Falling In Love
from the book "Letters to my Son"
by Kent Nerburn
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
commonalities that two people share. And just as life itself is a gift
that comes and goes in its own time, so too, the coming 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 the 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,
or the person they love feels the spirit of love leaving, 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
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
came and called at
your door, but gently refuse the gift you cannot return. Do not take
advantage; do not cause
pain. How you deal with love is how you deal with you, and all our hearts
feel the same pains and joys, even if our lives and ways are different.
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
Remember that you don't choose love. Love chooses you.
All you can really do is accept it for all its mystery when it comes into
your life. Feel the way it fills you to overflowing, then reach out
and give it away. Give it back to the person who brought it alive in
Give it to others who deem it poor in spirit. Give it to the world
around you in anyway you can.
There is where many lovers go wrong. Having been so long without love,
they understand love only as a need. They see their hearts as empty
places that will be filled by love, and they begin to look at love as something
that flows to them rather than from them.
The first blush of new love is filled to overflowing, but as their love cools,
they revert to seeing their love as a need. They cease to be someone
who generates love and instead become someone who seeks love.
They forget that the secret of love is that it is a gift, and that it can
be made to grow only by giving it away.
Remember this, and keep it to your heart. 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. You can only embrace it
when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you. But 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 has 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.