Wouldn’t you know the first word on my list of IN-tangibles to explore is LOVE, the biggest, the most inscrutable, mysterious, sought after, abused, elusive, perplexing word on the list! We think we know what it means, but do we? We sure use it enuf. We looove our pets, chocolate, our children and our country, Christmas presents, island vacations, our favorite sports team, our significant others (as long as they measure up). But we also have love-hate relationships, we assume love always “hurts” or that “we only hurt the ones we love.” So what is this thing called love? Why does it seem that stress and pain and emotional roller coaster rides go along with love? I certainly don’t have definitive answers, but do want to understand it better and promote my growing sense that real love has does not involve pain, suffering, and disappointment since it’s all about what we’re doing and being, not what we get.
One of my favorite online resources, Moby Thesaurus II lists 342 words (or phrases) for Love, ranging from Cupid to sisterhood to adoration and sexiness, but also hate (?) and coldness (?). But the Online Etymology Dictionary suggests the word derived from Old English and German means such things as “love, affection, friendliness, joy, praise, dear, to delight in,” but doesn’t suggest “hate.” Interesting.
It occurs to me we think of love too much as a romantic notion, dependent on flowers and Valentine’s cards, anything pleasurable in which we can indulge. Hard to see how it could exist in the everyday details of changing babies, or nursing someone who’s ill? Our love for our pets must surely stem from their unqualified affection for us, with no arguments!
There’s a popular book out called Life is a Verb, by Patti Digh, which has added to my growing sense of love as something “we” do, more than simply an emotional high we wait to wash over us, or that will come from some object or person outside of us. Pondering how to dig into this topic, I was surprised just the other day by an email containing an article that’s been circulating around the Internet for years with quotes from children of their ideas about love. http://danielleosaurus-rex.tumblr.com/post/36157321445 Whether this article (there are many sites, this is just one) contains actual comments from the mouths of innocents or not, they’re still valid. I cite a few of them as helpful in my effort to get to the bottom of what love’s really all about! For example:
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” -Jessica, age 8
Or, “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” -Bobby, age 7
And, “If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.” –Nikka, age 6
Lot’s to think about, but lots of action here, lot’s of “doing” or “being” loving, meaning what you say and backing it up, and not letting “friendship” turn into something else. Sounds to me as if it’s more about me and my attitude and intentions, less about what comes back, or what I get. If that’s the case, less opportunity to be hurt, because it’s just me pouring forth, not depending on what comes in?
What do you think?
More next time.