The Courage to Love
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8 (NIV)
(The following devotion has spoilers for the HBO show Watchmen.)
On Watchmen, the most powerful being in existence, Dr. Manhattan, falls in love with Angela, a woman who has no superpowers.
When Dr. Manhattan and Angela first meet, he explains that he experiences time in a non-linear way, living in the past, present, and future all at the same time. He tells Angela they will only be together for ten years until their relationship will end in tragedy.
By the time the audience learns how the couple met, we’ve already witnessed the couple’s relationship in the present and feel a sense of the relationship’s impending doom. The audience views time as if we are Dr. Manhattan—learning about the couple’s beginning while experiencing frequent flash-forwards to their present danger.
In the Watchmen universe, Dr. Manhattan is a superhero, but I wonder if Angela is the one with emotional superpowers. Her life has been full of loss and heartbreak. She meets someone who tells her that their romance will end tragically in ten years, yet she falls in love with him anyway. For her, the ecstasy of love is worth the grief that their love will inevitably end.
It’s human nature to try to evaluate the quality of a relationship by our ability to hang on to that love as long as possible. It’s difficult not to hold back from loving deeply in order to protect ourselves from tragic endings through breakups, sickness, or even death.
But if we try to guard ourselves from unavoidable heartbreak, we’re inevitably denying ourselves of the most passionate, unexpected types of love. All great love requires great risk.
Loving deeply is a risk my spirit needs me to take. Let my most vulnerable love be a blessing. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is a spiritual director, facilitator, and the Communications Director at Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. Follow her work at marchae.com.