I’ll admit, I tremble before the subject. So much has been written and said about it, that it seems redundant to make any sort of comment. Well even if what I have to say has been said before, it’s important enough to warrant some repetition.
The old clichés about love, like all clichés, exist because they are true – it has inspired great works of art, toppled great empires, and such and such. One can recall any number of quotable quotes. We have Lord Tennyson to thank for that nugget about it being “better to have loved and lost”, John Lennon for the simple profundity of “all you need is love”, and let’s not forget Socrates for reminding us that “the hottest love has the coldest end”. Our culture is saturated with tidbits of wisdom, from the great artists in our history, on this one subject.
Yet, we find ourselves hopelessly confused about it. For an emotion that has been so closely examined, so thoroughly explored, and so beautifully explicated, it still tends to defy understanding.
Do you know when you’re in love? What does it feel like? What are the signs? Or should I say, what are the symptoms? Is love the initial attraction that one feels? Or does it slowly seep in through the cracks? Is it guaranteed by a wedding band? Or does it wither away like petals on some sad little flower? Can you love two people at the same time? Do we only love what we can’t have? Does love need to be reciprocated to exist? Is all of this just an illusory psychological and social construct produced by our ape-like sex drives?
To confuse matters, we distinguish between different flavors, taking our love a-la-carte, dressing it up in fried onions, relish and bacon bits. We all like to “have it our way”, justifying our decisions by convincing ourselves that love is sometimes “true”, sometimes not. We revise and annotate the mythos of love every day.
Well I can at least say this: I’ve had my own experience with love, and I have my own answers to these questions, but it doesn’t really matter what I have to say, because my life is not your life, and your answers make sense for you just like mine do for me.
But there is one comment on love that I would like to make that I believe applies to us all.
Love is not something that one “finds”. It’s not for sale on any shelf, it’s not up in the sky watching over us, and it doesn’t care how good-looking you are. It’s not going to one day appear in your life, sweep you off your feet, and escort you to the ball. It doesn’t “happen” to you.
Love is something you make. It comes from the wellspring of your own heart and soul. It is an entirely conscious act, one that we must all learn to make. And it is the one thing in this world that your get more of, the more you give.
So don’t let the cloying stench of cheap cinnamon get you down. Let the memories of playground rejection fill your heart, and remember that we all share the same pain. Then love like you want to be loved.