Ah yes, Love.
Man, talk about a topic that could use a little exposure these days, huh?
And after all it's Valentine's Day, a day we are compelled by a combination of tradition and massive marketing to express our affection to those who own our hearts,
Some say the V Day tradition came from the Roman festival known as Lupercalia held mid February featuring fertility ceremonies involving drunkenness, animal sacrifice and culminating in the men pairing off with women via a lottery. Seems more than a tad creepy but hey, what does one expect from ancient Rome anyway?
Apparently a Roman Emperor (Claudius II) had a major hand in naming the day by executing two guys named Valentine. These gents were martyred and then honored by the Catholic Church with St. Valentine’s Day.
Yep. Executions, animal sacrifice, wanton debauchery...all the things that make one think about romance…
But back to love.
“Oh mirror in the sky what is love?”
Stevie Nicks crooned this in the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Landslide’.
Yes indeed what is love? The eternal question.
Robert Heinlein said “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
Is that it? Knowing that if they are not happy, then neither are you? That seems pretty reasonable I guess.
Of course then there is Jonathan Swift who said “Love is a word made up of two vowels, two consonants and two fools.”
Wow, Jon. We know you were a satirist and all but something must have made you a bit jaded about the whole notion of romance.
We are inundated with love messages via songs, movies, books, etc.
I mean, think about books alone. Have you ever checked out the selection of romance novels in a bookstore? Particularly a used book store? They are as prolific as Iowa corn stalks in July.
And music? Consider just the Beatles who used the word love in their songs more often than a fire and brimstone preacher uses the word sin in a sermon.
And of course when you want to fill a theater? Particularly on a date night?
Titanic, Pretty Woman, The Notebook, and a boatload of Rom-coms are just the ticket.
Heck, A Star is Born has been remade a couple of hundred times at least.
Yes we love love.
But what is it really?
Maybe it’s defined differently for each of us. A condition as unique as the people who are swept up by the experience.
Because when all is said and done (and sung and written and produced on film) love is merely the reason we choose to connect to others. The force that compels us to enter into an agreement, spoken or not, that the other person is the most important other person on Earth.
At least that’s what it could be and perhaps should be.
Lately when N3 posts the recent local marriage licenses I’ve included a little snippet about love and marriage. In one I recalled telling a couple in a counseling session to spend the week treating each other as well as they do their third best friend.
Seems an odd request?
Well, things in the relationship had gotten pretty bad so, under the assumption that best friend was too big an ask, we settled on third best.
Why? Because they had lost any notion of friendship. Sessions felt more like competitors vying for a win and as a result both were losing.
The hope was to rekindle the friendship that they once possessed as a couple. People can sometimes lose track that beyond the romance in love there lies a deep abiding connectedness. That singular feeling that the other has your back. The notion of being part of a ‘Nation of Two’ as Kurt Vonnegut references in his novel "Mother Night". This dynamic serves to root that romantic love into our very being and create the place, sometimes the one place, where we feel safest.
But that’s just our take.
Here are some quotes from others far more articulate than I.
“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.”-Oscar Wilde
“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”- Friedrich Nietzsche
“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”-Ursula K. Le Guin
“I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”-Maya Angelou
“I think... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”- Leo Tolstoy
“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”- Robert Frost
And our personal favorite
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu.
Happy V-Day all.
Ken De Laat
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