Friends of the heart

A couple of years ago, I parted ways with a friend who meant rather a lot to me over what you might call irreconcilable differences. We’re not in touch anymore, but now and then I check her Facebook page to see that she’s doing okay.

Recently, she posted the following video of two old circus elephants who were finally reunited at an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee after more than 20 years, with the message, “If only we knew love like this….”

These two animals obviously recognize each other, value each other, and want to be together. Clearly, they are not and cannot be mates. But just as clearly, they are the very closest of friends and companions. It might not even be going too far to say that they love each other, although with animals, who really knows what they feel?

Human beings do feel love for one another, though, and we can know love like this. But like these elephants, first we have to be set free to do so—free from the chains we lash around our hearts and our minds about what “love” is, how much of it we deserve, and who is “acceptable” to love, as well as who is not. I tend to think that the only limits on love are the ones we impose on it and on ourselves in an attempt to manage our own small fears: fear of connecting, fear of loss, fear of getting hurt, fear of change, fear of ourselves, fear of others. Everyone’s afraid of something, and nothing calls out the really deep, dark fears quite so strongly as emotional intimacy with another person.

close-your-eyes

They say, “an elephant never forgets.” I am not an elephant, obviously, but I am a Taurus, and that’s practically the same thing in terms of never forgetting. I can’t let go of every old hurt and hard time and bad scene I’ve ever known, but I also never forget anyone I’ve ever loved. I always tried to give my best to each of them. Whether I succeeded or failed in this endeavor, I cannot say. I know only that I tried.

love-each-other

I know that I gave the very best of myself to that friend I no longer have, and I regret the way things went between us because for about a minute out of our whole lives, we did have a love like that—not mates, but true friends of the heart.

Maybe 20 years from now, or someday, when we’ve both slipped our chains of convention and conditioning, we’ll meet and recognize each other as friends again.