This week we invited three guests to write about love. Their instructions were this:
1. The topic is "Love is ... "
2. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
We LOVE what they sent back to us. Thank you Laura, Danny and Caroline, for sharing your hearts with us!
According to Laura:
Love is ...
Love. So much is wrapped up in such a lovely, little word.
Love can mean romantic love, a love for a friend, love between families members, and even more. It takes many shapes and forms, and can change based on who is receiving your love as well as how you perceive what is being given to you (is it love? Kindness? Just a closeness?).
We so often question romantic love (do I love x? Does x love me?), but we rarely question love between family members. We think of that kind of love as unconditional. When relationships between family members get sticky, we rarely question love. (But perhaps what's at play always comes down to love).
I will never forget being in the bathtub and my mom asking me, "Do you feel loved?" for not the first or last time. I'd laugh it off and respond with a "Yeah, Mom!" shrugging it off. Later, I found out that she didn't feel loved as a child. A mother who wasn't capable of caring for young kids, an alcoholic step-mother who kicked her out at 14, and a dad who tried to be a good dad but didn't know how.
My mother is one of the strongest women I know. Recently, after my dad's triple bypass, my mom mentioned that she never gets sick and she expects to be around for a long time, to which my dad replied, "She's a tough one." (One of my dad's truth bombs in short sentence form.)
My mom never wanted us to feel how she felt as a child. She poured love all over us. She said it multiple times a day and both my mom and dad were there for every special moment of my brothers' and my life.
Certain aspects of love transcend all types of relationships. To me, love is connection and acceptance, and it gives us a sense of belonging - of being enough. Love is not conceited; love requires a giving heart, a heart that's open and willing to receive.
Certain types of love might always be there for us, like my parents' love will always be there for me, but I'm wondering how passive love can be. Of course there are times in which love can be passive for the receiver, like a parent who loves their newborn child or a cat owner who just wants their uninterested cat to love them back. But yet, love also needs to be willing to see own truths, to consider its actions, to be vulnerable. A commitment to love is a commitment to see someone as they are and to pay attention. Let's pay attention more.
According to Danny:
Love is…Rainbows and Butterflies and Unicorns
OK, admit it. Every time you see a rainbow, there’s a little gasp and someone (maybe you, maybe a complete stranger) says, “Look, there’s a rainbow!” That’s because rainbows are special. They indicate light penetrating darkness. They give people hope and a reason to smile. Just like love.
Rainbows are also, when you think about it, pure science. There is a refraction of light due to some combination of water droplets in the sky and the sunlight shining through, which also explains a bit about love. I fell in love with someone, not because I tried to or because it was good for me, but just because. I had no control over it. It just happened. Just like a rainbow.
Don’t even get me started on the double rainbows.
Love is like a butterfly. Cute thought. Actually, I think love starts out like a caterpillar. It did for me, anyway. Once we were past our caterpillar days of courtship and dating (and a lot of across-the-pong Skype calls in our case), things started to get real. Our love was about to enter the cocoon phase. In any loving relationship, there is a lot of growth that happens over time. Our love has morphed over the years, but when it comes down to it, it’s the same as it was in the early days…only better…and more beautiful…with wings!
There’s another reason for the butterfly analogy. Sometimes people will ask me how I knew he was the one for me. My answer…it was the butterflies. Every once in a while when I’d see him from across a room, or a thought of him would pop into my head, that butterfly sensation in my chest was there to remind me that I’d found someone special. We’ve known each other for 10 years, been together for 7, married for almost 4…and he still takes my breath away.
This one is a bit trickier to explain, so I’ll start with complete honesty. I’ve never actually seen a unicorn with my own two eyes. Are you surprised? Disappointed? Don’t be. Unicorns exist in books and movies, in our wildest dreams and fantasy worlds. They are magical creatures, open to interpretation and different in every person’s mind. Sometimes unicorns are just beautiful white horses with a pretty awesome horn. Sometimes they have magical powers and wings and long flowing manes.
So, how are unicorns like love? Because they’re only real if you believe in them. Full disclosure – just like unicorns, I haven’t physically ‘seen’ love. But I know it exists.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes love can be a haze of misty rain and squirming caterpillars and old grey mules with attitudes. But when you’re lucky, when your give it your all, and when you believe in the magic of it all, love is filled with rainbows and butterflies and unicorns.
According to Caroline
Love is ...
The sun shining, bringing warmth
While the mountain in the distance is frozen, capped with snow;
The water running from the mountains, glistening
Making its way to satisfy the thirst of a flower, an animal, and feeding into an ocean;
The flower, sharing pollen with the bee
Plucked in an offering of “thank you”, “I’m sorry”, “good luck”, or “I love you”;
The bee, working for it’s hive, relentless, then
Dies when protecting itself, leaving behind it’s sweetness;
The waters, rolling waves on top, remaining still for the life below
While on the shore, the mother, feeling under the weather, builds sandcastles
With her child, laughing and giggling;
Warming a lonely stranger’s heart
Who goes home feeling thankful.
Love is bright, it is sharing, it is unselfish, it is strong, it is sustaining, it is alive, it is intricate, it is misunderstood, it is what it is, it is resilient, it is sacrifice.
Love demonstrates itself in a multitude of ways and reaches it’s recipients how it’s meant to. It’s complexly beautiful.
Diane Clement is a 40 something whipper snapper who believes that the key to staying young is to have kids late in life. She hasn't slept in 36 months.