What is it about love that makes us feel what we do? Why is it that we cry? Why is it that we get a lump in our throat? What is it about that feeling, that sensation that makes us feel warm when we have our love in our arms and that feeling of sadness and loss that distracts us so when we do not?
You are not going to believe what triggered this in me! Last night, while chatting (text) with a good friend on Facebook (half way around the world from me), I was watching a movie in the background. A zombie movie! I never watch zombie movies! They’re ridiculous, but there I was, following the story. I’ve nearly stopped watching TV altogether, but I’m still one to watch movies and having some background noise was better than total silence. The movie though was as strange as how it made me feel. These were no ordinary zombies… the focus was on one particular male zombie and a young, living woman. The zombie (later named ‘R’) had conscious thought… see what I mean… weird! Now movies are doing zombie reality (OK.. “I am Legend” was the contemporary start)! To make a long story short, over time, the two fell in love! It wasn’t your typical sappy love story… he had to earn her love and trust and that wasn’t easy… he was a zombie! He was however a thinking zombie who was attracted to her and so he knew he had to give her time. He had to respect her feelings and doubts to earn her trust. Of course, as fate would have it, he had eaten her former boyfriend’s brains (fortunately, I tuned in after that part, though R admitted it to her as the story progressed).
It’s even more bizarre how this story somehow managed to dovetail into my emotions with respect to the conversation I was having with my friend. We’re both singles and we’re both having a tough time meeting someone with which we share, physical, emotional and spiritual commonality as well as feeling the all-important “gasp” effect or just call it attraction. We were sharing with each other how we’ve adjusted to our singleness and have learned to accept it, but that we still long for someone to share our lives with.
We’re both often told or asked “How can you be single!? It’s nice to hear that affirmation from friends and even strangers when they get to know you a bit, but I have to tell you that it can also be hard to hear. While I have accepted my singleness, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be with someone. When I hear how “eligible, attractive, fit, communicative, emotionally available and financially secure” I am and the person opposite me is incredulous as to why I’m still single… well… please trust that it can be equally confusing on this side of the table too.
So… now that you know I’m single and that I long for a relationship, I’m going to quote Tina Turner and say “what’s love got to do with it”? Well… I guess what I’m getting at is that I miss the feeling of being in love, but what does that look like? I suppose that’s been a pursuit of definition since we humans started recording our thoughts and feelings in writing, music or image. Many a creative endeavour has been made manifest in the name of love and so I suppose that’s a possible definition. Love is what we make of it for ourselves in our own understanding. Each person finds their own unique perspective on love. I think we each define and walk through it differently, yet we all refer to it in a similar way. It’s a feeling deep within us that we seemingly can’t get enough of. At least, that’s my take on it.
Why is it that we all seem to want it so badly? I can’t say that I’ve ever met a single person who doesn’t want love in their life. The love of an animal, the love of a friend, a parent, a sibling or the love of a certain, special someone. Love is easily the most written about subject I know of. It compels us in so many ways and we sometimes engage in outrageous behaviour to express or even prove it.
Since I’m writing this little blurb, I’ll try to define it for you as I understand and feel it. There are many types of love, but the one in particular that I’m talking about today is the love of a woman with whom I hope to share life with. The love of a life mate. The love of my life! I’ve been fortunate to feel love with another on a few occasions and for that I’m grateful. I’m grateful to those women who’ve allowed me to share time and trust with them, but I can tell you that over time, while the feeling of love for me hasn’t change, the definition has. My definition has narrowed and become more intense! My definition? I’m challenging myself even now to describe how I see and understand love with that certain someone… here goes.
Love to me means living and giving beyond myself. Love means having a willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of the other person. Love means being willing to walk away because you know the other person has a life too and that life must be respected. Love is not one bit selfish. You see, if you’re going to share a feeling of deep trust and commitment with someone, they need to know that you have their best interests at heart. They need to know that you’re always willing to be honest with them and that you want to turn to them before you turn to anyone else (except God) in your relationship with them. They need to know that they are your confidante and you are theirs. They need to know that you’re always willing to share the hard truth with them and that at the same time, they know and fully believe that you completely respect them. They also need to know that the absolute reciprocal is equally true!
It’s funny… I’m just now realizing that I spent a huge part of my life, misunderstanding the definition of love and yet, I’d heard it many, many times. I’m not going to say what I’m about to because I’m a Christian. I’m going to say it because it occurs to me that it’s correct and real and I fully embrace it. “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it does not boast and it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I just realized that I now have the view of Love that I should have had all along. This definition is found in the bible within the text of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Wow… I’m feeling pretty humbled right now. What you’re reading is a man coming to an understanding that he’s been ever so gradually changed and has come to a point in his life where he truly recognizes it. I’m not kidding here… while I’ve understood and believed this definition for a while now, I’m just now coming to the conclusion that I share God’s view and definition of Love. He certainly is patient! I’m evidence of that! I’m truly humbled, but do you know what I want even more… I don’t want someone to know this about me because I’m writing it or admitting it publicly. I’m hoping that I one day have the opportunity to earn this kind of love in my life with another woman. I know I already receive this kind of Love from God, but I still long for an earthly love too. Someone with which to share this amazing state of grace, trust, humility and desire to give. This goes so far past not wanting to feel lonely or alone. This is about a connectedness at the core of our souls. Yes…. you’re right… that’s pretty intense, but hey… it’s how God created me.
What is love? Love is humility. It’s understanding that you’re being given a one of a kind gift. The person opposite you is completely unique and they are choosing to give you everything that’s truly important and precious to them. There is not one thing material about what they are willing to share with you! They are willing to share with you their trust, their time, their mind, their passion and their heart! I know it’s easy to say now, but I have to be honest and say that among the few things that drive me in my life, the single most important thing to me (except for my relationship with God) is my dedication to never forget the simple honour that will be mine alone to share the heart of another. I have almost always chosen selfishly where love is concerned. I pray that I am no longer that man! I pray that I will instead choose to always see the truth and to revere the remainder of my days, the choice of the woman who has chosen to share her life with me. I pray that I never lose sight of that simple and beautiful choice and that I’m always a source of profound happiness, joy, affirmation and validation to my future wife. I pray that I am always a source of honour and that I always bring a sense of warmth to her heart. If I ever do achieve that level of intimacy with a woman again, I will have led a life well lived.
Sweetheart, I’m praying for you.