Love for an instant.

It is true enough, of course, that a pungent happiness comes chiefly in certain passing moments; but it is not true that we should think of them as passing. . . To do this is to rationalize happiness, and therefore to destroy it. Happiness is a mystery like religion, and should never be rationalized. . .

A man may have, for instance, a moment of ecstasy in first love, or a moment of victory in battle. . . The cause which the flag stands for may be foolish and fleeting; the love may be calf-love, and last a week. But the patriot thinks of the flag as eternal; the love thinks of his love as something that cannot end. These moments are filled with eternity; these moments are joyful because they do not seem momentary. . .  Man cannot love mortal things. He can only love immortal things for an instant.

–G.K. Chesterton in Heretics (1905)

From G.K. Weekly

6 thoughts on “Love for an instant.

  1. For some reason I am not sure why, but this quote irritates me. Perhaps because this is my Darling Husband’s birth and death month. I feel the love of worldly things like my Husband, Monarchs and your family as eternal gifts from Father God.

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    1. Dear LL,

      I don’t think Chesterton is talking about anything other than love such as you and your husband shared. It was an example of “pungent happiness [that] comes chiefly in certain passing moments; but it is not true that we should think of them as passing…” I think his point is that our true loves — as opposed to sentiments or fickle preferences, perhaps? — are an expression of the eternal quality of our humanity, our immortality. As he says, “These moments are filled with eternity.”

      Our lives with our husbands (who were/are “immortal things”), our lives generally, are made up of countless moments that are God-infused, and if we are aware of that, we are most blessed.

      I am reminded of Fr. Alexis Trader’s series on grief and how much help it was to me when my husband died. In one post in which I shared my experience, I reflected on the reality that “it is not the loved one who is gone forever, but the nature of the relationship.” It was here: https://gretchenjoanna.com/2015/04/24/love-is-real-and-it-maintains/

      Love to you, Dear Friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a few weeks ago I wrote a post on the nature of happiness which brought many replies. I think we (me and the commenters) were all agreed that happiness comes when it wills and cannot be striven for.

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