I recall the moment I first witnessed the light hit my husband's face. I thought he was the most irresistibly scrumptious creature I had ever had the pleasure of marveling at. I was captivated by his bellowing laugh which projected throughout the entire restaurant, his eyes the color of fresh blades of grass, the way his face flushed each time I gave him a compliment, his long, black eyelashes and the lush eyebrows which framed them perfectly. I was entranced by his delicately-constructed ears and lips which reminded me of fluffy pillows.
My eyes were feasting on the allure of him to a gluttonous degree. I was like a fat kid at a church potluck. His face reminded me of an ancient Roman sculpture, and I likely had a puddle of drool on my chin throughout the duration of our date but was in too deep of a trance state to have noticed. His shyness was the ultimate aphrodisiac. So, indeed, It was instant attraction and connection. It was a chemicals running a triathlon. It was hormones throwing a Mardi Gras. But, love? No, I assure you. Love came later.
Love came when I observed the excitement and satisfaction on his face when he knew he had finally made my coffee "just right," and as he relished in my sound effects which came as a result. Love came when he held me closely and listened intently as I discussed painful, shameful moments from my past. Love came when tears fell from his face and I became enveloped by the beauty of his raw emotion as he discussed the pain of losing his father as a teenager.
And, love just kept coming. It continued to flow; sometimes as a gentle breeze and other times as a gust of wind. Some days were paved with bumpy roads, yet the love continued to grow. Recently, as my husband was petting our dog, Lucy, I jokingly remarked that she appeared to have hearts in her eyes for him. He said to her, "Lucy, I love you. I know you don't know what the word 'love' means, but I know you know what it feels like." It conveyed everything.
Sometimes Hormones Throw A Mardi Gras & We Call It Love...
Love is not the word itself, nor is it the aching desire for it. It is not the addictive exhilaration of being one's ultimate distraction from all other potential suitors. It is not being driven by the desire to conquer and control another's emotions. One may label it 'loving' all day long, profess it from the rooftops and paint it across the sky, but love it is not. Love does not exist in a dark cave of longing and desperation. Those feelings are the offspring of fear.
Love isn't butterflies. Love isn't sexual tension. It isn't chills moving down your spine or being addicted to another's touch. Love isn't drenching your pillow with tears because another person won. Love isn't seeking vengeance when someone breaks your heart. It isn't the rush of emotion you feel when you hear his name. Love isn't the excitement of seeing him wear skinny jeans. Love isn't claiming another person as your personal possession, nor is it caring about someone's behavior to such a degree that you stalk their every move on social media. Love isn't the insatiable desire to be the object of another's desire. It does not come at first sight. Love is not always intoxicating, nor always thrilling. It is not a roller coaster of emotions. It doesn't feel like a freight train. Rather, love is a healer.
Love accepts, skeletons and all. Love does not ask that you compete with another to win its affection. It does not subject you to an obstacle course or ask that you do backflips for it. Love appreciates imperfection because it is energized by its ability to thrive in spite of it. Love does not put anyone under a microscope. Love does not receive satisfaction from another's suffering. Love is relieving. Love is coming back from tragedy. Love is allowing bitterness to flow out of you without reservation.
So, Then, What Does Love Feel Like?
To love is to grow,
to love is to bless.
Never to conquer,
nor to possess.
Love is like a welcoming call back home to a heart heavy from unrest. Love is like a mug of hot chocolate, the size of your head, after coming in from a snowy blizzard. Love feels like a comforting, fluffy bubble bath that produces an infinite supply of hot water. Love is like a pumpkin spice latte on the first day of fall after a "no carb," caffeine-free summer. Love is like a onesie, fresh from the dryer, in the middle of winter or, perhaps, the first sip of water after a sweaty run in the blistering heat. Love is like the feeling of sand beneath your feet after having not visited the beach for far too long. Love is like the sunset that calls for you to pull over to the side of the road because it is too beautiful and entrancing not to capture. Love is life-giving.
Love is when I hear the sweet pitter patter of my dachshund moving across the hardwood floor, or when I observe the impression her paws create on my yoga mat. Love is the inability to control her bodily movements when I return home after hours of having been away. It is as though her tail is connected to her heart. Love is the heart-warming sight of her furry feet peeking out from under the comforter in the morning. Love is the expression on my father's face when he shares the experience of feeding me my first bottle.
Love is the laughter through my tears when I think about my grandfather and recall the stories he repeatedly shared with my family until the day he passed away. No, actually, love is the laughter through the tears but also the tears as well. It only hurts because the love was so abundant, so special and is so gut-wrenching to miss. Love is all of those things, but not limited to those things. Love is everywhere -- all around you waiting for you to take off your mask, put your weapons down, hold out your hand and capture whenever you choose to.
Stop fighting it, and just immerse yourself in it. Swim in it. See it, receive it, give it and be it.
I'm just being honest.
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