"It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
~Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1850
I first heard this quote when I was 13. I remember because I laughed at this ridiculous concept.
"How can you miss something you never had?" 13 year old me asked.
"Wouldn't it be better to not know?
To never have felt that heartache?"
I asked as I lay on my wrought iron daybed in my pink room, book shelves lining my walls, filled with Harlequin romances, Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, Sunfire Romances, Judy Blume, and anything else that made my little heart flutter.
You see, this notion echoed deep in my soul.
And it made me a little afraid.
It was my first real sense of fear toward Love.
Up until that point, Love had been as rose colored as the comforter I lay upon,
and the idea of Love was as warm and secure as that comforter.
But those words...
They left me cold.
How can this wonderful, most magnificent concept be associated with this terror that now creeped into my sheltered life?
Since that moment, I had always been leery of Love.
Oh sure, I loved a good romance, Hallmark commercials always made me sniffle, and what girl doesn't like pink, but Love, real Love, the kind that Lord Tennyson was anguishing about, I didn't want anything to do with it.
No sirree. No thank you.
But then, one day, out of the blue, my little heart fluttered once more.
It was a bit startling.
I had lived 25 years being just fine with superficial Love. It was safe.
And now this.
I didn't know how to handle it.
Luckily, he was patient. And kind. And warm.
And I felt safe.
For once, I felt secure.
And I let my little heart flutter.
Now I look back at that 13 year old freckle faced girl with the frizzy brown hair,
and I wonder if she was right all along?
Was she right to scoff at Lord Tennyson?
Is it better to have loved and lost?
In my heart, yes.
Yes, it is better.
Because those memories are inimitable and exceptional.
That time will forever live on because of those memories.
But it's my head that's the problem here.
It's that dang irrepressible teenager.
Logic dictates that she was right.
My head acknowledges this because it is witness to what my heart is going through.
If my silly little heart had never been allowed to flutter, would it miss what it never had?
So I'm back at square one: Is it better?
I truly don't know.
What I do know, is this:
I was loved.
I loved and was loved in return.
And that keeps my heart from shattering.
So maybe it can flutter once more.