What is Love

 I wrote this post some time ago actually for my personal blog. It seemed an appropriate post here. Ryan and I are no longer dating but the sentiments here are still applicable.

What is Love? I find myself pondering that question alot lately.

I was 14 years old when my little sister Esther was born. The birth was rather traumatic and my mom was not really in a condition to care for her for awhile. I kind of became her mother. By the time Mother was able to care for her Esther just preferred me for alot of things. One of which was putting her to bed. Each day when she went down for her nap I would take her and rock her to sleep and sing to her. One of her favorites was an old John Denver love song called Perhaps Love.
“Perhaps love is like a resting place A shelter from the storm It exists to give you comfort It is there to keep you warm And in those times of trouble When you are most alone The memory of love will bring you home
Perhaps love is like a window Perhaps an open door It invites you to come closer It wants to show you more And even if you lose yourself And don’t know what to do The memory of love will see you through
Oh, Love to some is like a cloud To some as strong as steel For some a way of living For some a way to feel And some say love is holding on And some say letting go And some say love is everything And some say they don’t know
Perhaps love is like the ocean Full of conflict, full of pain Like a fire when it’s cold outside Thunder when it rains If I should live forever And all my dreams come true My memories of love will be of you”
Everytime I would sing that song to her I felt sad when I sang the words “some say they dont know” because I felt like that was me. I felt like I had never really experienced love and therefore didnt know what it was. I was mentally going over those words in my head the other day and realized that while I have experienced love of many kinds I still fall into that category of those who just dont know.
When I was younger I thought that Love was falling so madly and passionately in love with someone that you would do anything for them, that they become your everything and you would fight to the death for them. I dreamed of a Knight in Shining armor coming to rescue me from the injustices of childhood and whisking me away to some faraway land of adventure where I would never again ask for permission and where he would stand with me in a field of flowers and watch the sunset as the wind blew gently through my hair.
When I got a little older I was intrigued by the idea that “true love” is about giving not taking, and I saw myself dying for the man I loved. I especially loved the idea that love is letting go. Its loving enough to let them go and when you do they come back.
As I entered my twenties I decided to put childishness behind me and realize that love is a feeling that grows between two people who have lived and sacrificed together and devolped a quiet peaceful feeling of togetherness and home and that that was what true love was. I decided that love is something that grows not something that is born.
At one point there was a guy I knew. He was kind and sweet, we spent every free moment together, we had adventures, we sat together quietly and just talked for hours or watched movies, we served each other, played together and I cared alot for him. I knew that he wanted our relationship to be more than what it was but I just didnt feel anything else toward him. I told myself to just try it and that it didnt matter if I felt those kinds of feelings toward him because love could grow. But I couldnt bring myself to do it. There just wasnt a spark there. I wondered if I was immature.
More recently I met another guy, we went on several dates and I realized that here was a good man. He too was kind and sweet, funny and a good listener, he was open and easy to take to, he was comfortable and we seemed to have alot in common. He worked in the temple, was a ballroom dancer, grew up on a farm with lots of brothers and sisters, he loved to sing and play the piano. He made me feel beautiful and smart. He seemed to have it all. And he was good looking to boot! …and I loved him like I love my roommates. I hoped for the best for his future, I hoped we would stay in touch and be friends but once again there just wasnt a spark there. I began to wonder if my immaturity and false idea of what love was would cost me ever having one at all.
All I really had to go on was a dream that I had as a young girl where I had felt really and truly in love with someone. It was a feeling unlike anything I had ever known but I knew that it was a feeling that was worth waiting for and I promised myself I wouldnt settle for anything short of that feeling. So I was holding out.
One day I went on a date with a guy I often refer to as Ryan. I didnt really know him. I thought he was cute, and something about him had caught my eye but that was about all. We sat there in our seats watching the 4th of july fireworks and he turned and said something to me and suddenly I was flooded with a feeling that I remembered well from my dream but that I had almost given up hope of ever feeling. I didnt understand why I was feeling love for a guy that I didnt know. It hadnt “grown” like I had thought it would have to. It just was suddenly there. Ryan was easy to be with. The first and only guy I had ever gone out with where it didnt feel at least a little bit like work. It was easy and comfortable to be with him and yet there were fireworks like I had never before experienced. Let me tell you about Ryan.
Ryan is not dashing and chivalrous, in fact more often than not he forgets (or just doesnt think its important) to open my door for me. He is not tall dark and handsome. He is not the daring, sweet and somewhat dangerous cowboy like Bill Radnor, (the cowboy I first fell in love with from the book Home Mountain). In fact not only is he a city boy through and through but he is also allergic to horses! Ryan is not the type to pick flowers for my hair, and to rescue me from anything really. ( I think he would much prefer it if I could rescue myself)
Yet I love him as I never knew it was possible to love. You know how you never lose patience with your self because you trust yourself to do your best. You never worry about what path you will take because you trust your own ability to reason and make decisions. I trust Ryan that way. I always wondered how I would trust someone enough to put my life in his hands but I do. I know his heart and I trust in the goodness that I see there. I know he will make mistakes just as I will and I know I wont always agree with him but I trust the person that he is. I love how the differences between us broaden my perspective. How when he talks politics to me I learn so much about things that aren’t normally apart of my realm of thinking. How his open casual way of talking challenges my own self perceived honesty. I love how much fun we have together and how when he smiles really big his eyes crinkle at the corners. I love his sense of humor and how we can talk for hours and never run out of things to say. How being with him just feels right and how after over a year of dating it still gives me butterfly’s in my stomach when he holds my hand. I love how he is the first person that I want to share anything with.
Ive always heard and believed that the person you love will bring out the best in you. I believe Ryan does but not in the way I expected. I have seen my flaws more clearly as I have dated him and I have learned and grown immensely in patience, in faith, in honesty and confidence. I have learned to trust, I have learned to risk and through it all I have learned to love. Love has grown between Ryan and I. I have come to feel that when I am in his arms I feel that old feeling of coming home after a long trip and seeing the familiar white fence that meant I was home. It feels like both the powerful passionate feelings I anticipated as a child, the selfless desire for anothers happiness over my own that I believed in as a teenager and the gentle, peaceful love I thought would grow when I was in my twenties. Now at the ripe old age of thirty Ive determined that I still dont know what love is and its ok because whatever it is it has exceeded all my expectations and met all my needs in one way or another. Perhaps, love really is everything.

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