Monday, 24 August 2015

WHAT IS LOVE?

Love must be one of the most written on topics. And why not, it's something important to a lot of people if not everyone. Something people think and dream about. To be loved and to love unconditionally, not because of one or two specific traits, but because of all your traits wrapped up together that make you you! So many poems and songs have been written on the topic of love, so much so that the word itself has becomes somewhat commercial, with no true meaning attached to it! But some versus have manage to capture the essence of love! Described so beautifully it touches your heart! A few of my favorite include:

“Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.” ― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

I like this because it speaks to the fact that love isn't always the same! It's different with different people! And I'm not talking about the love for your man being different from the love of your child. No! It's different with different partners. Which makes it new and unique, nothing like you'd have ever felt, even if you've been in love before. But the main reason why I like this so much is because it speaks to the fact that love isn't one sided! It's a feeling that is based on give and receive! It's shaped by what you receive in turn from the one you love. It's moving back and forth between two people! It reminds me of another metaphor I like to use for love..a dance! How you move depends on how well your partner receives you. The dance is never still, and it's never the same with different partners! It's unique, based on the individual qualities of the two people coming together. And that's what makes it beautiful! 

Next up, Kahlil Gibran on Love - The Prophet: 

When love beckons to you, follow him, 
Though his ways are hard and steep. 
And when his wings enfold you yield to him, 
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. 
And when he speaks to you believe in him, 
Though his voice may shatter your dreams 
as the north wind lays waste the garden. 

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.  
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. 
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, 
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. 

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. 
He threshes you to make you naked. 
He sifts you to free you from your husks. 
He grinds you to whiteness. 
He kneads you until you are pliant; 
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,  
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you  
that you may know the secrets of your heart, 
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart. 

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, 
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, 
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,  
and weep, but not all of your tears. 
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; 
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, 
"God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God. 
And think not you can direct the course of love, 
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. 

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. 
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: 
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. 
To know the pain of too much tenderness. 
To be wounded by your own understanding of love; 
And to bleed willingly and joyfully. 
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; 
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy; 
To return home at eventide with gratitude; 
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart  
and a song of praise upon your lips." 

I think this is sooo beautiful! But not just beautiful, it speaks truth! The harsh truth at that! It acknowledges all the pleasant aspects we associate with love, because the kind of joy you have from love, is different from any other joy; and the feeling of being truly loved by another raises you higher than anything else can raise you! But as every ying has it's yang, so does the pleasantry of love have its painful side! Only through true love, can your heart know true pain! For in love, you're open to the vulnerability that comes in sharing yourself with another. And only in love are your boundaries truly tested and your flaws excruciatingly exposed! Love is "to know the pain of too much tenderness", because to love someone so much, your heart aches with the pain that they feel, and with the fear that you feel of loosing such a beautiful thing! But then he goes on to say, that the fear of unpleasantries should not keep you from following the call of love. Because then though you might experience joy and laughter and tears without love, they will never match up to the intensity of these same feelings when in love! And I think that is so true! And lastly, "think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course"! Which speaks for itself, and is absolutely true!

But of all of these, one verse remains thee verse on love above all! It's a verse I have read many times, but until recently never really thought about the meaning behind it.

1 Corinthians 13: "Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not envious, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 

Reading it in the past, I always read through it quickly which made me see the general gist of it but it didn't truly sink in. But reading it now word for word, I see just how much truth is in it! This is the Gold Standard of love! The very standard that everyone in love should strive and work to achieve day for day! Love is Patient – it waits if it needs to! It's patient when he/she irritates the hell out you! Patience!!! Love is kind! This one in particular I find is often over looked! Just because you've grown accustomed to someone, and because you know they love you and you love them, and you're together and plan on staying that way, doesn't mean you can just be mean! I strongly believe that for love to truly flourish, kind words even after you've been together for a long long while, go a long long way! Kindness in your responses, kindness even in your arguments! .... "Love is not self seeking" - your thoughts and the intentions behind your actions, should first and foremost have the recipient of your love in mind. And just think, if both partners where to do this, how beautiful and healthy would that relationship be? "Love is not easily angered! - Even though your partner is the one person who knows how to push your buttons, love is not easily angered! I admit, this one isn't easy! Because when you're stripped bare in your emotions, and you feel offended it's easy to get on the defensive and lash out in anger! But love is not EASILY angered! ..."Love always protects" - I take this to mean, stands up for the other, defends them, is on their side always even though you don't necessarily agree with them. You can still support them and respect them, yet disagree with their views. I truly believe people can learn to communicate their opposing views, in a way that gets their honest point across, but still leaves the other person feeling supported and not alone on one side of the fence! 

After saying all this, before we go beating ourselves up for our actions not matching up to this description in our own relationships, keep in mind that it is a gold standard!!! Something to strive and work towards each day! For the sake of love!  

:) :) :)