Yesterday my book club met and we talked about Sherlock Holmes. It was a bit of a scattered book club but it worked and we had a lovely conversation. We talked about the cases, Sherlock and Watson’s relationship, and many other aspects of the first 12 cases from 221 Baker Street
One of the points of discussion was about Sherlock’s supposed oblivion or lack of need for human affection, relationships, love and marriage. He is basically an asexual being that focuses on reason not passion. He chooses not to fall in love.
But, what if it isn’t a choice? What if it just doesn’t happen?
Now before I start this line of thought- please, don’t placate me with assurances of my finding the right person and promises in heaven and not loosing hope. I know such things and I agree but just for a second I want to put a question I’ve asked myself many times out there for all of you-
What if a human being never falls in love? Can you live a full life and never fall in love?
An analysis of literature, film, art, music, history and even human psychology would say NO. An article I saw recently said that 92% of pop music was about love. I am certain any other genre would be similar in results. It is hard to think of anything in modern or ancient culture that doesn’t at least tangentially involve love, sensuality, marriage or companionship with perhaps death and God being close behind.
But what do I mean by love?
Well, let’s go with the Greek definition. They said there are 4 types of love:
agape- selfless love. Kind of like the what the bible calls charity. It’s a hope for the goodness in the world. An unselfishness and service to those around you without wanting anything in return. it’s the kind of love we talk about at Christmas and that makes Scrouge a better person when he develops it.
eros- sensual love. Passion, is the root for the word erotica and eroticism. As far as I can tell this love usually requires human contact more than words, or feelings.
storge- familial love. Like the kind of attachment a mother feels for a child, brother to brother etc.
philia- friendship love. for Aristotle the greatest kind of love. Friendship, loyalty, human understanding and commitment. Like minds and devotion. Root word for philanthropy. I guess my lack of eros makes philia mean so much to me. I know many who seem fine without friends but to me loyalty, commitment and friendship are everything.
So just as a mental exercise bear with me- what if you miss out on 1 of the 4? What if you never seem to make any real friends? What if you have broken relationships with family and can never make that work? What if you never have any passion with another person?
What does that mean for your life?
I don’t know. I really don’t.
I’m 33 years old. I’ve never been in love. I’ve never been kissed. I’ve never had a break up or a heartache. I’ve never had anything more than a crush from time to time and I honestly do not know why. I really don’t.
Some may say it has to do with my weight but then I see girls much heavier than I that meet, date and marry successfully. I know a woman who has been married 4 times. That boggles my mind. How can she find 4 men who want to be with her and I can’t even get a kiss? Sigh…
Again, I’m not saying this for pity or reassurances. I really want to ask the question- can you live a full life and not fall in love? I think most people would try to answer yes to make me feel better but if they really thought about their own lives and if they had never had that experience it would feel pretty empty.
So what do we who have never fallen in love do? That’s the frustrating part. Nothing. As far as I have been able to figure out you just wait. Yes, you can workout and go to activities, date whenever you can, but none of that is any guarantee of falling in love. Believe me I know. You certainly can and must always be hopeful and happy with what you can control but it will probably always be this big part of being human that you don’t completely understand.
I think you will always have a little ache in the back of your heart that everyone else got to experience something so primal and basic and you were left out. I read an article today saying that the average human being falls in love 4 times in their life.
Unfortunately in any study there are always outliers and if you are one of them, I get it. I know what you are feeling.
I guess the only thing I can say to my fellow love-lorn is that everyone has an ache of some kind. Nobody has all 4 of the loves perfectly in their life. Everyone has regrets and wishes for something they never quite experienced and never enjoyed. That’s what the atonement is for.
After all, as far as we know, Jesus never fell in love either, so we are in pretty good company on that one. He loves us and that has always carried me through.
Hang in there! I know I’m not the only person out there who has wondered about this. Please share your stories.
Anyway, I just wanted to put that question out to the world. What if it never happens?
Ending with this thought….