Some years ago, I was an avid online chatter. During my travel for work, I found many virtual friends and even had a relationship with an English gentleman that I had met via the Internet. Some of you reading this may understand while others of you may find the notion of a romance started over the Internet to be preposterous. I offer no defense as that is not the reason for this article.
The most important question I received about that relationship came from well-meaning family members and friends. “How do you know it’s true love?”
I was unable to answer without sharing with them what “I” felt true love was not. I did not feel it was a “person” and still do not feel that way. The following statements have different meanings, to me:
A. I found my true love.
B. I found true love.
I believe true love exists. Therefore, for me, there is such a thing . If the next person believes it doesn’t exist, therefore for them, there isn’t such a thing.
To me, true love is being there. Where? In a place found in your heart, mind, body, and soul. The heart knows; the mind is renewed; the body follows; then the soul rests when cocooned in this invisible realm. A realm that causes you to desire a monogamous relationship. Where you accept and love everyone unconditionally. In a relationship, two people must be ‘there’ together, or it will not be sustainable for one person alone.
I was then asked, “How do you know it’s love and not lust? Couldn’t you just be infatuated with this man because of his accent?” Of course I laughed at the notion of a fully-grown, always have been responsible woman, being infatuated and their obvious concern. They could have had a point on the accent but I say that in jest! While it is true, I find an English accent to be quite sexy and romantic, I would not base matters of the heart on something I considered very shallow. What I did was define, what I felt, were the differences between love and lust or infatuation.
Love is unconditional. It keeps no record of right or wrong. It forgives easily and never expects someone to be perfect or what you want them to be. It allows for individuality and idiosyncrasies. It causes you to remain monogamous and keep commitments. It culminates with sacred vows and is consummated when two become one. It knows it takes work to maintain a relationship. It will remind you of the passion of your earlier times and causes you to understand the passion in latter times. It endures. It’s like your favorite pair of jeans and sweater. You never want to be without them but you know they need to be laundered or dry-cleaned. Care must be given to love.
Lust or infatuation? Fun! But only temporarily. Will cause you to lie and cheat without a moment’s hesitation. It’s conditional and quite selfish. It works as long as conditions are met. It “feels” good to the body but the mind actually knows better. It keeps a record of every wrongdoing. It gives and never forgets. It takes and never remembers. It’s a means to an end. It can not be maintained long-term. The luster wears away. Someone takes flight, sooner than later because no bonds are formed. It’s like wearing scrubs or some other type of uniform every day to work when you’d rather be in your trusty ole jeans and sweater.
There are many definitions given when asked to define love. It is not easy for some and very easy for others. Here are a few definitions given by children ages 4, 7 and 8. I think you will be surprised at the depth and scope of their understanding of love.
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
With total disregard for the Englishman’s accent, I knew my name was safe in his mouth. I did not worry about sitting in his flat in London listening to what I heard when I stopped opening presents on Christmas morning.
Copyright © 2007 Avis Ward of AWard Consulting, LLC