Nov 14, 2015

What Is Love?

So last summer I got this sinking fear that I had no idea what love was. I was deeply concerned that I was 47 and did not know how to love someone. I realized that I am somewhat stingy with those three words. I don't find myself feeling like I think love should feel very often :) My brain honestly had started to wonder, "What does it feel like if someone loves you?" How do you show love? Can you fake it? As I looked around at church, at the store, at restaurants, and at events I attended it looked like everyone seemed to have someone to love and someone to love them. What compelled them to love that person? How did they know they needed to say it? What did it feel like? Was it hard or was it easy? If I tell you I love you what does it mean you expect from me? Overthinking love? Who me?

One day I decided I needed answers so I sheepishly googled "what is love?" and before you mercilessly tease me about googling, "what is love?" I must tell you that in 2012 that was the most googled question....yeah, I know it is 2015. Anyway, I read, and read, and read about love. I tried to find reputable sources. Who is the leading authority on love anyway? I took notes, in my special polka dot notebook, with the perfectly lined paper in it, that I write all important things in. I was determined to figure this out. I need to recognize love.

Mister Rogers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood fame described love like this:

"Love isn't a perfect state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now."

Almost everything I read confirmed Mister Roger's observations. If you love someone you love their imperfections and those imperfections become unique qualities to you. I think it is probably called unconditional. You see their flaws and still love them. So if someone tells me they love me they surely know about my faults and they are A-OK with them, right?

C.S.Lewis has written books about love and has many fabulous things to say about the topic but my favorite quote would have to be this one:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and you heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round, with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless,airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

Being vulnerable is yucky business. What does it even mean? The dictionary says it means you are capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or are liable, or exposed to disease, disaster. if you are vulnerable you are accessible and open to attack. Vulnerability goes against everything we are taught. Wear sunscreen. Wear sunglasses. Don't climb up the slide. Don't eat bacon for every meal. (just wanted to make sure you were reading) Wear a coat. Get immunized. Take an umbrella. Protect yourself in every way. Be guarded. Be safe. Be secure. Did you know if you are vulnerable, it means you are okay with you. And if you are okay with you then you can be okay with anyone else because you understand that no one is perfect. It is the only way if you want a relationship. But did I mention it is yucky business?

Guess what Oprah Winfrey said about love?

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."

Have you ever thought about who you love? Why do you love them? How do you know it's love? Why is it possible to love someone and they do not love you? How does that even happen? Hello, they love them back....right now :) Yeah, you can not make someone love someone they don't want to love. My daughter once told me that marrying for love is a fairly new idea people used to never marry for was for money or status nothing as frivolous as love. I don't know, the idea of mattering enough to someone that they make me a priority in their life plus they adore my flaws, sounds pretty good to me....bring on the love. Tina Turner sings "What's love got to do with it? What's love but a secondhand emotion?" I tend to be a romantic and think love has everything to do with it....

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