It is ironic and mysteriously appropriate that the condition called love, which we spend all our lives pursuing, maintaining or mourning, is not only baffling but also frustratingly, mind-bogglingly, impossibly difficult to either quantify or qualify with words.
Look up love in Wikipedia and you’ll find this: “Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection.” Accurate, yet rather hollow and clinical if you ask me.
Words. Appropriate words. In the millions of years of communication evolution, humans have continually failed to develop the skills or insight to properly express, in words uttered or symbols traced, this timeless essence of life. When it comes to the quantification or qualification of love, mankind, in all of its boundless, indomitable glory, falls paralyzed and dumb.
Lives, societies, cultures expanding and contracting across centuries stacked end-to-end for 50,000 years; decades of life spreading out between our first and last breaths…yet no greater wisdom has evolved from all of that cumulative human experience and risen to assert itself in any way deemed finally fitting when it comes to topping off the universal repository of the language of love.
I suspect that love climbed out of the primordial muck before lovers did, and it persists to this day to fall under the classification of More Profound Than There Are Words For Us To Prove It. Indeed, love exists, evolves and flourishes in spite of the language or intent of mere mortals, thank you very much.
Perhaps what happens, and what we are then called to describe above and beyond the banal boundaries of our limited vocabulary is, by its very nature, incapturable — and ought not be captured, according to some supernatural law that we have yet to comprehend. Perhaps we should therefore not surrender in frustration but rather submit in jocundity to the simple truth that love belongs in the realm of the unspoken and unwritten.
Love is the inside joke of the ages, and that fact alone leads many of us look on the truest and most powerful states of it with a mixture of envy, disgust or even concern at times. Timeless, true, immortal love. It is elusive. It is rare. It is frustrating, frightening, and our highest aspiration and greatest hope.
When love exists in all its glory between two people, be it mother and child, first lovers, life partners or crippled old spouses, it is singularly unique, treasured and cherished — and really only felt and understood at its best by the two who share and struggle to express it.
Most of us will never have that best kind of love. Many may never even see it. But for those who find it and have it, the world is a different place and all of the things in it are richly distilled and have different meaning — different value, texture, tone and concentration. That kind of love exerts its influence in both subtle and overt ways, from the micro to the macro without boundary, or end, or respect for time or consciousness. It is ever-present, all-encompassing, maddeningly consuming and supernatural.
I know that kind of love. I know it from experience that’s far too precious to share in the public domain. And I don’t feel the need to explain or defend it. It’s so much better, you see, to stand silent and smile in awe (and gratitude) of it.
I want to thank my friend Jim Mitchem (@jmitchem) for asking me to join him in a celebration of love in all its simplicity and indescribable awesomeness. And I want to thank three wonderful people I’ve met through Twitter — pals Nichole (napril1023), Molly (@mollyblock) and Staci (@stacijshelton) — for helping blaze a trail for this simple celebration.
I hope you’ll join us today in speaking, writing, mumbling, hollering, pantomiming or otherwise symbolizing (and repeating) the product of 50,000 years of wisdom and evolution…three little words that represent life’s most splendidly incomprehensible thing:
And you, my immortal châtaigne mal peigné.