We are not made to lose the things we love and perhaps I am writing to avoid running away from this and to understand if the fact that things do not go the way we have them in our heads is a condemnation or a challenge.
Two examples in literature help me see: Orlando furioso and Dante.
Orlando is a brave hero and he is in love with Angelica, he really loves her and, as he fights for love, he is convinced that she must reciprocate: who could love and defend her better than him? Spoiler: Angelica prefers Medoro and Orlando freaks out. He doesn’t go mad because Angelica prefers Medoro to him, but because she prefers any soldier like Medoro to a knight like him; not because he doesn’t get Angelica, but because he doesn’t fulfill his plan to get her. Even more simply: he goes crazy because unrequited love blows his cards, contradicts the plan he had built. In Renaissance terms because “luck” overcomes his “virtue”:
“O Count Orlando, O king of Circassia, your inclined virtue, say, what good is it?
Your high honor say in what price it is, or what through your service it will return.
Show me one courtesy that she never used to you, old or new,
for reward and guidardone and merit of what you have already suffered for her ”.
Dante also had a similar fate: he was in love with Beatrice, but she marries another, presumably less wise and less in love with her. He, however, is not mad with her, on the contrary, he comes to call her “light between ‘truth and’ intellect”, as if she, herself, were able to make him wise. Why this difference? I don’t think it just depends on a question of Dante’s self-control. There is more: for Dante, reality does not coincide with his drawings. Dante is in love with Beatrice but he knows he was not born for Beatrice: he was born to fulfill her purpose as a man. He knows that his happiness in her consists in something “that I cannot fail” and that deep down he loves, even more than Beatrice’s physical presence, what she has introduced into her life. For this reason, faced with Beatrice’s failure to greet even her death, Dante does not stop, but wonders what step he is called to take and who can help him cross the dark forest.
If we take away the name of Orlando or Dante and put ours, and if instead of Angelica or Beatrice we put what our design points to, we realize that all this speaks of us; because Angelica is the wrong thing, perhaps the most expensive thing and which is just not as expected and Orlando is the prototype of the man who does not take steps because he does not become aware of the signs with which reality causes him; Dante, on the other hand, is called into question by everything: he is not furious because reality should change according to his projects, but is ready to change him by supporting the movement of reality, to continually convert, always aiming at the hidden nod in events, such as ” the man who is looking for silver and out of attention will find gold “.
I think that each of us can choose whether to be Orlando or Dante, depending on whether in what happens he sees only the game of luck or even God’s plan: “my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not yours vie ”Isaiah 55.8. And this does not make the steps less tiring, but makes them fruitful: Dante will have wondered what God wanted from him, because he broke the eggs in his basket and prevented him from basing his life on his (just) plans; Orlando could not ask himself this because he had already decided what Angelica had to think, he had stopped listening to reality and in doing so he was crushed by his resentment and his anger. Can we learn to suffer without this suffering rotting in us? Perhaps the “secret” is not to leave yourself alone: if you have a point to look at and someone who educates us in this, then nothing is lost, nothing is useless.
“The important thing in life is to recognize the teacher! Why don’t you choose the teacher: you recognize him! […] if you have recognized a teacher it is because of the values that were in his accent! What are the values? Everything that makes you understand and trains you to proportion the moment to destiny. […] And then life walks by a light and a certainty and an affection that I don’t create with my thoughts, that I don’t create with the effort of my will, but that I find myself on. A certainty and a tenderness, a certainty and an affection that I find myself following. ” (Giussani)
We all would like to have more, to succeed more, to be other, to stop time, to tear away suffering; our misery scandalizes us and perhaps we should only learn to forgive ourselves, to look at ourselves with tenderness and to ask. You have to ask to find.
You have to ask for help to be helped. Pray to find God.
So let’s help each other, let’s help each other to be certain.