It was a clear, bright noon. When walking home, I found myself to be alone, the entire street suddenly deserted, and light to be fast fading. As the sun hid completely, I saw a figure descend from above. My mind knew inexplicably, that it was a God, the God of Love.
My jaw dropped open at the sight of him. I stared at him blankly. I was astounded not out of awe, but out of surprise. He wasn’t anything like I had pictured. Clad in a simple white robe, he looked at me with gentle eyes. There was no divine light or halo over his head. Much like his clothing, his appearance was simple.
“Not what you had expected, eh?” he said, with a knowing twinkle in his eyes.
“No,” I said stupidly. What was I supposed to say? That I was expecting to see a glowing cherub with heart shaped arrows and bows?
Laughing heartily, he said to me, “It’s funny how your mind works. Love is not always flowers and hearts you see.”
“But…but..bu-t…” I stuttered. “But if love isn’t like that, then what is?” he said finishing my unuttered question. I simply nodded. “Come, I’ll show you,” he said taking me by the hand.
We walked along the street stopping at the side of a river. I saw a painter at work, painting the stream. It was a fairly small one, with a few plants growing by its side.
“Why does this stream fascinate you so much?” I asked him. “It’ a small stream,” I said.
Looking up from his work for the first time, the painter said, “Here you see the stream twisting and flowing around a few rocks, and disappearing into the distance. But I see the glacier it melted from, the mountain it flowed down from, the boulders it twisted and curved around, the way it changed from a mountain spring to a bubbling brook, the river it became, the trees that swayed on its bank, the farmers ploughing their fields along its borders, the fish swimming in it, the boats let into its waters by children and the lovers that sat along its bank, gazing into each other’s depths. Yet to you, it is only a stream.”
“It must take tremendous practice and work to do this,” I commented, impressed by his little talk. “Nah, it only takes love.” And with that, he resumed his painting.
The God signaled me to walk ahead. As we walked into the street, I saw an old woman, bending over with age, distributing food to urchins.
“Why do you do this?” I said, “Have you seen their nubile bodies? They look like they have rolled in the mud. Do not touch them, you will contract their diseases.” She smiled up at me from her half rimmed spectacles and said, “I lost my only grandson in the spring. Since then, life has never been the same. I have taken up the task to feed as many mouths as I can while I live. Often times, I see their little eyes shining with gratitude and I feel my grandson back with me again. It’s my way of keeping him close.”
“But don’t you feel the pain of his loss gnawing at your heart?” I asked. “Of course, I do,” she said. “But isn’t that the only way you learn to love?”
And again, the God lead me by the hand and ushered me to walk. We reached a hilltop where a young couple sat looking out into the sunset. My footfalls disturbed their moment. Yet, they seemed unperturbed. They beckoned me with their hands and offered me a seat on their bench.
“Sit,” said the God, sensing my reluctance on intruding their privacy. “Where are you from?” I asked the man. “London,” he said. “And she’s from Paris.”
“Does she speak English?” I asked gesturing towards the young lady. “No, and neither do I speak French.”
“But how do you communicate?” I asked, shocked.
“We understand each other better than anyone else. We don’t need words to communicate. It’s funny how love doesn’t need a language,” he said, turning towards the setting sun.
I sat on the hilltop with the two strangers I had just met and started to cry. I was overwhelmed. The tears flowed freely of their own accord. I saw myself in the blazing sun, in the pink glow that tinted the sky, in the trees that swayed on the hillside, in the painter, in the stream that he painted, in the old lady, in the urchins and in the two lovers. The tears flowed faster. Try as I might, I couldn’t stop crying. I was crying not because I was sad, but because for the first time in my life, I was alive. I was love. I was infinite love.
“It’s time to go,” said the God, jerking me out of my reverie.
I followed his footsteps and we arrived at the street we had started from. “You might be wondering why I did not give you any jargon on love. It was because I wanted you to experience and feel it for yourself. It can be quite overwhelming sometimes, eh?” he said, referring to my moment at the hilltop.
“Yes. But why is that I feel this void, this emptiness of love in my life at times?”
“It’s because you never knew how to ask for it,” he said, slowly ascending into the clouds.
“So all I need to do is ask?” I shouted as I saw him vanishing into the heavens.
As he disappeared into the sky, he said, “Ask, and ye shall receive.”