A couple of months ago, Tangled Lou, the force to be reckoned with at Periphery, took it upon herself to meddle in the affairs of others when she asked her readers to tell her about love. She didn't specify what kind of love - or even tell us whether or not she thought there was a distinction. She just asked simply, "Tell me about love." It was, in hindsight, quite Kahlil Gibran of her actually.
I didn't respond to her request right away. Mostly because I didn't know what to say or how to say it.
When I did respond, finally, it was simply to point her in the direction of several of the blog posts I've written since this blog began. Entries that documented my relationship with Andy...entries about falling madly, passionately in love but so many more about losing love - first, when I left him after nearly a decade together and again when his brain and then his heart exploded inside leaving behind only the lifeless shell of the man whose ring I once wore.
We'd known and loved each other for 17 years when he died (that was one hell of a long summer romance). Over the course of those 17 years, we found and lost each other countless times but we never lost our love for one another. We both tried, and failed miserably, to engage in other relationships. For my part, I began to believe that piece of me - that important piece of equipment that allows one to fall head over heels in love - was irreparably broken. Since he died and there is absolutely no hope of finding each other again, I know I simply just long-term loaned it to him at the tender age of 20.
Wow. 20 years ago.
Where was I?
Ah yes. Tangled Lou. So when Lou asked her question, of course, the person I thought of was Andy. He's really all I know of being in love. While there have been a number of false starts since there's never been anyone else who ran away with my heart.
But I wish now I'd responded differently to her question. Because her question wasn't asking me to tell her about being in love or losing love. Her question was to tell her about love period. And I happen to be an expert on finding love in the most unexpected places, in hidden nooks and long forgotten crannies, from unlikely sources, and demonstrated in a variety of ways.
I've been accused of overusing the very word "LOVE". As though love is some finite, tangible thing that should be conserved, rationed, and only doled out in small, affordable bits.
But I don't believe that, I don't feel that, and I certainly don't live with such a miserly heart. If you've known me for any length of time, if we're friends, I've likely told you any number of times that I love you. Because I do. If you've known me for any length of time, you know I'm usually the first person to hug, to touch, to smile, to laugh. That's all an expression of the love I have and give.
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep,
but not all of your tears. - Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet
In my not-so-humble opinion, love isn't something you can ever express too often or to too many people. Has there ever been a time you've found yourself grieving the loss of a friend and thought to yourself, "You know, I think I probably told her I loved her just one time too many"?
I didn't think so.
How often have we remembered someone we've lost though and regretted not having told him, "I love you" just one last time? (And, if we had said it one last time, would there be just one more we'd want to say and another and another?)
Because there is always ALWAYS room for more love and the expression of it. And the more you say it, the more you feel it, and the more love comes back to you in wonderful, magical ways, the more you want to share it with still others because loving IS living.
That's what I know of love.
It's an excellent return on investment.
That's what I should have said to Lou. Instead, I say it to you.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon
-Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet