Eric Fromm says love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence while William Somerset Maugham thinks love is a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species. Love is omniscient. It has been called a tyrant. Love causes amnesia and madness and yet we endure it willingly. Some attack love like a foe or hold it in disdain, not because they hate but because they have lost love. Love tickles like a feather, it is a combine. It nibbles and mauls. Love is patient…like a predator? Like a bulb waiting for a hint of spring to send forth shoots? Like a shawl, cozy and warm?
February contains the pinnacle of all Hallmark auto-default events, followed closely by May and Mother’s Day. A dollar store box of die-cut Valentine’s “Be Mine” cards and a bag of red hots and our playmates should feel loved? I recall the grief of 2nd grade, when I didn’t get 30 Valentine’s day cards in my construction paper heart mailbox. Two classmates gave intentionally, selectively and exclusively only to “our friends”. They were not discerning 7 year olds. They withheld the miniature store bought cards so as to cause suffering. The early exposure might be considered a childhood immunization against the world of adult love. Except, the vaccine works more like hypersensitization. And in the words of President Obama….we get shellacked by love and its loss. Layers upon layers of hope, desire and bliss sandwiched between rejection, abandonment and disappointment. Yet….like the fountain of youth or the holy grail….we search for it. Even those with the brutal contempt for love cannot excise the crinkled, battered seed at the center of their soul that KNOWS love. And having a knowledge that there is LOVE is what makes not having or feeling it so utterly crippling. And yet….we try. Simply having the remnants of love, embedded in us by Creation, we know love exists. It is both abundant and rare. It resides inside every human…..over a billion currently walking this planet. Consider the TIME of people traversing this planet and the amount of love projected through the universe. And yet…..love eludes, evades, remains under glass, untouchable, seemingly unattainable. And yet…..we try.
And thank the Almighty for abundance and diversity, for love is fractionated in infinite ways. Love manifests is ways beyond description. There is love of self. Love of a brother. Love of living things. Love for a child. Love between a man and a woman. And beyond that, love becomes compassion, empathy, kindness, tolerance, comforting, assistance. Love is a pigment added in microscopic quantities to humanity so as to lead to a better path. Love makes living BETTER. Love cuts the bitterness, even makes the bitter worthy.
And we all want a BETTER life.