Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You : What is it, to love?

From chapter eighteen

They were sleeping under the overpass along highway seventy when a tap came at the front window. A friendly highway patrolman was checking out the vehicle. He also made sure its inhabitants hadn’t gotten stranded or frozen to death. They actually didn’t mind the intrusion, since they understood its intentions. “It’s good to know the Kansas Highway Patrol won’t let people freeze to death,” Lewis chuckled to the officer. They decided to pick up with the daylight and move on.

“Do you think,” he mused, after half an hour of silence, “that if you really loved someone, or think you loved someone, that in a way, you always do?”

“Well, it’s not like being ‘in love’ with that person always,” said Gina, “since they have to love you back. But that’s a thing about love, itself. When your heart is full of love, and you don’t cloud your thinking with negativity, you can love your memories. Maybe you always love the spirit of the person, if that’s what you mean.”
“Yes,” he replied, “like some kind of …connection? Maybe just, some kind of emotion, endures. It just might not be the one you focus on as much, if the person’s gone from your life.”

“I never loved anyone, romantically, as I do you,” she said.

“I never loved anyone else as much as I love you,” he said. “it’s like, the way I loved anyone up until you came into my life…if you took all those loves combined, that’s more like how I feel about you. Maybe, every way I ever loved anyone, all those ways, I love you, too.”

“I never fell in love with anyone before you,” she said. “I tried. I wanted it to happen. I opened myself to let it happen. But I never loved anyone, besides my family and friends, the way I love them, as I love you.”

“I used to tell girls I loved them,” he said, brightening his lights. “I thought I really did. I always had so much further to go, as a person. I’m sure, in ways I don’t even guess, I still do! I at least meant to love them. I loved falling in love. I loved trying to put another person’s happiness first. I will still be trying to do that one. You made it so easy, honey.”

“As do you. Maybe you loved your love of them?”

“Maybe that is what was. A kind of love of self, an affection for one’s own emotions, for that opening, for that ability to center one’s thoughts on a person.”

“That could also qualify as infatuation.”

“I just know that love is about what you give of yourself, as well as what you feel for a person.”

“Were you thinking about Cheryl?”

“You can see right through me! I was broadening it to mean anyone, but yes, she crossed my mind. I guess, in the end, even if she turned away from me---even if it never meant to her what I thought it meant to me---my thoughts of her are still affectionate. But she hasn’t reached back to me in a very long time. I had to learn to love myself, that part of me that always tried to reach out to another person. I had to keep it for myself, like a witness, like enjoying my own company in a way I never had.”

“Well, when you let someone into that deep inner peace, you’re trying to love them as you do yourself.”

“I don’t know how often I really had that inner peace before. Maybe from music and when reading, and if I ever sat down to write. But I never did much with it before. I never used it to make things I could share with others---unless you count homework or something.”

“If all you love is yourself, and you don’t understand how anyone else really feels---if you can’t grasp their pain---then maybe you don’t love yourself, the part of you that loves, like you should. And you can never really be good for anyone else. Maybe you even sell your own love short, if you won’t let yourself open up that way. When we see ourselves through another’s love” said Gina, “we become aware of ourselves. What we gain from seeing our love affect another person’s life, I think, is another special dimension of being alive. It’s where we grow.”
“Yeah,” he responded. “We are still doing something that increases love, that spreads a new experience. It’s not exactly selfish, but it does something for ourselves that we could never know, without giving that love away.”

“That’s where trust comes in,” said Gina. “That’s where we give something of ourselves away, something that at the time we can’t really do without, but we give it, because we care that the other person has it.”

“But we give it anyway,” he said, “not because we know it will come back, but because it is our nature. If we give it to someone who doesn’t love us the same way back, or even at all, we will miss it terribly. But we can’t regret it. We’re trying to make the world a better place, and life, less lonely.”

“If it makes us appreciate our lives more deeply, in the long run,” she said, “we can’t feel bad about it, like if we had spread hatred, or felt indifference. Though if we are giving away our love in the wrong direction, no matter how sincerely…we may need a kind of indifference.”

“I’m glad I can tell you this,” he said. “It might seem wrong to feel anything, for anyone else. But it’s more a part of the way I think of her---or anyone---and it’s part of why my actions to you can be loving.”

“Sometimes anger or hatred towards another person has a way of following us home,” she agreed, “and it’s always a part of the inner life we choose to build. We make the world of our mind.”

“I think it really helps you accept the present, to see it creatively,” he said. “It makes your mind a place of nurture and insight. It strengthens you to think for yourself, rather than just trying to fit in without ever knowing what you are about. It makes personal bonds, deeper. It’s easier to get swept up in the indifference others feel, or even how clueless they may be in their concern for their own life, or their own ability to love.”

“It gives you something personal that you can’t buy,” she said. “And those are the things I live for, more than anything else.”
“I live to experience life, to have a unique presence in the passing days, and to see what others dream about, and to have a dream I can share with people I sometimes don’t even know.”
“Those are wonderful things,” she said. “And I live to love you. And maybe, to love more one day.”
“It doesn’t seem like there could be more love than what we feel now,” he said. “But if there is, we will find it. We will find it in the way we share it. I wonder how much of this feeling we already share with others, and how personally we may love anyone else, someday.

It’s our little piece of Eternity, that makes pain and suffering and death okay…that makes them not too much to bear, to replace fear with perception. The world is troubled, but all we have has come to be, from love, nurturing, and processes. No matter how miserable we feel, we were given some kind of love to bring us this far.”
He took her hand. “And how ever far we go? I live to love you, too.”

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