I hate cynicism. I hate cynical people. And I especially hate it when cynical people make stupid cynical claims that love is an illusion, that it’s nothing more than a rush of hormones designed to make us breed.
As I’ve pointed out before, love is integral to the experience of being human. Its absoultely crucial for our psychological and physical well-being, in a scientific as well as emotional sense. To live without love is to not live at all. And even if it is just the result of neurons firing and chemicals floating around in our blood, that doesn’t make the sensation any less real – or any less meaningful.
Which is why I was so happy to read this story in The Guardian yesterday, about a couple who have reunited and married after falling in love 60 years ago.
He was a Russian intelligence officer. She was the daughter of a German man he had been sent to interrogate. They fell in love, and after he was sent back to the motherland, wrote letters. Russian authorities threatened to send Ivan to the gulag if he continued writing to Lisa, so he stopped, and married another woman. He told her in his last letter he considered his pending marriage “a betrayal.”
The parting ended in 2005 when Mr Byvshikh was told by friends there was a telephone call for him. “There was Lisa’s voice,” he told the daily Izvestia. “She was crying and I began to cry too.” They were reunited when Ms Valdhelm visited him in his home town of Krasnoyarsk. “What’s amazing is that whatever I do it’s OK with her and whatever she does is good with me, just as if there had never been a separation of 60 years.”
What can I possibly add? That says it all. Seriously. This brought tears to my eyes.
Amazingly, another story appeared in the press today about another couple who are getting married after a 60 year separation.
Hugh and Huldah grew up in the same small American town, and were separated when he went off to fight in the war. They weren’t forcibly separated by any nefarious government restrictions, as were Ivan and Lisa – but Hugh was gone three years, and young ladies can’t always wait forever. They both married different people and moved on.
Then in their 80s, with their spouses dead, they got back in touch, and fell in love all over again.
Hugh, 87, is now blind and hard of hearing. Huldah, 86, has been battling cancer for three decades.
But the magic is still there, say Hugh and Huldah.
“We’re constantly finishing each other’s sentences,” said Hugh. “We think it’s all part of a plan that we have little influence over, it was a plan created in heaven. We are simply the players and the whole world was a stage.”
I’m not religious. But I wouldn’t dream of poo-pooing somebody else’s belief that they were brought back together by some greater plan. Who knows, maybe they were. The point is that they love each other, and being together makes them happy. If thinking they were truly destined to be together makes it more meaningful for them, what’s the harm in that?