On the Nature of Love


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We as a people are very cognizant of this entity we call Love. Regardless of our feelings or opinions on the topic we all acknowledge its presence and significance. Most people will confess that it plays a major role in their lives (or perhaps, to some, it would be the lack of it). Love can bind people together where reason and logic may not. Love often changes the course of one’s life irrevocably. Love heals wounds that would otherwise be fatal to a relationship. Love drives people to what can often only be described as insanity. It has a terrible power that all recognize. But for something so pivotal, do we spend enough time trying to understand it? Too often we speak of it in such simple terms, as if we have it all figured out and sorted neatly in our minds. This is, perhaps, a symptom of a greater disease in our culture that I will not divert your attention to at this time, but in which we feel a sense of enlightenment far disproportionate to the amount of time we actually spend seeking it.

One of the greatest misconceptions I believe we have conjured for ourselves is this idea that Love is somehow blind, that it cannot see the faults we possess and the wrongs we commit. Or in lieu of this perception, we seem to think that Love must simply ignore all of the negative things about us. We think what one might call Love cannot truly be so if it acknowledges anything beyond its desire for us. We want Love to be a sense of overwhelming ‘warm fuzzines’ for a person and nothing more. And this simply is incorrect.

The truth is that Love desires us despite these things. And more than that, it wants us to grow beyond them. If I truly love someone, then I want nothing short of the best for them. I am not content with their current state. At all turns I will always desire more for them, and better from them. And I should never want someone who loves me to be content to watch me rot away in a perpetual static state.

There are many phrases such as “Why can’t he/she just love me for me…” that we all hear regularly. Many times it seems to be tied to the love of a parent for a child. I would tell you that there is no better indicator to me of my parents’ love than the fact that they have always and will always seek better for me and better from me. Love is limitless, and no matter how well you are doing it can always desire more. To Love, there is no ceiling on your development. Perhaps in some relationships it can seem to be a nuisance at times (I’ll be the first to admit this), but it should be appreciated all the same.

This extends beyond parental relationships. Sometimes we shun Love because it refuses to overlook things about ourselves we would rather leave untouched, that we’d rather not face. We say “If you can’t love me for what I am, then…” and push those who love us away, when really they may love us more than anyone. But that Love cannot abide the thought of simply sitting complacently and watching when it sees so much more to us. And we resent it for this. There are struggles we would rather avoid and certainly don’t want anyone pushing us into, though they’d be by our side the whole way. How crazy it is that we want to see Love as this fiery, passionate thing…and yet we expect to see it stand idly by with hands in pockets on the sideline and watch, silent! These two images surely do not belong together.

Love may be patient and kind, lacking envy and pride, and still unsatisfied. This does not diminish its capacity or power. It is still unbreakable. It is still unquenchable. It can still find you in the darkest pit. But it is, perhaps, more unfathomable. And it will always be inexplicable.


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