I have been thinking a lot about love lately. Some of my questions are the following; what is it? Is it important? Does it change over time? As we age? Is it limited? Is it innately good? Does it require reciprocity to be real?
Here are my answers in order: a certain type of close connection, yes, sure, depends, to some degree, eventually. I hope this was helpful to anybody else who was also wondering about these things.
The Greeks had four words that I am familiar with to describe love. I am not interested in formal definitions, but it is interesting that we only have one word. Maybe I should say I only have one, usually reserved for describing a day spent smoking ribs, drinking beer, and watching or listening to a game. In Kansas City, this is considered more of a sacred ritual than a past time. As a city, we don’t insist that all people love sports and barbeque. If you’re not into the town’s teams you can play music and eat barbeque. If you’re not into barbeque, you can have intestinal problems of some type or be one of the allowed vegans to show we are up to date. I will admit we have an increasing number of sushi eaters. Fads, what can you do? It is the perfect city for a guy like me who likes people, just not too many. In my case, throat cancer and not totally unrelated dental problems have turned my devotion to ribs into more of an arduous task than a labor of love. It is the memory of drinking beer and eating ribs that I am still in love with. The sensual pleasure I use to get no longer exists. A phrase I frequently heard and consistently rebelled at when I was at Mayo, was, “you have to get used to a new normal”. It takes a certain kind of person to make “don’t either have to” sound like a well-reasoned argument. I believe I did.
When trying to figure out what love is we need to ask how much of love contains reason. At what points do they intersect or do they intersect at all. Love is a topic I want to explore over several installments. I like the word explores. It fills my mind with images of wandering in a strange wilderness not knowing what mystery I might uncover. Maybe, I will try and remember what different kinds of love used to feel like and mean. Lately, I find the imagery for exploring works for remembering.
I will leave you with one final question, is love everywhere or hard to find?