Woody Allen makes a point here:
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”
Whether you think Woody Allen’s comment is funny or not does not matter (I think it is privately humorous), the question here is what is love?
American relationship/marriage statistics are alarming (if you choose to focus on the divorce probability) unless you counterbalance those data numbers with heart memories. This is one reason I often refer to a book written by Julie Rainbow, Standing the Test of Time, that debunks the myth of divorced, dysfunctional Black families as she tells the story of Black couples who have been married fifty years or more and are still standing together.
I have other reasons for my knowing about love, my parents. My parents were married 53 years (until my Dad’s death in 2008) and his last words on this earth were to my Mom, saying “I love you.” Their eternal bond taught me something.
Adding another personal note, now that I have eulogized two brothers, one my twin, but both whom I loved deeply, I had to ask myself what am I learning about life through this experience? I have been taught that love is a jewel that sparkles as brightly as you do. Well, I want to dazzle because that is the type of love that I want before I leave this earthly plane!
I have learned that “love” endures pain. It is an unquestioned face that relationships that mark years of longevity face pain. Even so, the pain of infidelity, disaster, trauma, or other disruptive issues do not destroy the core of love between two people who are devoted to each other.
I have learned that “love” smells different. Sometimes love stinks. But, like you learn to love your baby’s poop, love is the reason. Other times love smells like a fragrant rose, scented by time and passion. Love among two people may smell different from time to time, but each smell you learn to love.
I have learned that “love” ages. The longer you bottle love the more of an aged bouquet it has. Time and stillness together can create a bonus of a barrel of savory love.
What love is is individual. My impression of love is distinct from yours and you can bet yours is distinct from mine. When I was younger I equated love with lust, thus a divorce as soon as the hots cooled off. Now after taking years of celibacy instruction to heart, I have learned that even though love may lead to suffering, I’ll suffer any day for the aged, sweetness of love.