The Fourteenth of February

leonardo-da-vinci-heart

I think that if this blog could be summed up in a single word, I would choose “Love.”

I have, for reasons all my own, a deep passion for life and for experiencing it with all my senses and the whole of my imagination. If you’re still reading this blog after two months, I suspect you’re in the same boat. What you may not know, however is the role that a very special person played in forming this passion within me.

So today, I want to talk about Love itself. To do so I will focus on the person who is for me the embodiment of it. My wife, Kim.

It is, I think, a sign of how far we’ve fallen as a culture that even a discussion of this greatest of virtues is so easily drawn into the pettiness of politics. Even as a type these words, I worry about who I’m going to offend. “What about those from broken marriages?” “How can I work gender equality in the workplace into this?” “There’s gay marriage now Anderson, what about that?”

Call me an idiot, but I believe that it’s possible to transcend the mechanical and mean world of politics, culture, and economics. Damn Foucault’s torpedoes, I’m going to pull back, with my Love, onto Matthew Arnold’s darkling plain at Dover Beach.

The picture above that I’ve chosen for this piece fully represents my views on the issue. Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings of the human heart represents what is most certainly mechanical and scientific about human beings. We are kept alive by a pump after all. Da Vinci, however, doesn’t leave the object of his study in the realm of cold, heartless fact. He rescues it by rendering it as art – an art that inspires wonder and emotion, and one that creates a new space in which to experience life. This is the human heart. At once, mechanical and transcendent. Leonardo’s genius is in his ability to reconcile this contradiction.

St. Paul started a millennial firestorm with the whole “Wives submit to your husbands” thing. For my entire life, churches have fought and split over the politics of this issue. Yet I ask you to take a look at almost any little church across the land and tell me who keeps it operational. I recently read an article criticizing The Feminine Mystique for being racist and classist. Once we get into politics, just as in the church turf-wars of my youth, it seems division is the only possibility. My point here is not to argue the theologically correct view of women in the church or even the politically correct women, class, and race. I frankly don’t care anymore.

My wife is more than the love of my life. She is its pump. She came into my petty little world and pulled me out into a larger, infinitely richer one. My wife, for reasons that I will never understand, saw something in me that had value and she fought for it. This was no easy fight. Her adversary was a stubborn and ignorant boy, but her essential goodness (combined with a rugged stubbornness of her own) had the day. What’s more, she did not abandon me to my new life. Each day, she lives it with me and teaches me how to live it better. This is a tireless, courageous act that is perpetual and constant. Like the human heart, she contracts and expands to keep the whole system well-nourished and functional. And like Da Vinci, I am in constant awe of her magnificence.

This is important to understand: She is not only my partner. This is not a business relationship. She is part of me. The best part of me, in fact. Her love is not something that is added to my life like a spice. It is not a supplement, but rather a creative energy that gives purpose and meaning to everything I do or experience. Her love is the very landscape upon which my life is lived. It creates my life everyday and enriches each experience as it happens. The legal concept of partnership fails to capture what is magnificent about Kim. If we where merely partners, it would be implied that I have an existence outside my relationship with her. I don’t. Her love once-and-for-all eradicated useless, old-me. Thank God. Without her, I don’t exist at all.

Emptiness into fullness. Fear into joy. If I am an idiot for believing in transcendence, so be it. I have good reason. I have lived it, and I’ve discovered that Love is transcendent. Kim, through a force that science cannot account for or measure, entered into a life, changed it, gave it meaning, and creates it anew each day.

My wife is a miracle.

Happy Valentines Day, honey.