Tolstoy’s great novel War and Peace exhausted him. For months he had poured his heart and soul into the manuscript. Ernest Edward Smith argued it threatened Tolstoy with a severe nervous breakdown. One day a friend laid hold of his arm and took him to task: “You are a man of means, a Russian Count, a wealthy landowner with servants at your beck and call. Your future is secure. Why must you write books and drive yourself to the verge of insanity?”
Tolstoy thought a full two minutes and then replied: “I am a slave of an inner compulsion. I have a consuming fire in my bones. I have to write or else go mad.”
When I read this, I realized Tolstoy was in love with writing.
For when we love, it yokes us to whoever or whatever we love. Genuine love is an inner compulsion, a consuming fire in our bones, and we have to express it meaningfully or else go mad.
Reg Presley wrote a song The Troggs recorded years ago. It’s called Love Is All Around.
I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
The love that’s all around me
And so the feeling grows
Most of us relate to the sentiments of this song. Love is in the air. It’s all around us. We see it everywhere we go, and it always leaves precious shadows in its wake. Our aim is to celebrate love in this place. Not as stalkers or merchants or intruders, but as connoisseurs. Join us in our never-ending pursuit of love.
Jennifer Hartman and Cliff Houston