From far away you see a beautiful castle, whose walls look smooth, whose turrets gleam, whose flags wave majestically in the breeze. You watch it longingly, admiringly, recounting its innumerable good qualities. You think, I’ve never seen a castle quite like this one, and I doubt I ever will again. Because of this, you long to live inside it.

You approach the castle, at last reaching your dream. The moment you imagine yourself walking inside it right before you actually do is bliss. You prepare yourself to receive everything you’ve ever wanted and for your perfect life to begin. But upon spending time in the castle, you find cracks in the walls that seemed smooth from far away; there are cobwebs in corners no one has taken care to dust; entire rooms are left derelict and depressing; a horrible draft blows through the narrow windows, half of which have a terrible view; and the banners that wave from the turrets crumbling in a few places bear a symbol you can’t stand living underneath.

The castle is not perfect, like it seemed from far away, but as ordinary as any other building. It has its own problems and its own history, and you find you cannot love it through these.

That is why admiring from afar is not real love. Such a love will always meet a nasty end when imagination encounters reality. Real love transcends objects and ideals. It is a trait you carry with you everywhere you go, not something tied to objects, like the bright light in the darkness you walk towards. It is the moonlight and starlight that defines our darkness: without this bare light the world would be pitch black, but we take our constant visibility for granted. Instead of seeing the ever-present light that pervades our night, however dim, we call it darkness. True love is invisible, because it is always there.

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