To the guy on the bench who told me why I love people…

“You love them because they’re about you. You love your children and grand children because it means you don’t really die. You love other people because they make you feel good about you”

Yes, I have heard that legacy discussion about love of family. I get that statement that says people have children to continue their genetics in the world and they love their offspring because they are reflected within them. Basically it’s writing off love to ego and biological imperative. My response: Damn, that’s seriously cynical. I also think not accurate. His thought continues on to imply that all love is simply a narcissistic response to positive input. Again-cynical to the point of painful and terribly unoriginal. He claimed his values came from Buddhism. I call Bologna on his Buddha.

It seems any time someone wants to pop another person’s love balloon this discussion gets trotted out as if it’s the ultimate rational write-off. I think it’s poorly thought out and I also think love is not so much a thinking thing. Thinking is ego. Love comes from somewhere else as mysterious as deep space. No one really knows how it happens. We only know it’s symptoms and side effects.

Parenting is one way of understanding the deepest reservoirs of love, the many fathoms below the surface of rationality.  I did not want to love the children, I did not think of loving them. I held them and looked in their newborn, sightless eyes and felt their hearts beating and I loved them. Magic is so clear and present in the great mystery of love and parenthood. I don’t know how or why but I am certain that Kyra, six and right now the only grandchild, is a truly mystical and epic creature who sets my imagination free every time I breathe her name which is often.

Love is something other than can be chalked up to some instinctive drive. Bench guy–did you never hear that of all the attributes and feelings available, love is the greatest of these? Love makes us smile, cry and animates us into living beings capable of heroism, faith, grace, joy and profound tragedy. Love gives birth to us. When we do not love we are aware that we are not really alive.

Having your heart broken is the PhD of emotional learning and, if you let it, leads to some of the greatest wisdom and benevolence available to the life experience.

Does love contain some ego attachment? If you’re human everything contains some ego attachment but if there is one thing that will help you move past the story of you as told by you which is what ego attachment comes down to–well–it’s also love.

Love is the thing that makes you say through your tears, “I want you to do what makes you happy even if it feels like it’s killing me right now.” Love is what makes you mean those words. Love is what makes us give all we have to another and be sad we can’t find more to give.

Love is running home through the rain for miles with a wildflower pressed to your chest and love is hoping when there is no reason to hope. Love is waking in the night with the dream of the one you love fresh on your lips and leaves you cradling a pillow sobbing your longing. Love is also going to ten stores for the right cupcakes, hearing a song and humming it in your heart all day, and love is sweeping a floor, folding socks, checking the oil and the smile on your face you can’t stop when you see him even if he is not smiling back at you.

Love is simple. Love is complex. Love cures you after it deconstructs you into nothing but a squeaky single board of a foundation and then it builds from you a palace. Love wants and desires and craves until it aches with all its longings and then it releases and watches as all its built and hoped for washes away while it cries and smiles with joy and pain equally held.

Love changes everything. Love is biology–kind of and in part. It is in our nature just as the stars are meant to shine and the sun is meant to warm but does that make any of it less meaningful or beautiful? Of course not. We are blessed that we are wired to love. But it is also not merely wiring. The impulse is there but it is the greater, mysterious, God part of us which answers loves invitation and says, “Yes. Yes I will love you. Yes I know this means that from now on you will matter to me more than I matter to myself. Yes I will love you when it hurts and I will give all that I have and more than I knew I had because I have said yes. Each time I am asked I will say yes. Yes. I love you.”

It is not the ego which forms around such an answer. It is the divinity, the connection we are able to form, the bond we seek and love we choose whenever we are able to have a choice.

So, guy on the bench, go back and re-consider your views on love. Find that courage to connect with what is hurting you and why you have reduced the great mystery to wires in a box and the God within to a mere trifle of ego. I see now that you are in pain. I am remembering that you said your wife has now become your friend, that the intimacy you once shared is past. I missed that part of your hurt until just now. It explains so much. If I see you again I will hug you because the love which binds all of us living creatures compels such a response, because if anyone needs love–I’m thinking it’s you. I’m hoping-guy on the bench-you will find the courage to go back to the yes that brought you to life and that in saying yes to your wife she will remember that she also said it. Sometimes we just forget.


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