Stroll with Nicole

From a place called love

Nicole Law dares to share her experiences of love in a poem.

I attended the launch of a friend’s debut poetry collection recently and was struck by something he said as he shared the inspiration for his work. 

“The poet will always return to a central theme in his or her body of work, a sort of returning home to the thread which runs through each word he or she puts to paper.”

I have been in the midst of collating a series of poems for a new collection and the title I had chosen immediately came to mind – From a place called Love. The centrality of the theme of love to my life, in all its facets, has formed the narrative thread that suffuses both my life and poetry. 

Learning the love we are capable of giving to others and the depths it can reach. Learning to let love go gently. Learning to let love back in. All of life is a lesson in love, a tapestry of our imperfect attempts to love well and deeply. I am at the stage of my life where I witness engagements, weddings and in general the big ideas which underpin marriage as a life-long project. It fills me with curiosity but also hope and wonderment for what may or may not lie in store for us all. 

Today, I had tears come to my eyes as I watched the livestream of my good friend’s Wedding Mass. As she walked down the aisle, I witnessed the realisation of love not as an emotion but as a conscious decision to walk the path of life with another person. One of the readings left a profound impact on me.

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

It spoke deeply of the essential meaning of love itself: that if we do not act from a place of love, then our words and actions ring hollow. We may be bestowed with many gifts and talents, but if we choose to use them in selfish ways or to view people as means to an end, then we have lost the core of what it means to live with a deep purpose.

Instead of coming from a place of love, we come from a place of selfishness. We prioritise our needs, instead of those of others. We wade into the shallow waters of flirtation instead of venturing into the deep sea of real love. 

Too often I think, our human experiences in the form of rejection, loss and pain have convinced us that we are incapable of giving or receiving love. 

There is always that final threshold we are fearful to cross, because once we step over the precipice, there is no turning back. In this way, we live life cautiously, holding back a hug or a kind word or our presence. We place conditions on our love, tie it up with our fears and put it on a pedestal. 

Something I’ve learned along the way (yes, I’ve scuffed my knees too on the gravel) is that the hallmark of a deep and abiding love is its liberty – allowing the people we love to be themselves instead of holding onto them tightly. 

All these thoughts on love and what it means to me come to fruition in the final poem of the collection, shared here:

From a place called Love

I go out but I return

to a place called Love 

where my roots sink deep

and the ascent is steep 

where I keep the parts 

of myself still broken 

but now each muscle 

woken each wound 

a token of all that has

is unsaid 

is unfelt 

is undone 

I used to run at the first 

sight of smoke 

I used to inspect the 

brickwork of my gate 

now it swings wide open 

a field of roughness 

of wild abandon 

of sharp edges 

of grounded earth 

each breath now births 

a new pair of eyes 

a new heart that dies 

here there are no lies 

only necessary goodbyes 

to the past selves that 

left behind empty shells 

welding the feeling to 

the meaning of 

suffering well and for 

open windows and open doors

returning again to 

the place that still remains

that calls Love by name.

I am reminded that Love is truly a place of comfort and solace, a home to which the weary soul returns. On this journey of life and love, may we continue to discover our capacity to give love to the people in our lives, freely, unconditionally. May we return again to a place that still remains, that calls Love by name.

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Nicole Law is a writer for Adamah Media, who writes a column entitled 'Stroll with Nicole'. She is an educator based in sunny Singapore. Her calling is not only to mould young minds, but also to nourish souls through her faith-based podcast. She has a soft spot for burnt cheesecake, Dean Martin and swing dance. When she’s not engaging with her listeners, she’s planning new conversations for her podcast - she believes in the power of conversations and the beauty of our relationships.

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