Thats Life: So, where did the love go?


Love is duty, or love takes work as long married couples like to say

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“Accept the things to which fate binds you and love the people with whom fate brings you together but do so with all your heart.” Marcus Aurelius

 A year ago, I bought some miniature roses at a flower show. They had been planted in small black plastic containers. I eagerly received growing instructions from the seller and once home, placed them in the balcony where they continued to flower vigorously.

However, after many months, they stopped producing flowers and one plant eventually died. I was disturbed at the prospect of being a rose killer, but it was time to act if I hoped to save the other three plants.

I decided to transplant them into much bigger pots, adding compost, fertiliser and mulch. I watered them religiously for several weeks. After a long wait, I was finally rewarded. One of the plants began to bud, opening up into a bright red rose. I was elated and considered for a moment if I wanted to cut the rose and place it in a vase in my bedroom. I would enjoy it for a shorter time but in much closer view.

After weighing my options, I finally decided against it. I would let the flower stay on the stem for as long as it could before it died a natural death. That bright red rose was doing more than adding beauty to my environment, it was a teacher, unveiling valuable lessons.

Meanwhile, as the world turns its cash registers towards Valentine’s Day, many a maiden will be wondering how to decipher the actions of some gentleman who holds their attention. Look to the roses for answers, I say. The ones blooming where they are planted, not the expensive cut roses wilting in plastic wrapping under the hot February sun.

Turns out, roses can teach us a thing or two about making money – and love.

It is this. Love is duty, or love takes work as long married couples like to say. I couldn’t just buy the rose, bring it home and hope it would flower effusively for me. Nor could I just do bare minimum, watering when I felt like it and then hope it would thrive. This lack lustre approach made me a rose murderer, and yes I do know what happened.

Where did the love go? I stopped working at creating a healthy life giving environment for my flowers. Roses, it turns out, like relationships, need care, attention and maintenance. They need the right conditions to flourish. No use placing them in the shade if they are meant for full sun. No use watering them once a week if they require daily sprinkling.

In love, you act in the best interest of the beloved. What does he or she need to fully bloom? Do that, whether you feel like it or not. Too many of us are waiting to feel loving, to act loving. That leads to death. Love is a matter of duty, not feelings. Anais Nin remarked, “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

Secondly, I learnt to enjoy my roses when I could. The flowers would put on a bright show for a moment before dying away. Similarly, those we love are always taken away from us too soon. Do not just cherish moments with loved ones, enjoy them. Take in the beauty and aroma of the moment. After all, we are here for a good time, not a long time.