Friday, June 25, 2010

Love, that many splendored thing.

There is no remedy for love but to love more. Thoreau

It was stated in the movie I watched last night. "Love isn't a feeling. It's an ability." Twice in fact. Once by a minor character. The next time by the star, Steve Carell in, "Dan in Real Life".

Hmmm. I wonder if the writer wrote that first line and thought, 'ohhh, it's so good, I'd better give it to the main character too! 'Cause people might miss it when it comes from the mouth of a twelve year old' -- one of Steve Carell's daughters in the film.

It is a good line.

And then I wondered, what does that mean?

Because, totally, love is a feeling. I mean, I've felt it. I've felt the pitter patter of the heartbeat turning into a drumbeat pounding kind of love of another. That place where the thought that to live without this person engulfs you in despair.

And, I've felt the deep abiding love I feel for my daughters. That love where I want nothing from them, only that they be safe, never fearful, never hurt, never disappointed, never uncertain -- you know, that unrealistic place where if I could I'd put them in a bubble and never let, 'life' in all its complexities, touch them and because I love them, I know I can't and so I don't even attempt to try.

Okay, so maybe I have tried just a little bit, but, reality is -- love can't be felt from within a bubble. Love needs life's dipsidoodles to be experienced completely. To be known wholly. And because I love them, I want them to experience love in all its many dimensions. And sometimes, love hurts -- it's not about our ability 'to love', it's about our capacity to stand In Love when our heart is breaking -- open.

The Greeks recognized the complexity of love. They had four words for it -- spiritual love, agape, love of family, storge, friendship kind of love, philia, and the ooohhh, baby I get so hot and bothered when I'm with you kind of love for another, eros.

Love is a many splendored thing -- not to mention complex.

And while it is a feeling, it is also an ability. The ability to stretch our thinking, not to mention our heart muscles, to encompass more than just ourselves, our fears, our needs and wants.

It's the ability to put yourself second, to not think of 'me, me, me' but rather, to embrace 'the other' without expectation of me, me, me getting something in return.

My daughters taught me what it means to be able to love -- without fear limiting my ability to love unconditionally. They've taught me how to engage my ability to let go of my wants and needs and desires to fall into that place where what is best for them must take precedence over what I want. Because, being able to love them means allowing them room to grow without my fears and wants and needs shadowing their every move.

Love is an ability -- and sometimes, my ability to love is limited by my ability to 'see' the other as separate and whole, perfectly perfect in all their human imperfections, just like me.

I learn every moment about my capacity to Love -- without fear, without restraint, without needing to know I am loved in return -- when I let go of needing love and fall into Love without needing to know where I am in Love.

I stand In Love. There is no where else I'd rather be.

Because Love is -- in every action I take, every word I speak, every thought I think when I let go of believing I need to 'do' to 'have'.

There's nothing to be had in loving. Love is that which pays enormous dividends when I love without need for a return on my investment.


Anonymous said...


love is not a noun, it is a verb - an action word

I love the action


Glynn said...

Love is a feeling. Love is an ability. And love is a heckuva lot of work.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Glynn -- you made me smile! Yup, that it is!

mark -- I think it's both -- though the action can be most enjoyable! :)

Anonymous said...


though we talk about it as if it is a thing ... clearly we can't hold it in our hand; it is small things and it is much bigger than a breadbox

we keep it in our brain, and in the muscle tissue of our heart .... but it always feels - to me - like it is that act and action of loving, of caring . . which sometimes flows reciprocally, but most often just one way at a time

can't live with it sometimes

can't live without it - ever


CZBZ said...

May I just say that I LOVE your new blog! What a beautiful watercolor background!

Very very feminine AND powerful.


Maureen said...

Love. It's passive and aggressive. Received and held back. Given and returned. Withheld from and never denied. Contradiction and complement. Innate and learned. Shown and hidden. A metaphor and a simile. An act and an action. Complex and utterly simple. Indefinable. Ended and ever lasting. Both L and l. A feeling and felt. Looked for yet always there. Gift and treasure. Indiscriminate and particular. Symbol and meaning.

Sandra Heska King said...

Better to have loved and lost . . .

S. Etole said...

Love is complicated, isn't it?!