Today I ask that we consider the concept of love. It’s a universal human characteristic; we all want to love and be loved. It may not be as essential as the air we breathe, but it’s close.
Love is a dichotomous entity. It’s neither up nor down, but perhaps a little of both. Love is funny (seriously so) that way.
It is both simple and complex. At times it is tenuous, at others secure. It can generate clarity and cause confusion.
Love can make you weak; at the same time it brings you strength. It can build up walls and tear them down. It requires surrender, but allows you to conquer.
At its best love is beautiful and kind, at its worst ugly and hurtful. It can make you laugh and it can make you cry – sometimes all in the span of less than 10 minutes. It can be playful and fun-loving as well as serious and thoughtful – also within the span of 10 minutes.
Love brings about vulnerability as well as security. Love can make your life safer; it can also create emotional risk.
It can make you needed as well as needy. It can be committed and irresponsible, involve kept promises and broken ones.
Love can make you whole and it can leave you in pieces. It can solve problems and create them.
It can be as exciting as winning the lottery and as comfortable as an old quilt. It can provide you with answers and leave you asking questions. It is mysterious and familiar – all at the same time.
It is knowing what someone is going to order from the menu even before they do. It is a newness that comes each day and defies definition.
It is as thrilling as a first kiss and as tranquil as holding hands after decades together. It is lobster and champagne, hot dogs and beer.
Love can be unexpected and unforeseen, emerging at the least likely of times and sometimes at first sight. It can be as planned and intentional as the growing girth of a baby bump, which can also be at first sight. It is fast and fleeting like a 100-yard dash; likewise it can embody the endurance of a marathon.
Sometimes it is loud and boisterous, other times it lies comfortably silent. It can be as friendly as a Labrador retriever and as aloof as a Siamese cat.
It is a roller coaster and a carousel. It is popcorn and cotton candy.
Love can make you brave and it can lead to fear. It can be wonderful and agonizing, depending on the day and the season you are in.
It can involve the energy required to climb mountains and the laziness of a Saturday afternoon spent binge-watching your favorite Netflix series together.
It makes you ravenous and leaves you full. It fills your heart and inhabits your gut.
Love is the memory of yesterday and the promise of tomorrow.
It is beyond definition, but people (like me) attempt to define it all the time.
People seek love – in each other, in pets, in living things that can return the sentiment. We are wired to desire love and to need it – at least on some level.
The very act of loving makes us feel loved. And perhaps most wondrous of all, love often multiplies itself. Instead of being limited, love is limitless; there’s always room for more of it in our hearts and in our lives.
And that, my friends, is worth contemplating.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.