Love, The Weak And Fragile

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Most people talk of love as though it were as strong as girders, this hurricane-like force that can lift you high into the sky.  If a relationship fails, it’s because we puny humans failed Love by not believing in it hard enough: Love can rescue everyone, knit the world together, even surpass death.
And, I think, people are continually surprised when they plummet through the paper-thin lacing of Love and fall hard onto the rocks below.
Love is fragile.  Love is weak.
Love, to me, is like an emaciated refugee that shows up at your door in the middle of the night during a storm.  You’re not sure how she had the strength to get here, but here she is regardless, her thumb on your doorbell until you let her in.
You take her inside, give her a bed and a bowl of soup.  She’s thankful, but can’t contribute to the house much.  She stays in bed and is absolutely wonderful company, but having Love in the house doesn’t pay the bills, doesn’t sweep the floors, doesn’t feed the cat.  She just sits there tucked into the covers, not complaining.
All these other things in life seem far more pressing than Love, who doesn’t ask much, if anything.  Money certainly makes demands of you, showing up at your door and shaking you down.  Chores arrives and he kicks dust around the house.  Old Habits has been living in your house all your life, and he’s quite insistent that things must be done his way.
And  if you’re not careful to feed her, you spend so much time dealing with Money and Chores and Habits that poor Love starves to death in the corner, so kind she never says a word before she expires.
Love can be strong.  If you feed her good things, get her up and out of bed, take her for walks and get her exercise in, she can do some things that put Money and Chores and Habits to shame.  Given the proper treatment, she can grow to be stronger than all of them put together.  But she’s a delicate flower who requires a lot of attention to thrive, and she doesn’t like causing a fuss.
(Not like Sex.  Sex shrieks in the night, and causes a lot of fuss, and looks much like Love when they’re both in bed together.  I wouldn’t confuse them, though.)
You have to tend to Love constantly.  She’s a tough old bird and will stick around through a lot of neglect, but eventually she will pass on.  The trick is to realize that this mysterious and unannounced visitor needs your care, and God forbid you assume that she’s just naturally stronger than Money and Chores and Habits and you just throw her in to fight with them before you’ve given her a good set of boxing gloves and a training montage.
Love is weak, and delicate, and all the more special because of that.  She’s injured daily by the smallest of things: a uncapped tube of toothpaste, a sneer when you’re in a bad mood, the forgetting of a special day.  Enough nicks and bumps, and one day she’ll pass on, so quiet you may not even hear her die.  You may not even notice with all the other visitors jostling for your attention.
Love is weak as an orchid, and powerful as an oak tree.  In both cases, you’d better get to watering.


  1. Mel
    Oct 22, 2013

    Given the frailty of Love, what recommendations do you have to support her? What are the real-life soup you feed her, the exercise you give her, etc.? And how do you balance your need to tend to her with the need to attend to the other demands on your time and personal resources?
    – M.

    • TheFerrett
      Oct 24, 2013

      That’s all the other essays I’ve ever written on love. It’s a complex balance.

  2. Jessica
    Oct 23, 2013

    Dear Ferret,
    This is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve read in a while on the internet. It struck a chord with me and resonated much. While all news pages write about hate and anger and mistrust in the world, this is a wonderful ode to Love as it naturally is.
    Thank you for putting in words what I’ve already known intuitively for quite a bit.

  3. Rachel
    Oct 30, 2013

    But don’t over water…. 😉

  4. M.A.
    Nov 4, 2013

    Actually, this explains a lot… my houseplants don’t survive, either.


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