If one person really wants us, everyone does. But, if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.

“Have you ever heard of the book called the I Ching?” I asked her.

“No, I haven’t.”

“It says that a city can be moved but not a well. It’s around the well that lovers find each other, satisfy their thirst, build homes, and raise their children. But if one of them decides to leave, the well cannot go with them. Love remains there, abandoned – even though it is filled with the same pure water as before.”

Love is always new. Regardless of whether we love once, twice or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation.

Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life.

We have to take love where we find it, even if it means hours, days, weeks of disappointments and sadness.

“You shouldn’t have asked,” I said. “Love doesn’t ask many questions, because if we stop to think we become fearful. It’s an inexplicable fear; it’s difficult even to describe it. Maybe it’s the fear of being scorned, of not being accepted, or of breaking the spell. It’s ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. That’s why you don’t ask-you act. As you’ve said many times, you have to take risks.”

Wait. This was the first lesson I learned about love. The day drags along, you make thousands of plans, you imagine every possible conversation, you promise to change your behaviour in certain ways – and you feel more and more anxious until your loved one arrives.

But by then, you don’t know what to say. The hours of waiting have been transformed into tension, the tension has become fear, and the fear makes you embrassed about showing affection.

Love is like a trap. When it appears, we see only light, not its shadows.

From By the river Piedra I sat down and wept. Also posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog as his Character of the Week.

By the river Piedra I sat down and wept is part of the And on the Seventh Day trilogy which also includes The Devil and Miss Prym and Veronika Decides to Die.

I do not know why but when I first read By the river Piedra I sat down and wept I could not get into it and did not enjoy it. When I came to read it a second time, I really enjoyed it.

I sat reading By the river Piedra I sat down and wept in the shade of a palm tree in the Plaza Iglesia in an old colonial Spanish town, which somehow seemed to be the appropriate place to read it.

By the river Piedra I sat down and wept is about more than love. It is about the Catholic Church, faith and the feminine side of religion. Themes Paulo Coelho also explores in Brida and The Witch of Portobello.

For my lovely friend Sian, through who I had a better understanding of By the river Piedra I sat down and wept.

Synchronicity: I was thinking of Pilar, the central character in By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept. As The Witch of Portobello, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is a reflection of the feminine side of religion. Whilst thinking these thoughts, my friend Hildegarde wrote to me, which caused me to stumble upon her reflection of what Athena was thinking!

Top story in The Religion Daily (Tuesday 8 February 2011).

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