“I don’t understand,” said Vincent. “I know that you love me. Even if you don’t want to marry me, can’t we just stay together?” It was true that Victoria loved him and she did not doubt his love for her. Not so long ago, Vincent had taken her hand and said, “I can’t wait to be married to you for a decade to be able to tell you how much I still love you.” Victoria believed him.
Yet, love is not necessarily enough. It was not Vincent who would leave her but she who would leave him. Worse, she would leave out of boredom. She did not want to hurt him like that. It wasn’t that she found Vincent boring but boredom is inevitable if we are made for something else. How could she tell Vincent that she was made for something more? He would feel less than the beautiful soul which he was. And so she said little, hoping the pain would soon ease for her dear friend.
Vincent went through the normal grieving process. At first, he was in denial believing that the whole thing had been a terrible misunderstanding. When the reality of the situation set in, he got angry and blamed Victoria for his pain. She had tricked him. A friend told Victoria in a rather amused but somewhat perplexed manner, “When you were with Vincent, he always talked about you as if you were a saint. Since the breakup, he talks about you as if you are the devil. I don’t think either is true, is it?” After a while, Vincent’s anger and sadness subsided and he got on with his life, telling himself that there must be someone else for him. There was.
Another friend told Victoria something which had a lifelong impact on her although, at the time, it seemed such a small comment. He said, “Vincent is very up and down about you but he still adores you. He would not want me to repeat this to you but I am going to.” He looked at Victoria as if to confirm or deny some proposition and said, “Vincent told me that there is a greatness in you.” Victoria was surprised. It was a big compliment from a person in pain. Perhaps, at some level, Vincent understood that she had other things to do in life and choosing to be with him would not be a favour to either.
For many years, Victoria remembered what was said. Indeed, her life went far beyond her early expectations. Victoria learned to heed the call of greatness and its unfailing direction and protection. She learned that regardless of confirmation, opposition or disinterest from outside, internal greatness remains intact. However, it took more years to understand something else about that greatness. She had already come to accept it for herself simply because she felt so loved and blessed by Life but she learned that the very same greatness is in everyone although few see it in themselves. This was not a theoretical acknowledgment but an actual understanding of who we all really are. Further, she realized that the gift of knowing this about oneself meant that one must awaken it in others so that they too could find their own greatness.
We must first learn to follow the call of greatness ourselves and then we must see that greatness in everyone else. By helping others, we feed and reinforce the life force in ourselves. It is always there for everyone who is willing to see it but unless we pay attention to it, our eyes grow dim. We start to think that maybe we were delusional in ever believing it was there at all. It is the other way around. We are mostly in a delusional sleep believing ourselves to be so small and isolated and having to rely on our own meagre, insecure sources of strength and guidance. All the while, the greatness swims around us trying to wake us to our beauty and capability and the opportunities that are ever waiting for our consent.
From Love’s Longing