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  • Writer's picturePaula Wesselmann

What Is Love?

I have thought a lot about love, now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. There are so many interpretations of it. You can’t deny that love is never-ending energy that connects the world and is experienced when we open our hearts to receive its many gifts. When I was younger, romance and the possibility of true love were romanticized, unrealistic at times, but the beauty of its fairytale endings created a delightful longing for its perfection. Love to me now is like a cherished novel. Each time you hold it in your hands, you feel this deep connection to it, and when you turn the pages, you are reminded of the passages that touched your heart. Love is forever growing and changing and just like in a cherished novel, with time, what you thought you understood you now see differently, and new passages appear that you never noticed before that make your heart flutter with their profound beauty and meaning. You notice with a deeper understanding that the simple expressions of love – a smile, a gentle kiss, a touch of the hand, a loving glance – are more romantic than wild love-making and store-bought gifts. How easy it is to lose oneself in the heartfelt words of another. Here is a memorable quote from the historical war novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, a British Novelist. His words ground the true meaning of love. “When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No … don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love, which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”

Here’s another quote that stirred my heart by author Cormac McCarthy from the novel The Road. “Lying under such a myriad of stars. The seas black horizon. He rose and walked out and stood barefoot in the sand and watched the pale surf appear all down the shore and roll and crash and darken again. When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept, and he said if he were God, he would have made the world just so and no different.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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