Love's Work

"The Lovers must leave a distance, a boundary, for love: then they approach and retire so they love may suspire. This may be the economics of eros; but it may also be taken as the infinite passion of faith: Dieu se revele en se retirer. Love and philosophy may seem to have had the most to say, but friendship and faith have been framing and encroaching by night and by day."

- Gillian Rose, Love's Work: A Reckoning with Life

I will need to re-read this book again, if only to understand it a little better than I have the first time reading it. But to me this book puts forward - in the face of the hardest things, atrocities, sickness, death - a praxis of love that is wise in its humility, strong in its flexibility. When love can learn, reflect, adapt, seek, let go - when its has muscles, heart, and brain - in other words, when love is living enough to work: this is love that makes our human experience achieve its best form.

What stories show this kind of love? Do you recommend a novel, film, or memoir that shows this working love? One story that comes to my mind is Places in Heart, by Robert Benton. The story is so much about the transformation within the characters' capacities for love. Modes of love at first formed by brittleness, prejudice, and fear start to soften, share, see, and 'flesh out' so that by the end love is operative, and real.