“Love is where it falls” is a phrase I first noticed when Simon Callow wrote a memoir, Love is Where it Falls, in which he shared how his agent, Peggy Ramsay, had fallen in love with him, despite the fact that she knew that he was gay and, aged under thirty at the time, also much younger than her seventy-odd years. The friendship was, in his words, “a passionate friendship” but not in a way that could be proscribed by any convention.
I suspect most of you reading this will have experienced how love can, literally, “fall” into your life, often at unsuspecting moments. It might be a look across a room, a chance touch as something is handed to you, a timbre of voice (Leonard Cohen’s Marianne said she fell in love with his voice first) and it may be thoroughly inconvenient and challenging to convention. Having watched The Crown (Netflix) recently I suspect many of us have been reminded of Princess Margaret’s thwarted love of Group Captain Peter Townsend and today we read media comment about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and remember his mother’s much-criticised relationship with Dodi Al Fayed. Diana’s life ended tragically and yet I have lasting memories of her looking very happy in photographs of those last moments on his yacht.
On this Valentine’s Day my mind is drawn to those whose love is judged, criticised or forbidden due to prejudice, cultural or social norms, or religious edicts. It is drawn to those who have to marry someone they have never met and may never love. It is also drawn to those who love one another but are separated by war, poverty, terrorism or family ‘honour’.
And so for those of us who experience love, let’s honour it and know that we cannot make it happen. It happens to us. No dating app algorhythm will ensure that we experience love if that mysterious chemistry is not there. So if it has honoured us with its presence, today is a day to be thankful, even when we know that loving another human being can push us to the limits, and can lead us to challenge ourselves as well as them! It also provides us with the potential to discover depths within us we never knew we had before. So I hope you find the time to celebrate what love you have in your life on this Valentine’s Day and if you aren’t in relationship remember that you are always in relationship with yourself and those around you and that’s just a different sort of love.