live. – Tom Wolfe
Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love. -Marc Chagall
Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. -Neil Gaiman
He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even with looking. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. – Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. – James Baldwin
The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live. – Auguste Rodin
There is no remedy for love but to love more. – Henry David Thoreau
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. – H.L. Mencken
Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
(Revised and updated from February 14, 2017)