Love May Not Last, But Its Footprints Do

In the twenty-nine years I have circled the sun, I will admit that for me, love is an ever-changing concept. Never in my life have I experienced it as a stagnant force that keeps me locked in to one fixed definition. If there is one thing that my journey has taught me thus far, it is this: love, no matter how flawed, does not have to last in order to impact us in meaningful ways. 

Those we have loved live deep within us, as part of our many intricate layers. We hear with their ears and see the world through their eyes., because when we share so much of ourselves, we unite our energy with that of the other. Several months or years may pass, but we carry them still, in the moments spent together that we recall, in the music we listen to, what we’ve learnt through them, and so on. The possibilities are vast. They live within the bases of our cellular memories, inhabiting our nervous system and subconscious. Indeed, they are never truly far from us. Their legacy is their gift, something precious and intangible that outlives the relationship, itself. 

For those of us who long to hold on to those we love with a life-or-death grip, this can often provide a sense of solace. I for one have felt the heart-wrenching pain of loss quite acutely over the past couple of years. These losses have left me feeling bereft, like parts of myself went out the door right along with them. The subsequent loneliness consumed me, along with the physical pain I felt in my heart chakra and in my limbs, not to mention the almost constant nagging questions and other mental torment I experienced that left me battling many sleepless nights. However, it wasn’t until very recently that I recovered my faith in the infinity of our universe. In a time when many people feel so isolated from those around them, I have felt my own heart break open, with a resurrected belief in the seamless energy that connects all of life by an unbreakable thread. 

There is a verse written by Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver, titled, “Sometimes”. The verse goes like this: “5. Two or three times in my life I have discovered love./ Each time it seemed to solve everything./ Each time it solved a great many things/ but not everything./ Yet left me as grateful as if it had indeed, and thoroughly, solved everything”. My own experiences have left me with a similar feeling, after escaping the eye of the storm in terms of my heartache. My sorrow has shown me what to heal and how to love myself. This journey has been the catalyst for re-birth. 

Unfortunately for us, we live in a society that often tells us if a love doesn’t last or lead to a deeper commitment, it couldn’t have as much of an impact. However, one genuine encounter can quench a thirsty heart more than walking through a decade-long emotional desert with the same person, filled with silence, empty promises and unmet needs. Everything could look like a fairy tale on the outside, but on the inside, it could feel like any place other than home. 

Holding on to the idea that love can only be meaningful if it is permanent is short-sighted. Love, like many other things in our lives, is like a season and through each transition, we grow. That alone, is the win. We are never again quite the same as we were before and there is beauty in that. Love leaves a footprint unlike almost any wonder we could experience.

About the author

Sarah has a passion for writing, psychology, poetry and growth.

Follow Sarah on Twitter or read more articles from Sarah on Thought Catalog. Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.