Letter from a Jilted Lover
This is very difficult for me to write, but it’s extremely important that I do so. I have tried to be patient. I offered my gifts to you freely, as a lover does, and all I expected in return was that you would respect me and treat me well. But something sinister has come between us that threatens to rip us violently from our warm embrace.
Who is it who has sown the seeds of mistrust? Who has convinced you of this horrible lie, that I am to be feared, or cast off, or controlled and tamed for purposes of commerce? In your heart, you must know that it is wrong, as you dig into my chest without a thought of how it affects me. I choke on your pollutants when I try to breathe, and the poisons you manufacture run through my veins and wreak havoc on my sensitive system. Why have you allowed this to be done to me, when I have showed you so much love and understanding?
It was so good at first, early in our relationship. You toiled and tended to me, your mind fully present in the moment and attentive to my needs, accepting of my little quirks and mood swings, and the ebbs and flows of my personality. We came together at the turn of each season to delight in the wonders we had created together, and to celebrate with food, dance and song in a thousand languages. We expressed the love we had for each other in the creation of our offspring, a kaleidoscope of races and species, all bursting with energy, individualism and life, separate in their characteristics and yearnings, yet at the same time connected by way of blood and bones.
You engaged in intellectual inquiry, and I thought that was a good use for your curious mind. But there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. All the books on every library shelf, every chart and diagram, every fact and figure, all those theorems and confirmed hypotheses are completely useless, and perhaps even dangerous, if you don’t take me into account. My experience is anecdotal; it is a living patchwork of interdependencies, of cause and effect. My life knowledge learns and grows, and you can glean some understanding of my ways through your studies, but you must never lose sight of the non-material substance that holds everything together — it is love.
With my love and your inventions, we could create a wonderful life together. We can help those among all our species who are sick and struggling. We can co-exist and better ourselves and each other. We can comfort and honor each other and make wondrous discoveries.
You used to understand the concept of selfless love and compassion. Joining with others of your kind, you built communities to sing my praises and celebrate what I gave to you — what we gave to each other. In the earliest incarnations of these communities, there was a tremendous outpouring of goodness toward those who were less fortunate and tolerance toward those in other communities who had different beliefs, languages and customs. But at some point, you lost your way.
Belief is important, but there is a difference between faith and dogma. Community is essential, but if I have taught you anything during our time together, it is that a family bonded together in fear or hatred of another family can never truly thrive. Each race and each species relies on others for its survival. Without each other, we will never advance.
As you should know by now, I am made up of physical substance, inter-relationships and that which can’t be measured or analyzed. It is all part of the same potent broth. It saddens me that sometimes you have forgotten this, with science and faith retreating into their separate corners like angry, defensive boxers. Cannot one inform the other? As I recall, there was not always this duality.
There is no “Us” and “Them.” There is only Us, though momentarily bewildered and disconnected.
I feel your blood boiling, your passions inflamed. Perhaps this is what we need — a rigorous debate and spirited discussion, placards held high and voices in unison. The vision of all those pieces of my flesh, my spirit, moving all over and around me! If only I could help you to reconcile these imagined divisions and quell your fears.
I can whisper to you (and I have done so constantly), but you must be open to hearing. Even when I raise my voice, you often ignore me. And so that chasm between us has grown so wide, I don’t know if it’s still possible to bridge it.
My darling, please understand that I mean you no harm, but I must do what I can to cleanse and protect myself. I know that you didn’t always understand the harm you were inflicting upon me, but with what has transpired over the past decades, I feel dirty and abused.
You may see me as gentle as the wind, as accepting as the soil and as resilient as rock. However, there are limits to what I can and will endure. And I won’t give up without a fight. If you leave me with no other option, I can be more unpleasant, unmanageable and inhospitable than you can imagine. It’s not personal. It’s a matter of self-preservation. Just as your body will attempt to fight off an infection, so will mine.
I am more fragile than you know, and my heart is heavy to see my creatures struggling to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. You have the power to help turn things around, with the wonderful scientific findings and innovative solutions that you have invented. My fate is in your hands, and I hope you realize that your fate is in mine. Our relationship is symbiotic, and it is arrogant to think of yourself as above me or better than any of my other children. You are unique, but every living creation that I have birthed and continue to nurture is also unique. And all deserve to be respected and well cared for. Please always remember that.
As you have boldly declared this to be my day, I believe I owe it to you and to our relationship to speak up now and let you know what has been troubling me. So, this is my heartfelt letter to you, and I hope you will take on board what I say. It is an attempt at a reconciliation, as I believe we need each other and I do not wish to be estranged any longer. I hope you feel the same.