It’s just that love, I think, is magic, and work.

Madeleine L’Engle once wrote about the great gift of love, the great cosmic pairing of two, and she said this:

“It’s a strange thing, how you can love somebody, how you can be all eaten up inside with needing them–and they simply don’t need you. That’s all there is to it, and neither of you can do anything about it. And they’ll be the same way with someone else, and someone else will be the same way about you and it goes on and on–this desperate need–and only once in a rare million do the same two people need each other.”

And when we do find that same one, that same one who needs us as we need them, it is great magic. It is great love.

And then it is great work.

I think it likely that even the lust-worthy Bathsheba, after brushing through her long and luxurious hair, left stray strands in the sink drain. Did it drive David mad? Did he begin a case against her, did he begin to justify away his desire? Did he begin an internal search for a short-haired blonde, an innocent, matronly type, perhaps with wider hips but who could keep a bathroom tidy?

Did he find her? And when he did, what faults did she carry?

If love is indeed magic, it cannot be explained away. It does not make sense – the work, the commitment, the fusion, the bind – but we’re prone to make it heady. We state our case – we were so young, and so stupid, and we’re utterly incompatible, and would you look at these sink hairs? – and then we begin to peek beyond our bedroom window and see the world in bloom.

It is not that I believe there is just one person, one soul mate, for each of us. I do not believe love is a great game of Go, Fish, that we are sent in the pond for a 9 and a 9 alone.

No, math will do us no good, with its addition of faults, division of compromise. Nor will science. Love is not a theory; it cannot be measured, its formula cannot be reconstructed.

It is, I think, a bit like poetry – incomprehensible, random, divine – and yet, even the poet must do the work. Even the poet must sit in the oak chair, must type, must dream, must take out the trash, must clean the sink drain.

The world will always be in bloom. And yet, the prized rose – the one across the lawn, the one on the rooftop garden, the one in the downtown conservatory – will always have its thorns. Even Bathsheba’s locks will land in the sink.

Lust cannot survive a clogged drain. But love, the choice of forever? I suppose that’s where the magic comes in.

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