Unattached people, in particular, think about the meaning of romantic love every February 14. As you know, the lover’s holiday has been a focal point of my posts this week. From my entertainment background, I know this is a good “hook,” an annual opportunity to wax rhapsodic on a ritual.
As the underlying theme of my thinking this week, I’ve found myself spinning off into reveries related to other kinds of love. Yesterday, two experiences sent me off thinking about love differently. I watched Whitney Houston’s “Comin’ Home” and Emilio Estevez’s movie “The Way.” These experiences propelled me toward the complex network of feelings, actions, experiences, and understandings of love. As I wandered through this maze, I wondered if all of this was love or, if there is a way to define it at all.
Why did I tune into the Houston send off? I’m not religious. But for me, music is a spiritual experience—it is there that I pay respect and honor to that which I do not know or understand but believe is the pervasive good in the Universe. That Whitney would have a “Goin’ Home” service drew me. The passion and theatrics of the Baptist tradition fascinate me. Gospel music digs through the depths of my soul, loosens any feeling stuck to the bottom, pulls it to the top, and sets it free. The physical manifestation of and sheer abandon to gospel music is contagious. Like a powerful wave, it sweeps you up and lifts you to the crest. When I sang with Cincinnati’s MUSE Women’s Choir last year, we performed a rendition of “The Storm is Passing Over.” Detroit Mass Choir has a magnificent version. Each time we performed it, tears welled. Emotion unconsciously pushed my limbs and a sway took over. This rush of emotion and joy is ecstasy. This is love. Right?
“I Will Always Love You”
I expected heartfelt tributes, but had a new respect for Kevin Costner after hearing him speak. He spoke with affection, humor, and understated emotion about the small stories of experiences shared and childhood similarities that bonded them. Funny missteps that exemplified the fragility of both. A rare understanding that builds unlikely, unusual bridges of trust and loyalty. And, I thought, this too, is love.
Love and The Way.
After two and a half hours of leave taking, I looked for diversion. Instead, I found “The Way.” Dear friend, Ray, had recommended Emilio Estevez’s movie starring his father, Martin Sheen. I was plunged into another 90 minutes probing the complications of leave taking and love along the Camino de Santiago. Extracting love as family obligation, as the destiny of a parent. Love for a reason, season, and life time. Love as acceptance and tribute — and a legacy that, even in a person’s absence, can lead to transformation. Pain. This is love, too, isn’t it?
Love and what I want from you?
Is there a more confusing concept than love? After a week of contemplation, I am clear about one thing. I am unclear. I understand the characteristics I equate with love. Is it that subjective? Or is there truly a universal standard?
What do you think?
Though I always encourage your comments and participation. This time my sole reason for posting is to provoke active participation in this discussion. Maybe, it is as Britain’s Prime Minister says in the movie “Love Actually”:
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.
Please tell me much more about what love is to you.
First, here is a sample of who/what I love: I love my family; my dog; my neighbors; sunsets; nature; artwork; crisp, clean air; how I think; good food; live music; theater. To me, all are beautiful. I am able to look with a blind eye and cherish them for what they are and more. And I never, ever want that to change. Love is having that sixth sense. Of forgetting about less desirable things, if at least momentarily. It is feeling warm and good, and feeling that the universe is likewise sharing this with you.