What then is Love

What then is love, is the question of the ages, and is asked time and again by philosophers, by the wise, by fools and common man alike. It is on the lips, in the hearts and minds of Kings, courtiers, rich and poor. We dream about it, right poems about it, pine when we are without it, drive our selves crazy when we have it, yet does anyone of us really know what it is?

We all know the Hollywood version, because we have seen it time after time on the silver screen. It goes something like this, boy meets girl, boy wants girl. Boy and girl rip the clothes off each other, spend a torrid night of love, and live happily ever after. Nice gig if you can get it, but for the most of us it is never quite that way, never so cut and dried.

Love is a much deeper mystery than this; at least I believe it is. We’ve all been struck down by the arrows that cupid indiscriminately shoots among the crowd. We’ve all felt that first exhilarating rush of chemicals that starts our hearts beating like a trip hammer, that causes our palms to sweat, that make us invincible, and feel ten feet tall. We promise undying devotion to the dear object of our affection, build castles in the sky, and plan out our lives down to the smallest detail.

For a while we live in the fantasy of our creation, look at our love through rose-coloured glasses, but when the first blush fades, and they no longer measure up to our exacting standards, we fall out of love faster than we fell into it.

We pine, we sulk, we drown our sorrows in alcohol, swear off of love for good, but this only lasts until once more we see a face or some other part of the anatomy that sets us off down the road of heartbreak again. Is love really no more than feelings of lust, the desire to possess, a fleeting obsession, or can it be more these mundane things?

If it is more than these things, then what is it? Let us begin our quest with the authority on so many things, the Bible, and the teachings of Jesus. You may believe He’s the Son of God. You may believe that He was prophet, a teacher or just the son of a humble carpenter; or you may doubt that He ever lived at all.

No matter your opinion of who He was or wasn’t, you can’t deny the wisdom of the words He was supposed to say, because they have stood the test of time. Among the many profound things attributed to Him, is this simple, elegant, eloquent statement, and I paraphrase it a little, “No greater love has anyone than the person who would give up their life for a friend.”

Think about this for a moment, “There is no greater love in the world than the love someone would have by sacrificing their life for just a friend. Profound and thought-provoking words, aren’t they?

As a father of two grown sons, I think I can speak for most parents, if not all, and say that we would give up our lives for our children, without any hesitation at all. I do wonder though, how many couples that believe they are totally devoted to each other would willing die for their partner?

I came face to face with this question when my wife was dying from cancer, when her body was wracked with pain and wasting away before me. It was then I fully understood the words of Christ. It was during that time, I began to understand a little of what love is.

As parents, we will always love our children, no matter what they do, no matter if the never live up to what we expect of them. How many of you who are reading this article can say the same thing about your spouse?

Willy Shakespeare had his two cents to add to the topic of what love is, and I quote, “Let us not admit impediments to the marriage of true minds. Love is not love which alters, when alteration finds. How many relationships have ended when one partner or both wake up one morning, take a close look at their love of twenty some years, and think they never knew them?

Human beings fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat, but how many really ever care to know what love is? How many girlfriends and boyfriends are best friends? For the most part it seems that a woman’s best friend is another woman, and a man’s best friends are his beer buddies.

It is just my opinion, but I believe that in a marriage, a man and wife should be each-others best friend. After all they spend more of their time together than they do with anyone else, at least they should.

Here is another relationship question. How many couples genuinely like each other? This may seem an odd thing to ask, but think about it long and hard. Do you like the person you are married to? Personally I believe that it is just as important, or perhaps more important to like the one you are with as it is to love them.

It is a shame, but true, most people will put up with more crap from a friend than they will from their partner, and many friendships last a lifetime, but many marriages don’t. It is also true that most people like their friends and enjoy spending time with each other, while many married couples can’t stand looking at each other, and get their kicks by provoking fights.

Falling in love is delightful, wonderful and an experience we should all have at least once during our lives, but love is a thing that lingers long after ones partner dies. Love is selfless, more a knowing than a feeling.

As I end this, I have one bit of advice for you dear reader. The next time you fall in love and think about getting married, ask yourself these questions. Do I like this person? Is he, she my friend or are we only boyfriend, girlfriend?  Would I give up my life for this person? If the answer is no, or don’t know for certain to anyone of these questions, then perhaps they aren’t the right one for you.

Kisses are far sweeter
than the nectar
from a honeysuckle vine,
far more intoxicating
then any kind of wine.

Our lover’s gentle touch
sends shivers of ecstasy,
of wondrous anticipation
racing up our spine.

Loves new flames
burn brighter, burn hotter
than the fires of the sun.
Being in love consumes us
with its overwhelming desire.

We give into our needing,
to our hunger for each other.
We build our own world.
We build fairy castles in the sky.

We laugh as we lie,
encompassed by each other’s arms.
and when one of us is hurting,
both of us will cry.

But cruel time passes,
Bright warm flames dim,
until only a few embers glow.

Yet deep, deep within
there is a joyous remembering.
Though our memories fade,
love light still shines bright
in our lover’s eyes.

Love may be quieter now,
and yet its strength
still binds two as one.

Now at the edge of ending,
one may at long last wonder
what then is love?
Is it passions bright, burning flame?
Is it moments of glory,
moments of tenderness and lust?

Or is it that which now remains,
after age has cooled the fevered brow?
The answer lies before us,
waiting to be discovered.
Its sweet meaning at last revealed,
to those who are forever lovers.


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Filed under essay, Literary, narrative, non-fiction, Poem

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