I find it puzzling and ridiculously annoying that the English language uses only one word to describe about a million different things.
I can love my spouse. I can love my parents. I can love my children, my friends, my pets. I can love God. I can love traveling or writing or cycling or knitting. I can love peanut butter and Netflix.
Yet these are not all the same thing.
Love can be a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb. Love can be used in a healthy way and in a toxic way. Love can be spoken but not meant. Love can be epic or tiny.
This doesn’t make any sense. What is love, anyway?
I am a romantic of the highest caliber, so, to me, love is everything. I have sought after it my whole life, and now that I’ve found it, I am very opinionated about it. So too, I’ve found, is everyone else.
They say, When you know, you know. And I know. I know in my bones, in my gut, in my soul. I have found love. I am in love. I understand the words of the poets; I see a whole new world; I am a better person because I truly love someone who truly loves me.
But there are many people who want to argue that what I have is not love, because I share it with someone of my same sex.
I want to say to these people: If you actually have love and know what it is, how can you deny that I do too, even if it doesn’t look the same as yours? Of course, I can’t just claim that homophobic people don’t have real love in their lives.
I had an interesting conversation with someone recently, if you can call it a conversation that is. Mostly it was me yelling while she responded calmly with her opposing opinions. I asked her to explain why she believes love between two people of the same sex is wrong. Her response was, “Because it ends life.” She believes the whole point of life is to procreate; life wants only to reproduce more life. Homosexuality goes against nature, she says, which is why it is a sin.
At the end of our talk, I still wanted to tear someone’s hair out, but even so, I knew this person was a godsend. I needed to hear someone’s reasons for discriminating against people like me beyond “For the Bible tells me so.” I could argue against her reasoning point by point, but the real point is that we hold different beliefs.
I could never believe that homosexuality is a sin. I believe that love is not limited by anatomy. I believe real love always makes the world a better place. That is a belief that makes me who I am.
We all have beliefs that are tied inextricably to the people we are meant to be. Does that mean that the belief in the unnaturalness of some people’s identities are meant to be?Something deep inside me tells me no. I believe that jam should be spread on a scone before the clotted cream, but that’s not tied to my destiny. There’s a line between opinion and belief, though they too often get confused.
Beliefs go deeper than preference, deeper than what we’ve been taught. Our beliefs are written into make up, and often we don’t even know what they are until we look at them. Some of our beliefs are meant to be various, but some are meant to be shared among us all. And Love is at the heart of all belief. No pun intended.
We’ve reached the stage in our development as a species in which we need to examine the stories and beliefs that make us who we are. This need comes from within us; it is a collective urge for growth. It’s nothing new, of course. Mystics and sages have been doing this for centuries upon centuries, but now in the first world there is a mass movement toward self-examination and self-improvement.
Why? Because now we need more than survival. We need more than comfort. We need more than power. We need love.
So the question still lingers, What is love? Given the plethora of ways we use the word, I think it’s clear that, collectively, we don’t yet know or understand it. When we do, I believe the world will look very different.
Love is a huge part of what we are as humans and who we are meant to be. As we search for love, we are really searching for ourselves. That’s where it begins. With you. With me. With each of us.
Have a look see. In your heart of hearts, what do you believe in? What do you love?