What Love Is Like
Love is like
- Piet Hein
Be that as it may, since time out of mind, people have been trying to capture the meaning, the essence of "love". And it's possible to come close, as with this definition:
- A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
- A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
- Sexual passion.
- Sexual intercourse.
- A love affair.
- An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
- A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
- An expression of one's affection: Send him my love.
- A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
- The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.
Dry as a popcorn fart, that, and while seemingly comprehensive, it doesn't quite get there. For one thing, there's the obvious cop-out, using the word "ineffable" which is really just "inexpressible", or "yeah, we're struggling with this, too." And I just don't think it allows for broad enough scope.
I tend to open the iris right up when it comes to "love". I don't think it needs several sub-categories. "Well, there's the love you feel for your husband; and then the love you feel for your kids; and of course the love you feel for your Mom; and let's not forget ..." and on and on.
I don't think so.
I think "love" is pass/fail. I love you or I don't. I don't love you a "little bit", and I don't love someone else a "little bit more".
I think a wise person navigates his or her way carefully until there is that moment when love is there. And once it's there, I don't think it's like a faucet, where you turn it on just a hair and let it trickle out. You love or you do not love.
That leaves lots of room for other emotions. I have many friends whom I do not love but whom I really like - men and women. Of course, I also have some people - fewer, to be sure, but more than I think is good - whom I loathe. Their position in my universe (should they care one iota) is not irretrievable - I have had people whom I have first loathed and come to quite like. But for now, we'll put them on the left end of the Bell Curve. And in the middle, the vast majority of humanity - the group I could characterize as "I don't really know you enough to like or dislike you, but I'll make an effort to at least be cordial and polite".
So there is a sliding scale for me - for all of us - to a point. But (and this may be just for me) it ends right at "love". That's the top rung on the ladder. There is no compound definition for me - I don't love friends in a "friendly" way or my daughters in a "fatherly" way or my wife in a "husbandly" way. I just ... love them.
Now, how I behave - how I express my love - is surely tied to the differences in those relationships. My friend Gord, whom I love, is more likely to see that expressed as a willingness to go an extra mile to do him a favour. My daughters see my love expressed for them in any number of ways, including advice, hugs, getting misty-eyed for them, lecturing them on safety, and of course unmercifully teasing them. And as for how I express my love to my wife, mind your own damn business.
I don't distinguish between friends from my daily activities and people I have come to know through letters or e-mails or travels to other countries. Where you are, what your circumstances are, and even how you feel about me aren't really relevant in my deliberations. I love you or I do not.
I could no more love one person more than another than I could choose which of my children I love more. I honestly believe that. "Love" is a 100% thing. All or nothing at all. And the good news is, if I love you, I don't have any way of scaling that back to "like" - so it's for life. You're stuck with me.
That's how I see love. This is how William Shakespeare saw it:
|Let me not to the marriage of true minds|
|Admit impediments. Love is not love|
|Which alters when it alteration finds,|
|Or bends with the remover to remove:|
|O no! it is an ever-fixed mark|
|That looks on tempests and is never shaken;|
|It is the star to every wandering bark,|
|Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.|
|Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks|
|Within his bending sickle's compass come:|
|Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,|
|But bears it out even to the edge of doom.|
|If this be error and upon me proved,|
|I never writ, nor no man ever loved.|
Now .. how do you see it?