by Laura Jean Libbey
There is no moment in a woman’s life more tragic than the one in which she is brought face to face with the cruel truth, that the one upon whom she has bestowed her love does not love her in return. There are many pains one can endure, but none which can bring such a sting to the heart. The whole world seems to change and life does not seem worth the living.
The heart that has never known love is like a flower growing in a cavern. It needs love’s sunshine to ripen it into beauteous perfection. The heart craves love as the flower craves the dew, and the warm, glad, golden light. The root of love strikes deep into the fertile soil of woman’s heart, puts forth its tendrils, winding itself so closely about it that the heart could not throw it off, if it would. Woman’s love idealizes its object, raises it to the highest pinnacle within its portals and worships it. The despair of death sweeps over her heart when she finds her idol is but common clay.
A woman always has faith that her love will redeem the heart beloved, if it has fallen into evil ways or strayed from its allegiance. Love is to a woman what it is to a maiden, a sweet dream, whose dazzling radiance blinds her. The one prayer ever uppermost in her thoughts is that she may be loved as she loves. May heaven pity the woman who believes she has imprisoned this beautiful bird in her gilded heart-cage, only to find that it has taken wing, soared so far beyond her reach that she can never hope to grasp it again. There are women who give up completely when they realize their loss.
There are others whose hearts rise phoenix-like out of the dead ashes of despair, greater and nobler for the sorrow which it has endured, and lived through. Love returned makes the world a paradise of love; slighted, turns it into a torturing hades in which there is no spot where one can find the priceless gem of peace.
He weeps over hearts wrenched apart, each wandering their separate ways. When on heart grows weary of the other, and longs to break the rose-chain which binds it, the other heart cannot hope to keep it captive long. It is best to look at the inevitable bravely, and bear the heavy cross, to the end, unflinchingly. One cannot fetter a sunbeam that crosses one’s path. No more can one fetter love. The woman who has known the bitterness of misplaced love must find solace in her usefulness to the world.
A lifetime of grieving and longing will never recapture a love-bird that has flown. Dissatisfied once, dissatisfied always. A warm heart need not be always tenantless because one love refused to make its home there. Another, and yet another, may flutter past it, ere the one love which heaven intended for it makes its home there.
True love knows no change. The heart may know many drifting fancies, but only one heaven-sent love. It is wisest and best never to brood over a love which has taken wings. Bury it among the dead roses-leaves of the past. The lost bird-note of yester year. Love’s sweet messenger would bring joy to the heart, never pain, or the sorrowful pangs of regret. Then the pitiless storm dashes the rose from the stem that nurtured and loved it into being. The branch does not wither and die, but bravely turns to the sunshine, hoping for another flower, to take its place. Do any of my readers know such a woe, or a love which has taken wings?
Source: This clipping was included in a love letter exchanged between Edna Griffith and Oscar Small in December 1910. These letters are avialable on the web curtesy of Kate McCarter and her site devoted to McCarter Geneology.