Nonlocal Love on Earth

When John Lennon approached the end of, “All You Need Is Love,” he burst into the chorus of another great Beatles song, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

When I heard this years ago, it seemed to derail his message of humanity’s desperate need of a higher love.

We carefully distinguish between romantic love and all the other loves, but could this be inaccurate or even misguided?

How might things look from the perspective of The Cosmic DNA Coder?

Imagine he’s putting together a new reality, a “simulation” where people can go to learn to love in an environment where anger, fear, pain and hunger make it difficult.

If love requires a minimum of two, he might divide the players into males and females, a novelty in his realm, no doubt. He invents procreation with a physical and emotional climax of love that begins gestation, allowing another player to enter the Love-Challenge environment.

In the Challenge, some individuals become technically advanced and tamper with the original DNA codes, splicing amalgamations such as the duck-billed platypus, and wreaking havoc on God’s ideal coding for procreation through love. Loveless perversions spring forth, but love’s key elements survive on some planets.

In these lucky worlds, falling into romantic love remains the most powerful, meaningful and ubiquitous form of love, rivaling even the love of parents for their children and grandchildren.

On the luckiest of planets like Earth, the distinction between platonic and romantic love begins to seem arbitrary. Couples grow old, procreation leaves the picture, and yet love continues to grow and deepen.

Despite the Earthling’s lifelong struggle for food and shelter, some of them adopt other species and discover what they believe is the purest form of platonic love.

God smiles with interest and appreciates even their dreams…

Last night I awoke from a recurring nightmare. I had lost Halo, my little black labrador retriever while the rest of our family was on vacation.

The loss of my gentle little dog was shattering. I imagined her shivering alone, hungry and confused in a dog shelter awaiting a death sentence and wondering what in the world she could have done wrong to make Daddy leave her.

I didn’t know where I’d lost her or how. I had only vague recollections of taking her with me, but where? It seemed I was losing my memory like both of my parents did years ago.

I said something like a prayer, but not to God. It was to Halo, trying to reach her through the ether and tell her I still loved her. I asked her to forgive me for being such a fool and losing track of her. I said I was so, so sorry and cried for her forgiveness until the anguish woke me up.

When my eyes popped open, I knew she was OK. I remembered putting her to bed that night and playing in the backyard with her and two of my grandkids that afternoon.

The flood of relief was beyond wonderful! I smiled at the darkness in the room and thanked God, remembering a time years ago when a similar dream about my son had shaken me to the core.

Eventually I got back to sleep, knowing that one of the most loving beings I’ve ever met was safely sleeping downstairs on her little bed with the brand new Naugahyde cover Sandi finished sewing onto it that afternoon.

And that’s platonic love, not romantic, not parental? Does love really need any qualifiers?

In God’s eyes, I doubt there’s a black-and-white distinction between romantic love and all the other forms we think we’ve identified. In my heart they all feel equally transcendent and sacred.

I wonder if John Lennon saw beyond the distinctions we make in the way we love.

“Because she loves you.
And you know that can’t be bad.”

Nonlocal love,

Talmage


Stardust and Energy Alone

It’s raining. Thunder shakes the garage windows.

A boy who’s barely “this many” and his eight-year-old sister sit inside a cardboard box that was made to keep scratches off the new fridge while it was searching for a home.

“Rule one,” the girl says, sitting with her knees hugged to her chest. “We’re the only two people in the whole world.”

The boy nods. The whole wide world.

“My name is Energy and you’re Stardust.”

“I want to be Energy,” he says and hopes the box is a spaceship.

She scowls. “My name starts with an E, so I’m Energy.”

“OKay.” Today is lucky. Mostly she does big-kid stuff. “I love you. And everybody in the whole wide world.”

“Pathetic.” She sighs. “I wish you could just grow up.”

Someone opens the door into the garage. “Elizabeth? Matthew? You guys out here?”

Ellie puts a hand over Matt’s mouth.

He holds his breath. Hide-and-seek.

The door shuts with a thwhap. The rain taps fingers on the roof.

Is Mom still in the garage? She always finds you.

“We’re the only two people in the whole world,” Ellie whispers. “Remember that.”

“OK.” He’ll remember.

There’s a wind owl singing off and on. High things Mom can only do. Daddies can’t go that high.

Once there was just Mom and Daddy. No Ellie. No Matt. “But what…”

“No buts! If you want to play with the big kids, you have to follow the rules.”

He will, but… “What if Mom gets mad?”

“You thought that was Mom?” Ellie kind of laughs. But it’s the wrong sound. “You don’t get it. We’re the only two people in the whole freaking world.” She hits both sides of the box at the same time.

Matt tries to copy but can’t reach both sides.

“Ellie, what if…”

“My name is Energy. There’s nothing but Energy and Stardust.”

Matt squints to see her eyes in the gray darkness. A flash of white comes and goes. Thunder throws rain down on the roof.

“Ellergy?”

“Stardust.”

“Is lightning a crack in the world’s wall?”

“No. We’re on the outside of the world, not the inside. People stick to the outside of things. That’s why.”

The doorbell rings. Grownups and big words are at the front door.

“When Mom comes back, shouldn’t we…”

“She’s not coming back.” Ellie starts crying. Soft and loud like when Daddy left.

Daddy got mad. But he’s coming back someday. Mom even said.

“Mom’s never coming back,” Ellie says.

“Wanna bet? She always finds us.” Mom knows the hiding places. She knows everything.

“That wasn’t Mom.”

“Uh-huh.” It sure was.

He crawls to the end of the box, pushes his way out and runs to the door to prove it. He pulls the cold knob with both hands, twists it and pulls harder.

The heavy door comes open. Doors get easier if you try and try and try.

“Mom, I was hiding in the box.”

The kitchen is empty. He goes inside.

“Mom? Me and Ellie was hiding…”

New chairs fill the living room with strangers.

Matt walks over. They look at him with shut mouths.

“Here’s the little one,” a woman with red hair says. She’s standing beside the new fridge. It’s sideways on a long table in front of the fireplace.

Ellie comes in through the kitchen and stands beside Matt. Her eyes are red.

“You two come up front and sit beside your grandfather,” the lady with Mom’s hair says.

“Where’s Mom?” Matt asks.

The lady looks away.

“She’s gone,” Ellie says.

“When’s she coming back?”

“Tonight,” Ellie says. “After we’re asleep.”

“Then I’m staying up late.”

“That doesn’t work,” Ellie says. “You have to be asleep. She only comes home in dreams.”

M. Talmage Moorehead