The Love You Can’t Keep
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. –1 Corinthians 13:13
(Writer’s note: This devotion contains spoilers about the season three finale of The Good Place, an amazing show about an eccentric group trying to make things right in the afterlife.)
On The Good Place, Eleanor is devastated when her soulmate Chidi has his memories erased to avoid sabotaging an experiment. She knows Chidi’s “reboot” means their relationship will end because he won’t remember her.
After Eleanor says goodbye to Chidi, she looks for comfort and advice from Janet, one of the group’s endearing afterlife companions.
“What’s the point of love if it’s just gonna disappear?” Eleanor asks Janet. “And how is it worse to not love anybody?”
“If there were an answer I could give you to how the universe works, it wouldn’t be special,” Janet responds. “It would just be machinery fulfilling its cosmic design…but since nothing seems to make sense, when you find something or someone that does, it’s euphoria. In all this randomness, in this pandemonium, you and Chidi found each other and you had a life together. Isn’t that remarkable?”
I cried as I watched this scene because it so beautifully captures the joy and anguish of the love you can’t keep.
Some tender embraces are only meant for one song.
Some friendships and lovers are only meant to be notches on lengthy timelines.
We lose people we love too easily, and we can’t always hold on to perfect moments as long as we think we need them.
Even so, I agree with Janet.
I’d rather have one taste of love for a second than never know love at all.
Thank God for Everlasting love and for love that fades away. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is the Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of South Euclid United Church of Christ, South Euclid, Ohio.