The link we make between love and eternity deserves some attention. We offer a ring as a symbol of our love in marriage, because it is eternal – the ring, in its circularity, has no beginning or end. We promise to love ‘forever’ (although in the Christian marriage service the promise is only until death, interestingly). Intuitively we understand love as being a feature of eternity.
If love is eternal, is it entirely a feature of this world? Is it a created thing? Created things are perhaps not eternal. Created things have a beginning and an end. Love transcends this. Love transcends creation. The Quranic Abraham teaches about this, when he refuses to love the stars, sun and moon for themselves, saying ‘I love not those which set’, in other words, he is directing our attention to the eternal.
And yet love is that which allows us to know life most fully. The feeling we have for our lover, our child, our most precious moments are full of love. You don’t have to transcend life to know love -you have to embrace it. I find this interesting, the ubiquity of love. For me, this suggests that we should not be too fooled by the ephemeral, no matter how beautiful it is. But while not being fooled, we can be graced through loving, with knowing Love itself.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh no; it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken,
It is the star to every wandering barque
who’s worths unknown, though his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.