Saturday, October 20, 2012
Love - Is About Doing.
Love. It's such a little word. And it is so misused, misunderstood, and both over and underused that western society is just confused.
I hate it when I hear a person say "Oh but he loves you" to anyone who has been abused, abandoned, or even just ignored. Aaargh. That teaches that person that love means allowing abuse, love means being abandoned, and love means that you're going to be ignored. This isn't love.
Love is an action. Sometimes it's powerful action. And sometimes it's strength is in standing still.
It is standing by someone, trying to help them through a rough time. Love is listening when someone needs to talk out whatever issue they're wrestling with. And sometimes it means that you ask them the questions they should be asking themselves (but are afraid to - or don't know they should).
Love is actively listening to someone in your life that you want to connect to... so that you can maintain a relationship, because you're drifting apart.
Love is doing dishes for someone who is sick, or giving a massage, or doing their yard work. Love is holding the hand and heart of a man who just buried his beloved wife, giving up weekends so he can manage to get through one more day. Love is painting his house so he could sell it because he just got transferred.
Love is talking matter-of-factly about ... well ... damn near everything.
Love is bending over to pick up a pen that a friend can't pick up off the floor because her arthritis makes it almost impossible. And buying a special glass - because her hands simply can't manage the heavy glass tumblers. It's about making sure that her front porch isn't slippery in bad weather... and rearranging my home for her to have a place to stay as she reevaluated her marriage.
Sometimes love is letting someone sit in jail, because that's the only way you can figure out how to keep her from proceeding down a very dark path.
Love is giving your mother permission to let go of a life that had become unsupportable and painful. Or giving her permission to hang on, even though it means tremendous effort must be put forth just to try to help her get comfortable. The effort is a demonstration of love.
Love is about making time for my children, and the children of others, because their own parent's wouldn't. It's about making sure they understand how babies are made, and why they should respect themselves enough to wait. But love is not about pretending that abstinence talk works - so it was about making sure they knew some of the emotional rollercoasters that each stage of intimacy might bring.
Love is about holding hands and learning to dance because you know someone will appreciate it. It is about taking the time to do things that please the loved one.
And when your friend falls in love with someone, it's about cheering him on and hoping that it works out for him. Because you hope to experience falling in love yourself one day and so you celebrate love wherever you find it.
Love is not about how much you spend, or whether you get good presents on your birthday. It is about whether you cared enough to give your time, your efforts, and your love.
It isn't about how much love 'I' receive. I'm not gonna lie, I appreciate and am grateful when the people around me do something loving, like making me a special birthday present, or baking sugar cookies, just for me. I like it a lot. But that's about THEIR love. Part of my love with them is to allow them to give.
I'm not talking about me 'needing' you to love me... but it may be about my allowing you to love me...
I can hear my friend rolling his eyes - thinking I'm talking exclusively about romantic love. These things are true for that... but they are also true for the caring of a classmate who will spend hours each week tutoring me without compensation so I can pass a class. It's about allowing friends to comfort us when we stumble, or struggle. It's about accepting the loving help we are offered.
It's about giving love. In ways that meet both your needs and the needs of those you care about. There must be balance... If someone you love is always taking, and never giving. There's an imbalance which will eventually destabilize how you deal with each other.
There are of course exceptions. Parenting - you love your children, investing tremendous energy into them, in a 'pay it forward' kind of way.
Maybe all love is like that... Pay it Forward. Doing things that demonstrate your love because you can - watching that love move out into the Universe like ripples on the water. Ever widening circles.