[2 minute read]
Do you love someone for how they make you feel, or for who they are themselves?
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” Our Dad loved Shakespeare. I have tried; for the result, “love” would be too strong a word:) Are these words the bard’s? I’ll leave that to you to discover the surprise. It leaves you an out—-a nonsentimental way to reply to my overbearing mushiness.
Do I love you each of you by the compulsion to conform to social morality that says an upright man properly loves his family? A sort of ego peer pressure? A sort of aversion to shame which would accompany not loving my siblings?
Do I love you as reciprocation of that for which every human heart pines—unconditional love? You have accepted me — or are sort of forced to — by the social norm of good people loving their family, warts and all, with no luxuries of choice, no convenience of cafeteria love. You too would be shamed if you didn’t love your brother.
Do I love you in the way that people who share common experiences love one another?
Do I love you because I see in you motives and sentiments that I see in myself, by virtue of our common upbringing? And because it is easier to love another than one’s self?
Do I love you selfishly because I have voids and needs, and each of you pours something into them? Because in times of deepest need you have been for there for me, I am not alone, and you will not abandon me?
Do I love you as a reflection of self love, because perhaps I’ve been there in your times of need, and that makes me feel good about myself?
Do I love you because you have challenged me — knowing my buttons and triggers like only lifelong siblings can — and thereby made me a better person, more capable of self love?
Or, do I love you for who you are, as beautiful persons regardless of your relationship to me?
Respecting and revering mystery has a rediscovered primacy in my heart. Why I love you is a mystery. And isn’t it supremely evident that all true love is mysterious? Why do I love thee? It matters not. It matters that I do. It matters supremely. I do. Love lived and learned. Love mysterious and simple. I love you. Each of you. Truly. The deepest truth I know.
Neil D. 2020-04–26