To Love Another
photo by Lee Keefer
“It is also good to love: because love is difficult.
For one human being to love another human being:
that is perhaps the most difficult task
that has been entrusted to us,
the ultimate task, the final test and proof,
the work for which all other work
is merely preparation.
That is why young people,
who are beginners in everything,
are not yet capable of love:
it is something they must learn.
With their whole being, with all their forces,
gathered around their solitary, anxious,
upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
But learning-time is always a long,
secluded time ahead and far on into life,
is solitude, a heightened and deepened kind
of aloneness for the person who loves.
Loving does not at first mean merging,
surrendering, and uniting with another person
(for what would a union be of two people
who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent?),
it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen,
to become something in himself,
to become world, to become world in himself
for the sake of another person;
it is a great, demanding claim on him,
something that chooses him
and calls him to vast distances.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke