There’s been a quote stuck in my head for a few weeks now and for a few reasons. It felt pretty pertinent to my own life, and what sticks out to us most is often what’s relatable so, makes sense. Then it stuck for deeper reasons as I tried to weigh its accuracy and “truth” to the context of modern life, especially in the face of modern issues.
Here’s the quote in question:
“Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.”
It’s often attributed to Franz Kafka and a nice story in his life, although these claims are unsubstantiated. I’d like to think he did say it. Wherever it came from, what a powerful statement. Let’s dig in.
At face value, it recognizes that most things that you love, or are at least of great value, will be gone. It’s correct. Nothing lasts, everything ends, and that’s an indisputable truth in a world where we struggle to define them. It’s even more true to people in more tenuous and unstable situations in life. Then, it assures us that an equivalent emotional value will return to us in a different way. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but the second part is what sent me off thinking.
Will love return to us in a different way? It’s nice to assume the pain will even out later, but this is a dangerous mindset to carry. Hey, if it happens, appreciate the circumstances and that they lined up. However, there are many that love will not find. They will lose and lose some more, and that’s that. It’s a painful state of affairs. More on that in a bit.
So we consider the possible courses of action to take when confronted with that loss of love. In the context of this quote, it’s true that it riskily assumes the pain will even out, but I think that the assuredness of the statement helps create the mindset that makes it more possible.
There’s been a push and pull in my head that I think is relatable to most after a period of upheaval: do I try and steady the course and take more action to right the ship or do I just “go with the flow” and let life happen; let the chaos of change be unbound and free to form back as it likes. Which one do you like? It’s likely the quote assumes the latter, but it could also allow you to have both at once. By assuring yourself love will return, you both take action to not close yourself off and let yourself surrender and let it happen. I think that’s a healthy way to be.
Now back to those who’ve lost something they’ve loved or have never had it. What to do when it’s not likely to return or happen at all. I think we live more lonely lives nowadays after all, and modern circumstances make it harder to let the love back in (shameless plug to check out my earlier writing). It’s grim, but it also reveals wonderful opportunity and possibility. Upheaval is prime circumstance for creation, and the key to this creation is found in others. I will maintain the thread that runs through most of what I write: the importance and benefits of kinship and collective action. For those that circumstances have not granted favor, we have the power to create new circumstances. Recognize that most have lost in some way, and act in a way towards yourself and others that builds that mindset of allowing love to return. It’s through kindness we help others navigate the chaos of change. It helps to build the confidence that allows one to live as assuredly as the quote.
I’ll be carrying this wonderful little statement with me for a while.