It’s 5:30am and I can barely keep my eyes open. I had fallen asleep only three hours ago. The window is open and the cool night-air is refreshing. I dreamt of Lisa again – the first great love of my life. Dreams of her are never gladly received. Because it’s always about how it will never work. Us, I mean. Love, I mean. An ambulance siren howls on the streets of Bucharest as doves cry.
Black Eye Peas, Where is the Love?
I haven’t dreamt of Lisa since I met my ex-wife- eleven years ago. I was so relieved when I had stopped dreaming of Lisa! That was one of many signs to me that my ex-wife was the one. Because the dreams were always about my unrequited love for Lisa.
It wasn’t that Lisa didn’t love me when we were together. It just wasn’t true and everlasting love. Her heart was not pure. That was not her fault. She was a broken cup and the love that I poured into her – it emptied through her broken-ness.
I could say the same for my ex-wife. Another broken cup. That’s her problem – not mine. But right now, I’m worried that my heart has become like a broken cup. And that is my problem.
Roosters crow. One crows and then another and then yet another. I look out the window to across the street and admire the abandoned mansion, the rusted copper rooftop and the aristocratic architectural elements. It’s a fixer upper if ever I saw one. Perhaps to the tune of two or three million- if it’s done properly.
I imagine what it would be like to be over there (five years from now) and looking back across the street to this window – remembering the years I worked at my desk (where I am) and every now and then how I looked with longing at that mansion. It will never be mine. But it always belonged to me. Just like the apartment I occupy.
I lack the architectural language to adequately describe the elements of the mansion across the street. The architectural style is French Neo-classical. I’m guessing that it was built in the late 1800s. It’s walls are brick (two feet thick) and covered with smooth concrete and concrete decorations: shields, columns, cornices, and more.
I called her Freckle-milk in a poem. Lisa’s beauty was not beyond compare, but she was the only girl for me – as long as she was mine. But if she gave herself to another, even for a moment, she could never be mine again. That reminds me of the first commandment in the Decalogue.
You shall not bow down to [idols] or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing loving-kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:5-6
I understand the God of Abraham and Moses. I have known His anguish and His unrequited love for humanity. The scale, of course, is immeasurably different as it is poignantly relative. The ten commandments are not ordinary rules – when broken, ordinary rules give decisive and unfair advantage. Together, the ten commandments represent a Law that does not deprive us of happiness or dignity. Or destiny.
Breaking the Divine law, we break ourselves. We become broken. Like magnificent fixer uppers which shall only be repaired at great expense.
Without the ten commandments, in fact, there is neither love, faith nor hope – nothing that lasts. They define what love is. They are love. Without the ten commandments, there is no love.
I know too what it is to be an unfaithful friend and lover, again and again. I know too what it is to want the second, the third, and the one hundred millionth chance to come back into the grace of Love and receive goodness, beauty and truth – again.
Torn plastic flutters in the broken windows of the mansion across the street. Below, a car roars down the street at 100 mph. It’s a 35-ish mph residential zone. It sounds like a tall wave crashing across a sandy beach. An owl is hooting nearby.
Do you wonder, just as I wonder, why love does not abide in the broken heart? Do you ever wonder if your heart can be mended so that love may spill over (and fill others) but never again empty out through our broken-ness?
Do you ever ask yourself, where is the love? The love in you – I mean.
01 May 2012
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