Love is the ultimate outlaw

In the February issue of Sojourners, Cathleen Falsani writes about perfect love. In it, she references Tom Robbins’ 1980 novel Still Life with Woodpecker. She introduces it as “the whimsical love story between a red-headed, environmentalist princess (deposed) named Leigh-Cheri and a tequila-swilling outlaw called Bernard,” and highlights “an exchange between the unlikely lovers that took place in written dispatches sent through Bernard’s attorney.”

“The most important thing is love,” said Leigh-Cheri. “I know that now. There’s no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon.” …

The message continued, “I’m not quite 20, but, thanks to you, I’ve learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn’t that be the way to make love stay?”

The next day, Bernard’s attorney delivered to her this reply:

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words ‘make’ and ‘stay’ become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

Love is the ultimate outlaw. I like that.

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