Happily ever after, fairy tale endings, and of course behind it all is love. So, just why is it we love to hear about love? I have a theory.
My theory is that we want high ideals to aspire to and hearing about true love and happily ever after and fairy tale endings gives us hope for the future of our own realities. I mean who would want to read a story about having to make time to do the laundry and clean the bathroom on and on? (Well, okay, so Cinderella is the exception here.)
No, I want to hear about charming princes, beautiful princesses, and true love. Which brings me to the qualities of love.
First, there is purity. It seems that one of the age old tests for how true love is, is that of purity. I suppose this makes sense. The tale of pure love, loving when we believe that the loved one is dirt poor, not realizing she is the lost princess or loving the beast unseen and loving in spite of the physical ugliness melts our hearts time and time again. It is pure. It is true. It is love.
Second, there is hope and belief. In the tales I hear, it seems that love gives the lover hope and inspiration to conquer all obstacles that stand in the way. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why in fairy tales, when we think that all is lost, love comes through in some miraculous way to see that no, all is not lost. Not really. There is a way. Love will prove it.
A third aspect of love is closely tied to number two. For if we hope and believe that love can conquer all obstacles, then love must have the quality of actually being able to conquer those obstacles. Bringing up the fairy tale motif again, this becomes apparent as Prince Charming kisses Snow White and brings her back to life. Because she was not dead, but only in a deep, deep sleep. And the prince has conquered all obstacles for love. Or, turning to a more modern fairy tale, in William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride”, Miracle Max explains to us that Wesley is only mostly dead and Wesley tells us what it is he has to live for. Why, true love, of course.
Fourth, true love is true. When faced with temptations to which mere mortals would fall, true love remains true, passes the test, and walks away from temptation. Temptation is hard. But love can resist.
Fifth, love protects us. Why else would the knight battle the dragon in order to save the princess? Why, true love, of course!
So why do we love love? I ask, how can we not love love? Love is good, and true, and saves us from evil, protects us, and cares for us. So forget about reality. . . Well, actually, the best of all worlds is probably when we can work love into our reality. It might not make all the laundry go away, but it will make our lives more worth living.
Happy Valentine’s Everyone!