Thursday, December 3, 2009

On Love

Written on a flight from Portland to Chicago as I wave a teary goodbye to a place so many heartstrings attached themselves to during my stay.

Love is not what makes one's heart pitter-patter at the sight of another. Love isn't the warm feeling one gets when one experiences that delicate touch of someone special. Love is not thinking and dreaming about another person constantly, causing one to be ever distracted. Love is not what it feels like to hug or kiss someone - or more. Love is not excitement; not a purely physical bond; not hormones pulsating through one's body or some urge below one's belt line.

So, then, what is love? I've listed so many things that love is not that everyone should have narrowed it down by now in their minds, right?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

As always, I shall disclaim everything I am saying (perhaps I should just put a general disclaimer up on my blog or wall... or perhaps I should stop worrying about how incompetent everyone must think I am): 19-year-olds probably know nothing about love. But I interrupt my disclaimer to ask: who does? And what qualifies a person as being all-knowing about love, anyway? If someone is 16 or 17 and has been in more relationships and/or had sex more than I have at 19 or 20 (actually, just insert into those spots any given ages; my point is still the same), does that make them more knowledgeable than me on the subject of love? That person may care to think so, and I'm not going to try and prove them wrong, but in my oh-so-humble opinion, I think it just might be the other way around.

Whether I know anything about relationships, love, etc., or not, here is what I think love is:

Love is when you can sit together in a room, keeping to yourselves, but being able to speak up at any time and have the other person nod, smile, chortle, or whatever. Love is when you wake up in the morning and you smell like crap, and they smell like crap, but you still sit down next to each other for breakfast and pretend like you can't smell anything... because your love goes way beyond how a person smells. Love is when you can't help passing gas in all manner of odd ways, but you aren't embarrassed. Love is doing things together - it's cleaning the kitchen, it's throwing a ball or a Frisbee, it's swimming laps, it's riding bikes, it's raking leaves, it's cooking dinner, it's making music. Love is not blaming somebody that the hot water ran out, even if it was obviously their fault. Love is coming to each other when a problem arises and working it out together. Love is encouraging one another to be better people and not just tolerating behavior that you know one day will be detrimental to them and to others. Love is serving one another in all senses of the word; love is selfless. Love doesn't do things for one person because they want a reward or some sort of acknowledgement for themselves - love does things for a person specifically to do things for the person. Love is not the bare minimum; love does all that is required, and then keeps on doing.

In Oregon, I came to realize how truly bad I am at loving. And, up until the time I said that last sentence, you may have thought I was talking about romantic love... and now you are pointing your fingers at the text and shouting nice things like "impostor!!" at me. But I was - the real romantic love is encompassed in unconditional love. The basis of all love is the unconditional, which we often forget.

Anyway, as I was saying *clears throat*... in Oregon, I came to realize how truly bad I am at loving. That sounds horrible, but it's true. Once out of my day-to-day life I tend to get caught up in, I was able to step back and reflect on my actions in general. After all, in preparation for my trip, I had gotten very slack in tolerance, communication, and servanthood, among other things. Are those things to be so conditional? I don't think so.

Oregon... my two steps forward and one step back. I jumped at the opportunity to improve upon my loving. And so much more than that occurred. I learned an incredible amount of things about loving, more than I ever thought I would in my whole life, especially what I would have assumed I would learn on the trip.

So, thank you, everyone and everything, in North Carolina and all that was in my new love, Oregon.

And you, my two dearest lands - North Carolina and Oregon - how I love thee! I believe I am to be torn between two lovers forever. Alas - 'tis a beautiful, bittersweet affair!


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