Always and Forever


Zeenath Jahan

For even as Love crowns you, so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth, so is he for your pruning.

(Khalil Gibran)

"Hush, I will find you, you wait and see!" Paul held her close; kissing her tearful eyes and trembling mouth.

Yet, her fears were Paul's fears too, after all they had been one when they began. Finally, with a courage driven by desperation, they begged for an appointment with the King. They had heard he was merciful and understanding.

They prostrated themselves before the King, imploring him not to send them on separate journeys. They told him of their great love, how they were actually one and would never be able to exist without the other. Having told their story they waited for his decision. Merciful though autocratic, the King was angered.

"How dare you question my commands!" he thundered.

Ordering them to be taken away he announced their punishment. They were to go into different Times, separately. Clutching each other one last time, Paul and Edwina vowed to find one another in Time and Space.

Paul looked on helplessly while Edwina was plucked from of his arms and prepared for the onward journey. Arms hanging emptily at his sides, Paul stared silently at the gaping void where Time and Space had swallowed her. She went screaming to her fate.

Since her Fate was meted out while the King was still angry, Life was difficult for Edwina. Struggling, learning to live in Time and Space, she never quite forgot the other part of her soul. Yet, she didn't quite remember either. That is how the power of Time distorts Memory. Helpless, stubborn Memory never quite gave up its battle against the obliterating forces of Time!

Chains crept up and bound Edwina, suffocating her. Enchained, yet never quite forgetting her vow, she looked into the faces of the people she met in Time and Space, her heart overflowing with love. She mistook some faces, and almost gave up her search. The bitter taste of disappointment was more than she could bear.

Paul was finally sent into Time and Space. Because the King was merciful, there was an opening in fate where they would be able slip through and meet, if their love was strong enough. Because punishment for questioning his commands was necessary, Paul was sent into a space half way across the globe

Hopelessness and Time healed some of the pain; and Space filled some of the wounds; but neither Time nor Space could obliterate the longing. Long, empty years passed in a hopeless search, one for the other. In time Edwina learned what was demanded of her: Obedience and Submission.

Paul gave up his search, working out his Fate as best he could. Edwina withdrew into a deep, solitary stillness within her Self. They finally passed Test of Obedience and the Test of Pliability when they had learned complete submission to the King's commands.

The King was well pleased. He watched with compassion as they laughed and lived, burying their pain and longing; waiting to be together in the Land of Bliss, the place where dreams come true. Yet, the lessons of Obedience, Patience and Submission were well learned. They learned to live with a measure of peace, ignoring Memory's importunate knocking. During the Test of Love, strong winds blew. When blown off course, a tug from Memory always brought them back to their quest. Their souls would compromise for nothing less than its other half. The lessons were deep and furious. Each one teaching them a little more, each one taking them a little further on the way to Perfection in Love.

The King being merciful was moved. He decided to reward them before the Time of Rewards. Dream, the King's secret emissary, was sent to Edwina and she asked of her soul,

"Was it you that I dreamt of yesternight, 
When the blinds were drawn and dim was the light? 
The touch was familiar, the taste I recalled, 
Since Time began they have had me enthralled. 
Was it this lifetime, or was it another; 
When first we found we were made for each other?" 
Edwina thought to herself,

Then Paul sent her a message, "I have dreamed of you as I might forever...."

Edwina thought to herself,

"This is not the Land of Bliss, how can I meet Paul?"

She was not sure if the King wished her to start her search again, or whether it was another test. Dream had come to her before, showing her glimpses of Paul, glimpses that had made life more bearable.

The waiting was finally over. Edwina's world was full of joyful colour again. The dark years of yearning and suffering were past. The King had forgiven them their trespass. They met and Time stood still, watching their reunion with a hushed breath. As their souls rejoiced she whispered to him, of her longing, of her waiting.

Now she had found the other part of her soul, she held him close. She would never lose him again. His loss had cost her too dearly in tears. She had learned the lesson of Love. Kissing his eyes she said,

"Soul of my soul, I have missed you all my life. I desperately want to be with you, always and forever.

"Although I do not know when we will meet again, I am content. I have found you.

"We don't see each other for days, yet I am at peace. I think of you and miss you, but the pain is not as sharp.

"Has Time had wrought its ravages and stilled the fires of desire? No, it is not that, I desire you even now, as hungrily as ever!

My love has become stronger and purer than it ever was. There is only You wherever I turn. Loving you is enough to make me happy.

"Having tasted the bitterness of loss and sorrow, a lot has lost its importance along the way. I still have needs and desires, but they are secondary. Knowing you love me in return is bliss, but that is secondary too. I want to be with you at all times; but if I cannot fulfill these wants, I will not be desolate.

"Some complain of being 'betrayed' in Love. How can Love betray! They are betrayed by themselves, when their wants and needs take precedence over the Beloved. Such a love is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. Beloved, there is no taking in Love, only giving. Pulling a length of fine silk makes it tear down the middle. It makes no difference whether one hand holds more or less, it is the pulling in ones own direction that causes the silk to tear. Pressed together, as in giving, more silk can be placed between the hands while remaining firmly in place. Isn't this the same with true Love? Isn't a Love with no demands, no restrictions, no pulling, what Love and Loving is all about?

"My Love, I give you a gift of my Self. There is no thought of a return. It is only with a loan or a transaction that one seeks benefits. My love for you is beyond my control; it is an involuntary outpouring. I have as little control over it as the beating of my heart or the drawing of my breath. For me, loving you is simply a state of Being."

Edwina wished to teach Paul what she had learned, so they could pass out of the Testing Site together. Paul read her words with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat. Though hoping to pass Test of Love too, he knew that each soul had to grow and develop at its own pace.

The loss of Edwina's Self to Love was the beginning of the final stages in the manufacturing process. She knew she was on the threshold of the Final Test, the Test of Knowledge. Her Self continued losing its' boundaries, fusing with Love in a Universal state of Being. Finding herself gradually merging into the Boundless, she panicked. She did not want to leave Time and Space now that she had found Paul. She fought a losing battle. Once Knowledge had lit up her soul it could not be dimmed, and she knew there was nowhere to go but forward. Like the petals of a rose, the outer layers had been peeled off her soul. All that remained at its core was its pure essence, Love.

Having passed all the Tests, her soul was ready for the Land of Bliss. When the King beckoned she went without a murmur. She waited patiently for Paul; the Land of Bliss was bleak without him. She saw him first when he arrived. Rushing into each other's arms, joyfully embracing, entwining, fusing, they were finally one again.

Our story about the soul that was split ends here. Yet every ending bears within itself the seeds of a new beginning, theirs was the beginning of Always and Forever.


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