My husband has always called me his swan. When I was young and vain, I used to hope it was because of my long neck, and elegant posture. (All that yoga had to be good for something!)
But he had something else in mind.
“You are my swan because I will love you forever,” he said. “Swans mate for life.”
He has been as good as his word. Though my figure is far from swanlike now, he insists on seeing me as this gorgeous bird. This endearing blindness of his has helped me to accept the aging process with grace, knowing that one person in the world, at least, still sees me as beautiful, through the eyes of love.
I lucked out. Many have not. My daughters are still searching for their swans – those men who will love them steadfastly, and make them feel, on the grayest days, that they are goddesses – women who bring light and grace into their world. I pray that they, and women everywhere, will someday be blessed with Swan Love. And that they will cherish it as the priceless treasure it is.
But Swan Love is a two-way street. Many wish to be adored and cherished. How many of us are willing to give the same in return?
In a letter to the Corinthians thousands of years ago, St. Paul gave a timeless description of what love is all about. He said:
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…”
I have not always followed this prescription. I have sometimes been unkind, irritable, resentful, and rude. I have insisted on my own way, have not always believed in the ways of my beloved, and have sometimes lost faith in him. I have not always endured.
This is when the Principal of Two comes into play. When I have been weak, he has been strong. And vice versa. We are, thank God, still together. We choose to be. That is why we are each other’s Swans.
It takes two to make Swan Love. Two who are committed to making a life together, even when it throws you curves, when crushing disappointments arrive, when illness or losses shake your world. That is when Swans lace their graceful necks together, and weather the storms. Because they know there is nothing better out there. Nothing greater than the gift they have been given of one love, one body, heart and soul to cherish for as long as they have. That is forever love. And it is worth everything.