It seems that real love is something that we can touch, but rarely grasp. Sometimes it visits us in massive surges that effortlessly sweep over us and leave us utterly breathless in the aftermath. At other times love dissipates into some thin and sparse pool that is barely deep enough to dip the tip of our fingers in. And at yet other times it appears to completely disappear altogether, leaving us languishing for the lack of it and caught up in some wildly desperate search for it.
Love is one of those things that is in us, but not of us. Therefore we are helplessly subject to it, but it is not subject to us in any way. Indeed, love is the essential food of our soul and despite our incessantly desperate hunger for it, it will not be held, it cannot be stockpiled, it doesn’t refrigerator well, it heeds no command of ours, and it refuses to be anything other than what it is.
Yet despite all of that, we vigorously work to conceptualize it so as to exercise some control over it, and we construct clean definitions to rein it in. We attempt to lend a softness to it by creatively articulating it, we craft elegant prose to grant it an artistic air, we write scripts that give it space to run untethered, and we pen poetry to let words sweeten it just a bit. We mull it over in our heads and we vigorously work it through in our hearts. We seek it in relationships, and we would love to have it for ourselves. And yet despite all of our efforts to exert even the slightest element of control over it, love is staunchly its own and therefore we must engage it on its terms alone. If we persist in attempting to either manage it or manufacture it, we will be left entirely without it.
Why So Little of Love?
It may be that we have so little of love in our lives because we assume our ability to manage it, or manufacture it, or both. Our humanity possesses this inherently debilitating need to control everything around it. It is in our core nature to be the master of our domains and absolute ruler of our universes. This incessant behavior is much less about some unbridled passion for control. Rather, it is primarily driven by our rampant fear of pain. This need for control rests in the deceptively errant assumption that if we can control our circumstances we can summarily steer clear of anything that would cause pain. And out of this fear-based desire to control, we far too frequently demand that this elusive thing we call love also bend itself to our control by adhering to our prose, our scripts and our poems. However, if we attempt to bend love we will most certainly break it, and in the breaking we are broken … yet again.
Yet in the face of this desire for control, we live within this chafing dichotomy of desperately wishing we could relinquish control to someone who would love us with such perfection that we might be able to fully rest in the total security of that love. We want someone to make us safe; someone to come ‘round about us on all sides and perfectly insulate us from anything that would serve to harm us. We desperately want to relinquish control so that we might actually have the love that we yearn for. Yet, we remain insanely fearful of letting go out of the fear that love might turn on us. And in the end, fear demands that we control love. And love controlled was never love in the first place. Sadly, our search for love was once again sabotaged by our desire to control it.
Maybe we don’t feel love because we’ve not released control of our lives in order that love might be released within us. Maybe our worlds are void of love because our demand to control has voided love. We invite it in but on our terms and under our conditions, and those are invitations love simply cannot accept.
And so, let’s quit trying to conceptualize love so as to exercise some control over it. Let’s stop constructing clean definitions to rein it in. May we cease our attempts to soften it by creatively articulating it. May we restrain ourselves from crafting elegant prose to grant it an artistic air. May we cease writing the scripts that give it space to run untethered within our confines. And may we refuse to pen poetry to let words sweeten it just a bit. May we cease all of our attempts to make love what we want it to be out of our fear of what it might actually be.
Instead of doing all of these things, may we surrender control so that we might be able to surrender to love. May we surrender so that we might be swept up in the warmth of its surges and be tantalized when we dip our finger into its pools. And out of these most marvelous encounters may we intimately understand what it is in ways that would be impossible to do in any other way. Once we’ve done that and have finally tasted the essence of love, let’s write our definitions, creatively articulate it, craft our prose, write our scripts, and pen our poetry because it will then be our celebration of love rather than our attempt to control it. And such a celebration is wildly marvelous indeed.