In case you hadn’t heard, I’m on G+ all the fragging time now, and I make a lot of nifty posts over there. Here’s one I thought I should repost here.
Love is a many-splendored thing, as one man said. It’s hard to define and indeed resists definition, which would box it in and perhaps make it both less and more than it is.
In modern times (the only time about which I may speak with any authority), we confuse other emotions, thoughts, reactions, and responses with love. Attraction is not inherently love. Lust is no inherently love. Caring is not inherently love. All of these things partake in and contribute to love, but one alone is not necessarily love.
I would posit that “in love” is not the same as “to love.” “In love” refers to all the things listed above and more, which we seldom have initial control over. We can be attracted to persons we do not love and do not intend “to love.”
I would say that LOVE occurs after we first choose, of our will and minds, to accept love and second begin exploring and permitting all those other aspects in our hearts and bodies. It is an action of the entire being, not of one over or excluding the others. It is not merely a choice or action, for who wants base duty with no affection? It is not merely emotion, which “ever changes in [its] monthly orb,” or a physical response, which reduces the object of love to … well, a mere object.
LOVE requires each of us to give all of ourselves to the one we love. Granted, we must not lose ourselves or give over who and what we are; that is indeed a disservice to our beloved. Mindless obeisance does no one any good. I suggest that most of us would eventually be sick of a lover who was no person in his/her own right. LOVE is both giving and getting.
The order of events is entirely subjective. At one time, we experience intense emotional and/or physical interaction that grows into a conscious choice to become more. At another time, we experience a deliberate shift in thinking that leads to the flowering of affection and physical attraction. Most of the time, we have no idea what the frack is going on.
So my opinion, humble or otherwise, is that LOVE encompasses every part of ourselves. It is a matter of will, mind, heart, and body working together to sustain the ultimate of relationship experiences. It is not a thing to hold lightly, and it is the greatest risk we could possibly take. A time may come when we must distance ourselves from a LOVE because of some circumstance, such as infidelity, abuse, or death. A time may come when we must again chance on LOVE, requiring some injured part of our whole to grow once more.
LOVE is, indeed, many-splendored.
Be sure to read the original discussion on G+.