|Love is friendship afire.|
-- Paraphrased from many Lovers
Give yourself to love if love is what you're after.
-- Kate Wolf
My love for you doesn't begin with me.
The Subject of Love
Growing up in the days of father knows best, one heard much of love's object. The object of desire. The objectification of women. The objectification of men. Of the world and all who dwell within it.
We were putting a man on the moon. Fusing hydrogen. Discovering the joy of plastic. A TV in every house and a car in every garage. Conquering nature.
Objectivity was a virtue; subjectivity an embarrassment.
She's a redhead or blonde. He drives a jag. She's svelte or sturdy. He's a hunk or reliable. She'll shine at parties. He'll go far. Good mother. Good father.
So many of those relationships based on objective virtues - whatever they may be - seem formal. Going shopping, dressed up in cinematic trappings of swelling music, clever banter and soft lighting... hiding what's missing. I think there was love there at its best, but only of a sorts. I believe we have a better chance today. At least we're talking.
But we're not so very far down the road from all that.
A more subtle form of object love: many come to believe that love originates in the lover. That love must be earned. That one must be worthy before one can be truly loved.
But love is a reaction, I believe, to whom we love. It is the loved one who ignites us. It's personal.
We can open ourselves to love. Work to remove obstacles to it. Cultivate the ground for it. Even pursue it when it finds us. It can only find us through some special one who ignites love within us.
Myself, I'm no great reservoir of love, waiting to spill upon the worthy. On the contrary, I'm just this guy, see? On my own it's just a plod along the slow passage from cradle to grave.
But when the living subject of love comes into our lives - a particular person - we are kindled in love despite all objection. My god, we are set afire! We awaken and feel it in every burning ember of our souls. It is who they are - not what they are - that enflames us.
Subjective as hell. Subjective as heaven.
Happy Valentine's Day!