I am sitting in my office at 4:32 p.m., staring out at Y Mountain. Snow clings to the slopes and to the ledges magnificently. It is currently saturated in sunlight, which is inviting and yet brimming with the chill of December. I can’t help but think about all the daily wonders we are given to enjoy. I hope to offer something about one of those wonders, something that has been on my mind lately. I believe I have spent a great deal of my life trying to capture in words what love means. That love has been directed toward different people and for different reasons, while also being directed at me. Some aspects of love include familial love, romantic love, friendly love, and of course, Godly love.
Although I do not profess the skills or knowledge to capture all that love is and how it exists, I hope I can get a least a portion right. And in the larger scheme of things, I believe that love interacts with us all so differently throughout our lives. It changes and grows as we do.
But, for December 3, 2007, I believe the essence of love is joy.
My thoughts begin at romantic love. How do you know you romantically love someone? I have always wondered this. I doubted that I could ever really love someone to a depth that ensued marriage. I couldn’t imagine knowing you could love someone that much, especially since I have dappled in love many times but never really given myself to it. But, I don’t think it is as complicated as knowing and proving. I have learned that it comes as naturally as all the things that resonate with my soul. I could never tell you when I started to love literature, or how I know I love the beauty of an autumn day. There are certain parts of us that love without knowing why, and yet we know as certainly as we know when it is cold outside, that we love. You might not be able to know exactly when it happened or how that person became such a living part of your being, but it did, and he or she did.
And maybe you don’t realize how deep that love is until they leave you for a short time or for a long time. You feel their absence as part of your own soul is absent. When you can feel such longing for someone in your life, then perhaps you begin to realize the magnitude of love you hold for them.
I also believe that saying such a love is merely romantic love is problematic. For the type of love that is soul-love means so much more than shallow descriptions of romance and wooing. Perhaps when you truly love another then you begin to understand charitable love. It suffers long, is kind, and envies not. It forgives. It is not puffed up, seeketh not its own, and is not easily provoked. It thinketh no evil and rejoiceth in truth. And of course, it produces hope in all things while enduring all things.
And you can’t measure that kind of love; it just consumes you. Ironically, to try and explain it with words would lessen the extent to which you could love, for it would be reduced to the descriptions and configurations of a language that could never match the glories of what we feel.
When you know you love someone and you know you are loved, I hope you never take it for granted. It is such a beautiful and rare gift. For all we love and for all our interests, realizing that you love someone should be the most precious part of your soul. To give yourself, imperfect and struggling, to someone else who is also imperfect and struggling, takes a lot of courage. It isn’t always easy to allow yourself to love. Sometimes there is pain involved, and other times it seems to take so much energy. But, it is always worth it. Our capacity to love one person stretches our hearts to allow others in as well. This whole world and our own souls rely on love. Not only do we need to feel love, we also need to love others.
Whomever you love, take a moment today to tell him or her about it. It doesn’t have to be eloquent or long--just sincere. Not only will the recipient enjoy it, but you will also feel more love for that person. Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to express love; it is the most lovely joy we can feel.