“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” (Helen Keller)
And everyone we have loved deeply becomes a part of us. Which means that it doesn’t matter what you believe about what happens when we die — whether you believe we end when our body stops living, or whether you believe in heaven and hell, or whether you believe in the spirit living on in a unified dimension after it leaves the body.
What matters is that anyone you have ever loved, becomes a part of you. And so they live on in you. Their memory, their life, their effect on you — lives on within you. You carry them with you for the rest of your life.
It also means that any person you have ever loved (even if you broke up, divorced, grew apart), has become a part of you as well. So even though on the surface a divorce might look messy, underneath the surface, the love you shared in the past still resides in your hearts. Even if you aren’t feeling it in the present.
Once love has touched your life, your heart, your core, that experience remains with you. Even if the relationship changes, and you no longer love each other today, the love you shared in the past has touched your heart permanently, indelibly, magically.
In fact, the people we have loved (and who have loved us) have each contributed to who we are today. Each of them has added a piece of love to our heart, expanding it, stretching it, broadening our capacity for love, and making us a different person for having loved them, and for having been loved by them.
This is true of other experiences as well. For example, I used to live by the Chesapeake Bay — and I loved being on the water! And when the inspiration came to move west, while I was newly in love with the red rocks of southwest Utah, I couldn’t imagine leaving the bay behind.
What I discovered is that once we have loved something (even an experience or an aspect of nature), it resides in our heart forever after. It’s been over two years since I moved west, and I can still picture the bay and feel the incredible love I have for the water. Surprisingly, I’ve found I don’t miss it…for how can I when it is still with me?
Our hearts never get to the point of having no more room, either. Isn’t that great?! So I can love the red rocks, and still love the bay. And someday I may move again and fall in love anew. And I know that my heart will simply expand even further to make room for all that love.
Knowing that love endures within your heart helps when it’s time to say goodbye to a person or place that you have loved deeply. And while they/it may not be in your current life anymore, the love lives on within you…always.
(Note: Each “love” link will take you to a different post about love…clearly I enjoy writing about love!)