A few days ago I had a very interesting conversation with a friend, which went like this:
Friend: What is love?
Friend: Define love.
Me: Ok what is your assignment on?
Friend: It’s not an assignment, I’m asking you to define love.
Friend: I’m asking everyone to define it as they see it.
Me: But I don’t see it.
As enlightening as our conversation was, it made me wonder if my friend was on to something, if she would actually be able to find something that could help clarify what love really is.
I decided to analyze my own thoughts, ideas and emotions associated with love to come up with some form of operational definition that I could quote whenever someone asks me what love is.
I realized that I don’t think of love simply as a happily ever after with prince charming. When I think of love, I find myself entering the peaceful land of Mindopia, galloping across the grassy plains of synapses on the back of thoughts, racing through cities of knowledge, towns of skills and villages of speculations, and then slowly entering the realm of Love, passing over the drawbridge of affection.
The museum in this kingdom is where my love for history, mythology and archaeology reside. In the central library my love for reading is imprinted onto each book on the shelves that I have had the privilege to read. In the beloved amphitheatre the spectators are all the great movies and plays I have watched. In the opera house are seated all the songs that I love. In the grand banquet hall the tables are laden with all the food I love, the kitchens roaring with the noise of activity that would only cease the day I stop cooking for pleasure. The marketplace is where I find the knickknacks I love to put together as DIY projects; also bolts of cloth that I love sewing into dresses.
There is the fair in the town center where I see all the games I love to play and roller coaster rides I managed to survived. Monopoly has its own pedestal here actually. There is a gallery whose walls are covered in all the scribbles I made while calling them art, and all the masterpieces by maestros that made an impression on me. The gallery opens out to a sea dotted with ships sailing away to distant lands, the grooves on their hull etched with my love for travel and exploration.
Far away on a hill stands a magnificent castle in all its glory, the path to which leads through a thick jungle where my love for nature comes alive. As I carve my way to its doors, I feel the castle walls humming with my love for my home.
I enter the great hall filled with humanity, the people of my generation, of those before us, of those yet to come to this earth, the proud creation of God that is the homosapien. I turn to the east wing and am welcomed by all my friends thronging the corridors; the doors on the sides leading to rooms allotted to only those who are still close to me, those special few whose friendship has enriched my life, that precious bond I cherish so much.
I turn back to enter the west wing and am enveloped in the warm embrace of my family, bonded by blood so much thicker than water, my relatives roam freely in the corridors, clinking glasses and laughing with twinkling eyes as they share gossip while tracing the nodes on the family tree tapestry still in the making. I run my hands over the walls lined with doors where each of my closest family member lives; my siblings with their cavernous bed chambers, their children’s rooms filled with every toy imaginable. My parents’ abode is high up in my palace of love, filled with every luxury I could provide in my limited imagination, a never ending space pulsing with love that I feel for them running through my veins. They are here, happy and content, proud of me and my achievements. Perhaps this is all that I need.
I walk on to the north wing, a long winding passage with hidden alcoves and dark niches. Feeling my way through towards warmth and light I stand before the doors of trust, respect, security and loyalty. Once I unlock these doorways I will find my soulmate waiting on the other side in a place I will call home. Through the windows of maternal sacrifice I glimpse the nurseries where I can feel my love for my unborn children washing over every little thing I put there myself. In this place I will live and die. Happy, comfortable, satisfied.
But then I see a great expanse behind my castle, rolling meadows and green grass; I walk through them for days and end up at stone steps that stretch endlessly upwards disappearing into the clouds; I climb them for weeks till I reach the summit of the mountain range that touches the heavens. Here day and night is one, the sun, the moon, the stars, and all celestial bodies blanket the twilight sky, there is no horizon, just a kaleidoscope of colors and light. There is nur that surrounds me, a peace that descends upon me in the silence, an isolation that is not lonely. Here I feel the love for God. It demands everything from me and gives me everything back and more a hundred times over, it is all encompassing, it is indescribable.
This is love. All of it in all its form. All that I feel for every thing and every being that matters to me.
But somehow I still cannot define it.