I believe in love. I believe that the natural state of people is to desire to give of themselves for the betterment of those around them, but because of separation from our awareness of the connections between us, we sometimes loose sight of that drive. I believe that the primary thing stopping us from loving one another is found in our egocentric view of painful experiences each of us have in our pasts, which lead us to view the world with the purpose of protecting ourselves instead of giving of ourselves to others. I believe the measure of one’s success in life lies in the amount of love they were able to give away.
I believe in love because of Carl, a child I met working one summer at camp. I saw love when I watched him pull away from his counselors, and all the staff who attempted to interact with him. Carl showed me love in the way he would almost allow me to “color pretty pictures” with him, only to throw his crayon at me and run away. Carl’s sudden, violent tears were love. Carl’s wrinkled blue pajamas were love. Carl’s bare feet slapping on the asphalt were love. Carl sitting sullenly in the backseat of his social worker’s car was love. Thinking about Carl, every day, for these past three years is love.
Love is not about reciprocated emotions. Love is giving. Love is giving until you feel yourself breaking under the strain of it. Love is letting your attention focus so intensely on someone else that you forget to think about yourself, and your need for protection is lost. Love was in that little boy who had never known it, and couldn’t recognize it. Love is in the hope I have, every day, that someday he will know what it means to let go, to give up, and to love. I believe in love.