LoveMuch of what follows is repeated from earlier posts. However, in light of what I’m going through, and the impending Valentine’s Day, I thought it was worth dusting off some of these thoughts and polishing them up again.
Love is the answer to everything. Unfortunately, the word love has become a worn out cliché.
We’re not talking here about couples finding sunsets to stand in front of while they gaze wistfully into each other’s eyes.
What we mean by love is the sense of being a part of something larger than your individual self. I thought long and hard about whether the feeling of being a part of some larger thing was enough, or whether you have to actually be a part of something larger.
I finally realized that it makes no difference. The sense of being part of something makes you a part of something.
This occurs at many levels, just as there are different types of loving relationships. You can be in love with someone, meaning that the relationship between you is itself a thing … an entity that deserves respect and attention. You can nurture or hurt that relationship.
A family shares a different kind of love, but it nonetheless stems from being part of the family.
There are larger groupings, like communities, schools, churches, clubs, etc. When someone loves his or her country, they identify with that country, and take pride in the connection with others who feel the same.
And being in love is the most fulfilling state we can be in. As individuals, we are all condemned to live in our own world of thoughts and feelings all day. We move around, observing each other, sometimes with envy or disdain. But actually relating to other people, sharing a few minutes or a joke or a conversation, or even just enjoying being together, gives us a sense of contentment.
You can love the environment, aware of earth as offering many resources and pleasures, but also needing care and nurturing.
Unfortunately, there is also hate … wanting to exclude others. There are whole groups devoted to hate of others for this or that insignificant difference among people.
Yes, there are a million cliches about love … hearts and chocolates and flowers … that suggest it is something sentimental and artificial. But real love is the only way to live successfully.
Because real love gives you a kind of immortality. The people who survive you carry a part of you with them. Once you have been part of a relationship, or a family or a community, you will be perpetually a character in those other lives.