Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859
I am glad that Valentine’s Day is over! Don’t get me wrong, I am by nature a hopeless romantic. But I find that our culture celebrates a false notion of love on this particular day. Is love really about jewelry, fancy restaurants, flowers, or the most expensive Hallmark card? Like I said to my fiance’, ” I don’t need this one day for you to show your love for me.” Moreover, it can make those individuals who are not part of a couple feel left out and even unworthy of love.
I do not believe that love can actually be defined; it is too big of an idea and feeling to be boxed in by a metaphorical dictionary. But I would like to get down to the nitty-gritty of what love really is and its importance in our routine, sometimes mundane lives. During the blizzard last week, I came across the well-known I Corinthians passage: Love is patient, love is kind, etc. This is recited ad nauseum at weddings and as a result (at least for me) it has lost its sincerity. Perhaps if more of us were actually paying attention and practicing its message, we would have more long-lasting and healthy relationships with our partners, friends and family.
I first learned the power and fierceness of love when I became a mother. Children have a way of forcing you to get outside of yourself. My sons taught me the beauty of ordinary moments-holding hands, hugs, smiles and laughter. Reading books, playing games and just being together were enough for both them and me. They taught me patience (although it took a long time!). Each of my sons was born a unique individual-not a reflection of me or their father. They helped me to understand and accept them for who they are and not what our culture expects them to be as males. Through them, I learned that love is transcendental; I will never forget the look of love that my parents had the moment they first met my sons. Love abides deep within all of us, no doubt.
I learned what love was not through their father. I Corinthians states: “Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way.” In healthy partnerships, there is always room for support, rejoicing in one another’s accomplishments, listening to each other’s concerns and always, always kindness. I heard one too many times: “If you don’t like it, there’s the door.” I thought that by loving him and providing him with two beautiful sons, it would be enough to ease his restless heart. But for him it was better to be irritable, resentful and to rejoice in wrongdoing.
The antithesis of abuse is love. It is through my beloved that I rejoice in truth and true love. When we first started dating, my fiance’ said: “We can make this a vacation relationship or a normal relationship. I want to go to church with you, spend time with the boys and help you with things around the house. I want to meet your friends.” In essence, he wanted to be with me.
Everyday Love is what brings us peace. I am at once astounded and amazed by the positive energy that is brought through the simplest of acts of love. Just yesterday, as I was coming home from the movies, I noticed that two lights were left on for my arrival. My oldest left them on for me as he knew that I would be coming back in the dark. Today, his girlfriend shoveled in front of the garage so I could get things done in the house (writing this piece and baking brownies!). Everyday Love is what keeps us safe and secure. My youngest doesn’t need me to be Superwoman or to provide him with material things; he wants what was partly missing for him in the past four years. A present parent-one who listens, supports his endeavors and provides a soft place to land. As for me, I wanted a level of intimacy with a man that rose above the physical relationship ( not that I any qualms with that!). My fiance’ loves me unconditionally. He believes in me. He is humble in his generosity towards me and my sons. His Everyday Love is at once a nirvana, an oasis and one that never ends.