LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT. I LOVE, I LOVE NOT
Topic #210: What does love mean to you? What is love? Lust love, unconditional love and platonic love? Love given to you or by you? Lust love is love based on some unknown seed probably planted during our childhood, love at first sight; the stirring in our groins, the sharp sudden infatuation. Lust love is the more fragile of loves. I once cut my long hair, knowing it would distress a lust love and probably end our affair. It was part of what broke up us.
Unconditional love is the love that stays no matter what you do. An African proverb captures unconditional love best in my mind: ” A cow gave birth to a fire: she wanted to lick it, but it burned her; she want to leave it, but it was her child.” You wish to murder, to abandon, to hurt, but you also know the person is part of your heart, mind, and your whole being; the thought of separation for any length of time is like having your heart pulled outside of your body.
I knew such love from my parents, but by the time I was a teen I also was acutely aware of the limitations of that love. My mother was neglectful and emotionally abusive. My first hint of her neglect came when I contracted a second episode of rheumatic fever as a young teen ager. The doctor asked me if about the penicillin I was to take. I replied, “Mother said I didn’t need it anymore..” A look of both horror, pain, and sadness crossed his face. He said nothing to me, but I knew. I didn’t know why she stopped it. Money might have been a problem; however she was much given to her own ideas about health and medicine. I think the good doctor, and he was a good doctor, had a long harsh talk with my mother, for afterwards she saw that I took the pills daily.
I did not feel I had my mother’s unconditional love at any time when she was alive. When she died, I had a spiritual sense that she wrapped herself around me with a blanket of love. This went on for three days, then she slowly withdrew. The strongest sense was that she was letting me know she always loved me and wanted my forgiveness that she hadn’t been able to show it.
On the other hand, I always knew I was the light of my father’s eyes, the darling of his heart, he most beloved child. It didn’t matter that Mom loved my brothers and not me, Dad loved me. Then again when I was a teen we were driving somewhere together through a bad rain storm. We started across a large puddle in a dip in the road. the car stalled and the water started coming in the door. Dad jumped out faster than a greyhound out of the starting gate, leaving me abandoned and stranded. I moved into the driver’s seat, got the car started and backed up to where he stood.
I asked.”How could you leave me?”
He replied, I can’t swim, and you can.”
“No, I can’t.”
We drove home in silence and never spoke of that incident again. I realized several years later that his fears also kept him from stopping my mother’s abuse of me or even discussing them with me. She had premenstrual temper tantrums that usually almost always directed at me probably because I was home and my brothers out playing. I would end up sobbing in my room. Eventually, Dad would come home, come to my room, take me in his arms and carry me down to dinner. Nothing was said about why I was crying.
I knew he loved me, but after he fled the car, I also knew I’d be on my own in some situations as I was with my mother’s abuse; he could comfort but not protect.
So I view unconditional love as always a bit conditional. People do the best they can but sometimes that isn’t enough. To me, unconditional love is keeping the relationship alive. That is what my parents did. Both my parents were there for me in their way and with their limitations, no matter what I did. They loved me as unconditionally as was possible for them. Theodore Reik, a very wise psychiatrist believed maturity was “Forgiving your parents and hoping they have forgiven you.”
Platonic love is more conditional. It is based on shared interests and life experiences. The choice to sever the relationship easier than with blood ties. Lucky marriages are those who have found a combination of lust, platonic, and unconditional love that is loyal to the relationship even during the blackest of times.
All of the above talks about being loved. But there is also loving. Loving is wanting for the other all that you want for yourself and more. Borrowing a thought but not the exact words from a poet , “I love you not for who you are, but for who you make me when I am with you.” My husband’s love has made me more than I could have been without him. I have been blessed by his love and blessed by striving to love him in the same way.
Care, share, and stay strong.