I looked up the definition for love at Dictionary.com and there were 27 kinds of love listed. At Merriam-Webster there were 13. And, over at the Urban Dictionary, there were 142 submissions for the word love. Poets have tried to harness the feeling in stanzas, film makers have tried to capture it on-screen, and musicians have tried to condense this complicated emotion into under three minutes for decades. Even scientists have studied the physical reactions our bodies make when we are in love. It is mysterious, strange, frustrating, beautiful, and all together nearly impossible to describe. And yet, we keep trying.
There’s nothing like love. It can lift and crush us all at the same time. The feeling leads to wonder and obsession, giddy excitement and incredible loss. It’s at once unknowable and all-consuming. It is an enigma. A puzzle we are all constantly trying to solve, in one way or another.
My first feelings of love were for my mom, my brother, my family at large. I remember feeling warm, wrapped in the whole of these beautiful people. Knowing I was a part of them, and they me. I was constantly being held up by their concern and encouragement and leveled by their disappointment or criticism. I was dependent and depended upon. All of those things still hold true, none of them capture the depth of the feeling.
I have a deep and abiding love for so many amazing friends. I’ve had that all my life. I’ve been lucky to pick, and have been picked by, a generous, fantastic, lovely, lot of people. A group of people, throughout my life, who have given me so much in the way of support and kindness and laughter and companionship. We’ve shared stories and triumphs and heart breaks. We’ve hugged each other and cried together and laughed so hard no sounds came out. As I sit here thinking about all of them, I am overwhelmed to the point of tears. Face after beautiful face popping into my head, a wonderful tapestry of smiling eyes. And still I can’t describe the depth of this feeling in me.
I’ve had a few romantic loves. Crushes and relationships that were never meant to be, but felt like they were at the time. Secret loves and awkward feelings of love I hid from some and exposed to others. I stumbled and bumbled my way through most of my early life, meaning before I was well into my thirties, not really knowing what I was actually feeling, or wanting to feel, but feeling it so deeply and overwhelmingly that ultimately only confusion resulted. I had passion and commitment in spades, but didn’t really know what to do with it. But I loved, and yes, I was loved in return.
And then… then I fell madly and deeply in love. I’ve attempted to describe this feeling, this feeling of fitting together. The best way I’ve found is to say that there was nearly an audible clicking into place when I met K. It’s as if all the cogs settled just so, accompanied by a perfect little whoosh of sound. I believe, to this day, that I actually heard it. Love. True, impossibly real, and mine. And still, I can’t really describe it, not even to her. I’ve tried. I’ve said the words, written poems, sung songs, and looked at her with so much feeling coursing through me I’m sure she feels it. When she looks back I feel it from her. It is obsessive and sweet and ruthless and honest and miraculous. And still I feel as though I can’t quite get my words around it.
It’s such a small word. The ultimate four letter word. I feel it so deeply, for so many, including those furry little faces walking around our house. And yet, even with all of this, the words seem hollow and the attempt middling. I guess when all the scholars and scientists and poets and musicians have trouble condensing it into any kind of real explanation I shouldn’t expect that I could, in any way, do it in one small blog post.
I guess I will just say this, no further explanation needed… I love, and I am loved in return. It just is. And, in the end, that’s all we really need to know.