Why do we love?
The answer is as simple as resonance, as complex as a chemical romance.
I have loved a lot of people – some probably far longer than I should have. When you love people in general, you are always halfway to loving A person in particular. The rest is literally chemistry – that particular combination of bio-manufactured pharmaceuticals that gets your heart to palpitate, your face to flush, your Endorphins to rush; the pheromone tickle that makes something in you perk up and take notice – we have the drug lab in buried in our brains to thank for that.
Loving people has never been the problem.
I grew up on fairy tales where the love was spelled out to the letter. Love was spoken of in terms of sacrifice, epic quests, vanquished monsters and kisses bestowed upon sleeping beauties. The Christian Bible speaks of love as a form of redemption, and the Buddha says it comes when everything else is let go.
I used to believe that Love was these things, because this is what we all are told.
That all changed when I realized that loving someone is the easy part of the equation and that we are, from a biological standpoint, practically engineered for it. The challenge in love isn’t in the giving, it is in the receiving. Learning to believe and accept love even when we don’t understand why this person saying that they love us, loves us is the hard part. Taking Love on faith, that those that Love us, the We each of us is, see us for who we are when we can’t.
And that is Love’s madness – at least to me. I always want to see things from everyone else’s point of view…that comes with the desire for peacemaking, I think. Seeing things from where other’s stand is how we understand. Looking at the world through our own eyes, it’s impossible to see ourselves in it – there is just an us-shaped hole where we should be. And maybe we think that hole is us and maybe that is why so many people seem to feel so empty.
Love is a mirror, and maybe it only comes when we are ready to see ourselves as we truly are without fear or shame in the eyes of those that Love us. Blinded by our light reflected back, we accept that what they see is the basis of that Love, and that it is not something that they will ever be able to qualify or explain. Maybe Love finds us when we are ready to let go of what the storybooks tell us what love is and let Love show us that we ARE Love.
In fact, I think that if a person can answer the question of why they love you, they probably don’t. They may love things about you, but that is not the same as loving you. The WHY of love is supposed to be a mystery because love just IS. The fact that M. loves my cooking doesn’t tell me he loves me. The fact that my waking him up in the middle of the night and announcing that my operating system has gone a little funny causes him to marvel at my self- referential brain is what tells me he loves me. To me, that is the stuff of fairy tales.
And maybe that is what spurs this reply. All love is the stuff of fairy tales, but the stuff we read that shaped our ideas of love were someone else’s fairy tales. Those ideas of love were someone else’s ideas of love. We are here to decide who we are and in deciding that, we decide what Love is. We owe it to each other to give each other space to figure that out, and to support each other in the process. Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Femme, Butch, Black, White, Asian, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Male, Female, and everything in between, we all get to decide for ourselves what Love is, the price for which is that we have to let others do the same without our interference, impediment or judgment.
We are here to write our own fairy tales. Our parchment is the infinite Universe, our inkwell is everything in it.
Today my dad asked if I knew that he loved me. I told him most of the time I do. The times that I don’t are when the love doesn’t look like what I have always thought love looked like. My idea of Love is a work in progress and the more I work on it, the more I am able to recognize when I am loved. I am grateful beyond words to have someone in my life who shows Love to me every single moment of every single day.
So, why do We Love?
The answer is elegant in its simplicity: We Love because we are here, because it is now, and because it is what we are made for.