Love Is Difficult
It is good to love, but love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us — the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning time is always a long, secluded time ahead and far on into life, and is solitude, a heightened and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering or uniting with another person; it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances. Only in this sense, as the task of working on themselves, may young people use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them, who must still, for a long, long time, save and gather themselves; it is the ultimate, it is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.