Thoughts on Love
“We’ve got this gift of love but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” ~John Lennon
Traveling through this life there are few experiences that bring us as much joy as love. It isn’t an easy emotion to describe, but we all know when we feel it. On our best days love holds us and guides us on our journey. On or worst days love seems like an illusion, like a ghost left in a dusty corner of our hearts.
Love is a funny thing. Despite its ability to overpower the darkness, we’re taught to suppress our love, to not express it too freely, to not waste it on those who don’t deserve it. But why should we be afraid of showing love? Love is meant to be shared and given in abundance. The more we share it the more life opens up to possibility, happiness and light. We’re taught to be cautious with love, that it makes us vulnerable and creates hurt. Really it is the absence of love that creates those negative feelings. So, how is it that we have managed to twist it all around?
Withholding love is not our natural state, yet that is what we are taught to do in our society. We are taught that love makes you “sappy” and “soft”, that love should only be expressed in private moments to certain people, that love should be given in measure when the time is right. But that is not how love thrives and grows. Those actions only suppress the evolution of love in our world.
It goes against the grain and very fiber of our natural being to withhold love. Medicine often talks about the effects of stress and negativity on the body, but what about the suppression of all the loving and kind things we want to say? When we withhold an “I love you” doesn’t that hurt us, too? Have you ever had those moments where love is just wanting to spill out of you, but you hold back? I had one of those situations recently.
I was traveling to see someone I love very much. The situation is complicated (isn’t that what we always say when we withhold love?). When I see this person we allow a connection, but only so far, only to the edge of a fuzzy boundary we never have to verbalize. I’ve been reading Marianne’s Williamson’s A Return to Love and I was feeling brave. This time I told myself, I’m going to say exactly what I feel. I was going to tell him all my loving thoughts, and I wanted him to know that in his darkest moments the knowledge of my love could hold him and keep him safe. There were things I felt he needed to hear and that I needed to say. But you can probably guess what happened.
There I stood, face-to-face with him, and the fear took over. My mind told me I’d be foolish to be so bold, to break our unwritten code of silence. My heart cried out softly, Be brave and speak up! My logical mind responded, No, no! Don’t be so risky, girl! And I wasn’t sure and I was silent. I let love lose. I wish I’d been daring and resolute. I wish I’d screamed all about my love from the rooftops. Maybe next time, I tell myself.
This situation is not unique. Love cannot win under those circumstances because we do not trust, we do not express, we do not allow. Our withholding of love snowballs inside us over time, and if we’re not careful we can end up with an icy, indifferent heart. We’ve all created our own versions of little ice castles to cool the warmth of too much love and numb its amazing power.
So, what do we do? We start over again tomorrow. We make new choices to give love freely. We hear all the time that love can change the world, and it is true. Be more loving, more giving. Open your heart to love. Act with love. Accept love. Be love. Expressing love and being loving is not a weakness; it takes tremendous strength and courage to be open, and give and accept love.
And while the complications of certain situations may never go away, maybe next time this brave girl will find her voice and speak boldly of love, without reservation. Here’s hoping.
And for a last bit of encouragement, Maya Angelou’s Facebook post today says it best, “I am grateful that love exists: familial love (love between relatives), romantic love (a passion between lovers), agape love (divine love between God and friends), love of nature (the majesty of mountains, the lasting love of oceans) and the joy of laughter. We are stronger, kinder and more generous because we live in an atmosphere where love exists. I am grateful for that.”
And I will add, I am grateful for the love of friends, those kindred souls who light our world afire. I know they make my world a better place everyday.