“When I planted my pain in the field of patience, it gave me the fruit of happiness.”
(Khalil Gibran)

Roses or tulips?

If I tell you the word “love” what is the first flower that comes to your mind? I think I can say that at least 99% of you will answer “the rose”. Yet, trust me, there is another flower that, much better than the rose, symbolizes what love really is, in all its facets, and it is the tulip. A beautiful, elegant flower that we know well and of which Holland is the world’s leading exporter. Yet it is not in the cold climate of the Netherlands that this flower was born, but in warmer Persia.
And it is here that the legend of tulips and their symbolism in the field of love is also born. It is the legend of two young lovers, Shirin and Ferhad. Shirin, at some point in his life, decides to go away, to seek fortune away from home, in the hope of finding those riches that could guarantee him and Ferhad a better life. He leaves, but days, months, years go by and Shirin doesn’t come back. Ferhad waits for her, faithful to her boyfriend’s promise of love until, exhausted, she decides to set out too, hoping to find him and bring him back home.

A trip

But her will not be a pleasure trip. In fact, Ferhad will get lost in the desert where she, at a certain point, will fall exhausted with hardship. And at this moment, or when the tears of her eyes mixed with the blood of her wounds reach the arid desert ground, at that moment a new flower will sprout from the sand, the tulip. Ferhad will die, but her faith in her eternal love will return to be remembered every year when, in the Persian desert, the tulips bloom again.
Thus was born the loving symbolism of tulips. A symbolism that still exercises a strong fascination in me today. Not only (but this is a secondary aspect) because I have always loved these flowers, but because I am very struck by the truth content of the first narrated legend that binds tulips to love.
In fact, I am convinced that love, to be characterized as such, must nourish itself with the perseverance of the beautiful Ferhad who is ready to risk her life to go and find her loved one. In this regard, the parable of the “Good Shepherd” of the Gospel comes to mind, where the farmer is ready to leave his 99 sheep to go and recover the cent that has been lost. What is love if not just this? Let me explain. It is clear that when things go well it is easy to love each other. I love you, you love me, we like each other, it’s easy to love each other, long live love! But is this really love? I do not think so. I believe that love, the true one, manifests itself in the very moment in which, within a relationship, you take that first extra step which, however, requires effort, a lot of effort. Not physical, of course, but mental, psychological. That’s where true love manifests itself. In the effort that we are willing to endure to go to meet the loved one, to recover them, to accept their defects, their limits, their betrayals, sometimes even their violence (not physical violence, let’s be clear). It is only there that, manual in hand, can we talk about love, true love.

My tulips

That’s why, I believe, there are no simple loves. An old wise man said that “we are born alone and we die alone” and for this reason it is so difficult to keep company along the path of life. It is hard, a lot at times. However, not everyone has the patience, strength, and courage to shed the tears and blood that at a time is required of us to get to the love we aspire to, our tulips. Pity!
And me? Well, as far as I’m concerned, I have decided, and not now, that yes, I also want “my tulips”. And there will be no desert able to quell my purpose. It will take effort, it may take some time, but they will come back to bloom for me too.