What does it means to love?
12022012 | 08: 46PM
Is it an expression of thoughts, or the symphony of sounds, a voice that is beautiful or a noise that is wanted? Is it the gifts shared or the things done? Is it a feeling or a substance? How may we define this most used but least understood thing? Sometimes, it is believed that when given and it is not accepted as given, it is rejection and that sounds bad! How can a right thinking person reject love? Is it that what is given is regarded as evil because it was not desired?
I have heard a whole lot of meaning to love, quite a volume of definitions and interpretations given to love; yet in all these things, the meaning still remains vague . . . What is this thing that evokes so much emotion, but least understood? As a young child, I was told to love my neighbors and friends as well as my family. Believing the teachers, I tried to love them to the best of my understanding, only to realize that I was doing something I have no clue what it means. This is simply because as soon as someone offends me, I no longer feel like loving the person. Though by the next day I have little remembrance of the offence, I am not just keen at repeating the experience of the other day.
Growing a little older, its interpretation became my emotion towards those who make me feel happy, especially those of the opposite sex; until I realize that giving in to such is great transgression and it has the capacity to cut me off from communion with God. Then, I sought answers, only to find that not many are available and willing to explain to my young and inquisitive mind, what I need to know. Sometime then, a man of the cloth even encouraged me to give expression to the feelings I then described as love, but should be careful to avoid things like unwanted pregnancy.
Then I grew a little older and I am compelled to love someone; otherwise, I would be regarded as an irresponsible man or a treacherous lady. So, I am stuck, trying to get the real meaning of this new life, or is it a game I am supposed to play. Then, like in ‘trials and errors’, with a mix of fun and pain, I am falling and rising, trying to give definition to my life until I have to make a partner out of one of my co-experimenters.
Now much older, having given birth to children, I am still trying to define what true love means as my spouse and children compete for my love and attention; having secured victory over every other part of my life like my work, vocations, other people and more. Then, this thing called love is gradually evolving into more of responsibility and duty rather than what I thought it would be.
Now I am very old, and my children said they found love and they began to leave me to pay more attention to their new relationships. Suddenly, like I had to do when it was my time, they left me and I am back to whom I use to be . . . alone! Now I am old, I am still trying to understand what it means to love; since love would make me have to allow them leave me unattended to at many of the times I would require their help as children because they are in pursuit of their own meanings to life. My spouse and I, who had stayed together all these years, may not have done so because we understood love, but because a bird in hand is better than a thousand in flight. We are still experimenting to discover what love is . . . Can we really say we have understood it? At best I would say, we have knowledge of what love may be.
What then does it really mean to love? Is it really a feeling? Is it a state of life? It is one of the most abused and precious words because it addresses the very core of the essence of man, whose nature is not far away from God’s nature by design. Though he fell, his redemption accounts for his weaknesses. First, there is no such thing as being in love or falling on love with something or someone. One just loves a person or a thing! Love is not what is gained because there is a benefit derived from it, as it has become, it is the summary of the total experience with something . . . in this context; it is worthy to note that the painful parts are the most significant.
How can you say you love someone or something and it has not caused you some pains as well as gains? Love is truly not known about someone or something until every thing possible has happened to and from the person or thing and there is still the willingness and choice to retain the relationships with the person or with the thing.
If a man truly loves God, he would remain with God even when standing with and for God brings him much harm and discomfort. This is the experience of love. Is this the matter today? Are the Prophets and Priests not claiming they love God because He hears their prayers? What if they prayed and God decided not to answer it because it should not be as they prayed? Wouldn’t they begin to ask God questions like they are not betrothed to God? How about the Princes and the People . . . Is loving God not because He meets their needs? God loves us anyways because whichever way we are, He still has His hands opened wide to receive us. If God were to restrain from granting our desires, would we still love Him? If God were to ask us to leave our ways and go with Him, would we still love Him? Wouldn’t our love for God be because we have no other choice we are willing to take?
In the long run, love is not the experience defined by absence of choices, but choosing to stick with who and what we love, even when the choices are sumptuously available, coupled with the fact that truth may not be the most pleasurable offer. When a man loves a woman, he defines it by the beauties and blessings he derives from her and the relationship. Many times, he does not approach describing his experience by the measure of pain experience and the resultant endearment to the woman. Indeed, love for a woman is not what happens before they are in relationship, most appropriately in marriage; it is the summary of his experiences and responses to the woman in his life. Similarly, from the woman, it is the willingness and choice to retain relationship with the man regardless of the circumstances that may not be there at the moment but would come in the future; maybe there already, but will surely become bigger.
Therefore, to love a man or woman is not something fallen into or something one just gets into . . . it is a product of choice and willingness to go through pains with the person as well as the gains. Loving one another is the willingness and choice to share one’s life with others in both realms of its experience – good and bad. The question would be how much of these choices and willingness should we be willing to give before we are seen as loving? We must keep giving until there is nothing else to give; and since man is never bereft of choices or capacity to willfully do something, he/she can still love.
Therefore, when we refuse to share our blessings or the troubles we experience; then, we don’t really love the people concerned. To love others would make us willing to be seen as we are to them. Insincerity, deceit and unfaithfulness are all there because love is not present. To love is to “stay with . . . “. Therefore, let no one describe love as humanistic or reciprocated gesture in gains without pains. It is actually solidified in the pains experienced. Peace of the heart is actually the umpire of true love because the situation outside may not be peaceful most of the time. PEACE!