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Monday, September 19, 2011

Love Defined

The idea that I am qualified to define love may be ridiculous, considering that every human, ever, has tried at least once to take a stab at it. What, then, is the point? It would be redundant and obtrusive to even attempt to categorize something so universally felt, and undeniably personal.

Thanks. I think I will.

Love is the straight jacket worn by Fear.

Oh, relax your eyebrows! Stay with me.

There are only two basic emotions inherent in the human experience. The first is Joy. Pure Joy. Not the “For me? It’s just what I wanted!” brand of momentary pleasure that wells up when an expectation or desire is fulfilled. Pure joy is the default state we all start out with, before life pummels the human cylinder-shaped peg into gender-based, behavioral and societal square holes. Joy is how we enter this world, and leaving the State of Joy, as we all do, shapes our continuing desire to return, at all costs.

We may have lost the map, or have designated someone or something else as the navigator.

Everything else, every other emotion we have, comes from fear.

Fear comes in many forms. It’s like a family, really. A family of suicidal, homicidal, destructive little beasts, where each one is a cyclops, and they all carry those tree trunk-like clubs with a leaf or two sticking out of the end.

Anger, and his ugly little brothers Hate and Jealousy, embody the fear that we will lose control of our environment and the carefully constructed cage we build to keep us safe from the big bad world. When someone does or says something that threatens our perception of what is “right”, they are unleashed, ready to smash it to pieces. They will often smash anything in the vicinity, too, regardless of its involvement in their release.

Arrogance is really just Anger’s twin, albeit a sibling who has spent more time in front of a mirror. Not one for deep revelations, he relies on his perception of what’s right based on what he sees there.

And then, there is their big sister, Loss. She has many children, all of whom insidiously pervade everything we do. The most misunderstood of her offspring is Love.

Love! That noblest of all feelings, enshrined in story and song throughout the ages. What is love but the fear that the person we love will leave us? When we allow someone to fill that empty place in us, we will fight to the death, if need be, to keep them there. Love is trust that they will remain with you. Love is belief in what they say, and what they promise. Love is the fragile acceptance of living under the piano-being-hoisted-up-on-a-rope, glossing over the inevitability that the rope will someday snap.

Love makes us feel safe.

Oooh… see what I did there?

Love wraps around our biggest fear… fear of the unknown, sheltering us from its crushing doom. If Heaven is glorious, why do we lament a loved one’s passing? As a parent, no amount of Good Book readin’ would help me through the loss of one of my children. My biggest fear is not death, (or public speaking), but the loss of someone I love. Threaten me with that, and my Cyclops will lay waste to everything as far as the eye can see.

But, if Love is Fear’s comfortable old coat, it has a secret in its pocket.

Hope.

Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a glimpse of the Pure Joy we have so ardently been missing. Hope that the unknown will be okay, a place where we can be with the ones we love without fear.

So, there you have it. Love is… Hope for a life without Fear.
Or chocolate. Either one.