Is Love a Choice?
"I believe love is primarily a choice and only sometimes a feeling. If you want to feel love, choose to love and be patient."
- Real Live Preacher
What better time to muse on the topic of Love than the month of February? There seem to be as many definitions of love as there are human beings, and there are many cultural differences in its expression. Though often used in similar context, love is more intense than like. For example, in the United States of America, we use the word love to express many things such as desire-I'd love to see you; appreciation- I love it when you sing; making love- I won't go into that here; devotion-I love taking care of you.
And now I borrow from Wikipedia a bit of information:
Ancient Greeks identified four forms of love; kinship or familiarity - Storge, friendship- Philia, sexual and/or romantic desire- Eros, and self-emptying or divine love-Agape. A core concept of Confucianism is Ren ( benevolent love ) which focuses on duty, action and attitude in a relationship rather than love itself. In Chinese Buddhism, the term Ai was adopted to refer to a passionate caring love and was considered a fundamental desire. In Buddhism, Ai was seen as capable of being either selfish or selfless, the latter being a key element towards desire. Christians believe that to Love God with all your heart, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in love. The greatest commandment of the Jewish Torah as summarized by St. Augustine is "Love God, and do as thou will." In Hebrew, Ahava is the most commonly used term for both interpersonal love and love between God and God's creations. Chesed, often translated as loving-kindness, is used to describe many forms of love between human beings. God in Sufism is referred to in three terms, which are the Lover, Loved and Beloved.
The romantic in me likes to think that true love exists. The kind of love that takes over the steering wheel and drives the car to its own destination. It is beautiful when it is mutual. When each person finds joy by pleasing the other. This kind of love encompasses trust and lust, commitment and devotion, satisfaction and security. True lovers are content just to be together. They can find more joy sharing a meal at McDonalds than true likers can in elegant surroundings because it is not the surroundings that fuel the love ( though nice surroundings certainly cannot hinder the experience ). It is the magical feeling of having a twin soul. Someone who cares for you unconditionally. Someone who is there for both the good times and bad. A partner. There is a mutual understanding, general appreciation and adoration, and of course deep respect. There is always something to share- an idea, a meal, a problem, a kiss. There is something almost electrical in the air when the Beloved is near- Chemistry. And after Chemistry- Biology resulting in Genealogy .
But how does this Love happen exactly? Some people seem to-please excuse the triteness- fall into and out of love frequently. I think Love is the wrong term for this sequence of intense relationships. There is a better word for this, and it is infatuation. Very different from True Love. I believe that when we are young, we often confuse infatuation for Love. How would we know the difference? But with age comes experience and wisdom. Looking back on earlier relationships I now realize they were simply infatuations. There is no present desire or longing to see these previous princes ( and a few frogs too!) Maybe a bit of curiosity to see how they have aged, but that is about all. I believe True Love is Eternal. Once it occurs, it cannot be extinguished. The Beloved becomes a part of the Lover which cannot be separated by death or distance.
But does Love find us or do we find it? In some cultures, marriages are arranged by the parents. What if there is no Chemistry? Then the Biology happens and then the result of it which is children. In order to have a pleasant life people in this situation have to choose to love each other. And I believe as the preacher said in the opening quote that if we want to feel Love, then we need to choose Love and be patient.
Happy Valentine's Day I hope you choose to be sweet!
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1/4 cup milk
3 cups raspberries
Confectioners' Sugar for dusting
1. Preheat over to 350º degrees F. Butter a 9-inch gratin dish. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Whish in the eggs, butter, and lemon zest until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the gratin dish and top with the raspberries.
2. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.
A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
Love is an emotion experienced by the many and enjoyed by the few.
-George Jean Nathan
Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible- it cannot be seen or measured, yet powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.
-Barbara de Angelis
Love is a game that two can play and both win.
True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen.
-Francois de la Rochefoucauld
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
To love another person is to see the face of God.
-Victor Hugo Les Miserables
It's an unexplainable feeling, an expression. It's a touch, it's a feel. Once you feel it, it's like no other thing in the world.
Love is the idler's occupation, the warrior's relaxation, and the sovereign's ruination.
Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.
Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everyone else.
-George Bernard Shaw
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
Love is the greatest refreshment in life.
We love because it's the only true adventure.
You know it's love when you want to keep holding hands even after you're sweaty.
Love is a flower that grows in any soil, works its sweet miracles undaunted by autumn frost or winter snow, blooming fair and fragrant all the year, and blessing those who give and those who receive.
-Louisa May Alcott Little Men
There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you-of kindness and consideration and respect- not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable.
Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.
-Mitch Albom Tuesdays with Morrie
Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.
Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as it can be obtained.
One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that your presence and absence both mean something to someone.
Love can turn a man into a beast. But love can also make an ugly man handsome.
-The Beast ( Jean Marais ) Beauty and the Beast
We accept the love we think we deserve.
-Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.
-Neil Gaiman The Sandman Chronicles
Love never dies a natural death.
They do not love that do not show their love. The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but love.
-William Shakespeare Love's Labours Lost
The one you love and the one who loves you are never ever the same person.
-Chuck Palahniuk Invisible Monsters
Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you never can tell.
The heart was made to be broken.
You can suffer without love, but you can't love without suffering.
I would die for you. But I won't live for you.
-Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Love is so short. Forgetting is so long.
There are a thousand miseries in one love.
What is love? I have met in the streets a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat was worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.
It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.
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Happy Birthday Shirli & Shirley!
Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.
It is good to love many things, for therein lies the truth strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.
- Vincent Van Gogh
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky.
The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth the delight, the ecstacy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed.
Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
-William Goldman, The Princess Bride
What's the earth with all its art, verse, music, worth- compared with love, found, gained, and kept?
Everything I understand, I understand only because I love.
In true love it is the soul that envelops the body.
Till I loved I never lived- enough.
For someone like me who is obsessed with organization and planning, I love the idea that love is the one exception to that. Love is the one wild card.
For chances are that at some point along the line you will hold in your hands another person's heart. There is no greater responsibility on the planet. However you contend with this fragile organ, which pounds or seizes in accordance with your caprice, will take your full measure.
-Lionel Shriver The Post-Birthday World
I think it is all a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes.
When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.
I realized: love won't obey our expectations. Its mystery is pure and absolute.
-Francesca Johnson The Bridges of Madison County
The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.
We are all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness- and call it love- true love.
Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.
Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.
The purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love who is around to be loved.
-Kurt Vonnegut The Sirens of Titan
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. O no, it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempest and is never shaken...
-William Shakespeare Great Sonnets
The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.
-Victor Hugo Les Miserables
"How do you spell 'love'?" "You don't spell it... You feel it."
-Piglet and Pooh, A.A. Milne
If it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.
-Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina
You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
I like to believe that love is a reciprocal thing, that it can't really be felt, truly, by one.
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
You know it's love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you're not part of their happiness.
Love is absolute loyalty. People fade, looks fade, but loyalty never fades. You can depend so much on certain people; you can set your watch by them. And that's love, even if it doesn't seem very exciting.
Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.
-Melissa Marr Ink Exchange
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