This week’s piece has been on my mind for a while. I’ve known I wanted to write something to mark the year since my dad died, but I haven’t known what. The temptation is to go all Richard Curtis and sentimental. And he’d have liked that. He couldn’t resist a bit of schmaltz.
But what comes to mind today as I think about things, about these sad, mad, but not all bad 12 months, is something that’s been slowly circling through my mind for a few years now and has gained a certain solidity since this time last year.
It’s a really quite simple observation, nothing ground-breaking or show-stopping, and I’m not the first to have it, but it feels important to say today. It’s that pain – or, perhaps to be more precise, the suffering that comes from pain – is simply the other side of love. It’s the denial of love, the refusal, the rejection, the absence of love. It’s that wherever pain exists, love is what’s missing.
And that therefore, just as hot is to cold or light is to dark or Curtis is to Cubric, the cure – perhaps the only cure – for pain, is love.
And therefore, furthermore, that if we’re all, as I think we all are, beings in pain – to some degree or another – we’re all also capable of being in love.
I’m sure there are a few cave-dwellers dotted atop some mountains who’ve been meditating almost constantly for 35 years that exist in a state of blissful free awareness, unattached contentment, but for anyone who wants to live in society, with people, in relationship, performing tasks and ventures, objectives and adventures, pain, it would seem, is an unavoidable part of the deal.
But I’m convinced, completely, that wherever pain is found, then below its surface, maybe just below or maybe hidden deep, is a well of love waiting to be tapped.
And in that, as some great philosopher-filmmaker once wrote, love actually is all around.
There you go pops, that one’s for you.