Alley by the Lake by Leonid Afremov
Thoughts. Feelings. Sparked and felt. Deeply. In the blood. In the head. In the heart.
Topic of a Facebook (yes there is that dirty word again.;) conversation/ debate last night.
Love is not solely a feeling but a very conscious decision that we choose to make. Or not make as the case may be.
We choose to love. We also feel love. But the problem, the words I wrote that perhaps sparked the conversation last night were that I believe to base love only on a feeling is immature and lacks a certain understanding of what it means to truly love another. I don't consider these words offensive. I consider them true.
To feel love is certainly valid and worthwhile. Wildly exhilarating and fun. It's a pleasure and a pain. But feelings fluctuate daily. Feelings can't be relied upon to carry us through the hard stuff. Feelings will fail us in the end. If we place our trust in feelings alone, we place our trust in something that changes constantly.
We excuse ourselves from the hard work of really loving.
To decide to love on the other hand, that is powerful. That is the essence of mature love. To choose to take responsibility for love. To wake up in the morning and not feel in love with ones partner; to feel upset, impatient, or furious with ones child; to truly dislike someone and yet to decide to love them regardless of feeling. To choose to love through action and word because, make no mistake, it is up to us.
Love, the active verb. Love, the challenge. Love, the hardest and yet most rewarding part of living.
Where as if love is only a feeling, nothing more, how very little we have to rely on. We can wake up in the morning then and not feel in love with our partner and so determine based on feeling alone that the spark is gone, it was lovely but now I feel nothing for you, I won't fight for you and our love...I will leave.
Love can be romantic, passionate or calm and peaceful. It can be everything we hope for and long for it to be. But one thing it must be in order to survive, is stronger than whatever we feel it to be. It must be more. It takes the force of will. The determination (sometimes grim determination) to put feelings aside and get down to the gritty, frustrating process of putting love into action.
For our partners. For our children. For our family. For strangers. For those who we genuinely do dislike.
I'd like to share another post with you. I wrote it in when we were in Sri Lanka in the thick of the final stages of our adoption; at the beginning stages of learning to love a little boy who wasn't "ours" biologically. Suspended Time http://thecolorspectrum.blogspot.com/2009/10/suspended-time.html
I believe we all should strive for a broader understanding of love. It's a big issue. :)