“Letters to my Son”

It is a mystery why we fall in love; It is a mystery how it happens
It is a mystery when it comes; It is a mystery why some love grows
And it is a mystery why some love fails.
You can analyze this mystery and look for reasons and causes,
But you will never do anymore than take the life out of the experience.
Just as life itself is more than the sum of the bones
And muscles and electrical impulses in the body,
Love is more than the sum of the interests
And attractions and commonalties that two people share.
And just as life itself is a gift that comes and goes in its own time,
So too, the coming and going of love must be taken as an unfathomable gift
That cannot be questioned in its ways.

Sometimes, hopefully at least once in your life –
The gift of love will come to you in full flower,
And you will take hold of it and celebrate it in all inexpressible beauty.
This is a dream we all share.
More often, it will come and take hold of you,
Celebrate you for a brief moment, then move on.
When this happens to young people,
They too often try to grasp the love and hold it to them,
Refusing to see that it is a gift that is freely given
And a gift that just as freely, moves away.
When they fall out of love,
They try desperately to reclaim the love that is lost
Rather than accepting the gift for what it was, then moving on.
They want answers where there are no answers.
They want to know what is wrong in them
That makes the other person no longer love them;
Or they try to get their lover to change,
Thinking that if some small things were different,
Love would bloom again. They blame their circumstances
And say that if they go far away and start a new life together,
Their love will grow.
They try anything to give meaning to what has happened.

But there is no meaning beyond the love itself,
And until they accept its own mysterious ways,
They live in a sea of misery.
You need to know this about love, and to accept it.
You need to treat what it brings you with kindness.
If you find yourself in love with someone who does not love you,
Be gentle with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you.
Love just didn’t choose to rest in the other person’s heart.
If you find someone else in love with you and you don’t love him,
Feel honored that love came and called at your door,
But gently refuse the gift you cannot return.
Do not take advantage; do not cause pain.
If you fall in love with another, and he falls in love with you,
And then love chooses to leave,
Do not try to reclaim it or to assess blame. Let it go.
There is a reason and there is a meaning. You will know in time.
Remember that you don’t choose love. Love chooses you.

Love has its own time, its own seasons,
And its own reason for coming and going.
You cannot bribe it or coerce it, or reason it into staying.
If it chooses to leave from your heart or from the heart of your lover,
There is nothing you can do and there is nothing you should do.
Love always had been and always will be a mystery.
Be glad that it came to live for a moment in your life.
If you keep your heart open, it will come again.

– Kent Nerburn, extract from Letters to my Son

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