What is Love?

Bethanne - Orange Park, Florida
Entered on July 10, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, love
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I believe in love in all of its odd forms. For many years, as apoet, writer and artist, I have been grappling with the question, “What is love?”. I shall not pretend to have the definitive answer, for I believe that love is in a constant state of change. It seems, as I uncover just one of it’s beautiful facets, it turns on its side ever so slightly, to show me yet another, like a brilliant jewel tumbling through existence. I can, however, share some of its beautiful facets that I have been lucky enough to glimse, even if for a short while.

When I first met my husband, nine years ago, I told him that I loved him only about a week into our relationship.

He responded, “You barely know me. You don’t love me.” Yet, I did love him. I loved getting to know him, too, as I travelled accross the country with him in that summer of ’99. I continued to love him and tell him so. He continued to avoid telling me that he loved me, so I finally asked him, “Do you love me?”

To which he answered, “I love everybody.”

I waited a while and asked him again,” Do you love me?”

“I trust you.” was his response.

Trust, to him, at the time, meant more than love, but I did not know this then. When he was a baby, his father threw him up in the air and purposefully did not catch him, and told him to never trust anyone. This lesson stuck with him throughout his life until he met me and trusted me, but I believe he was able to trust me because he did love me.

I travelled with Scott, now my husband, in that summer. I ran a series of free outdoor kitchens with him. I did charge a minimal fee at some venues, one of which was Woodstock ’99. Ya know, the burning and pillaging one? I sold food there outside the gate for much less than they were selling inside. Saturday afternoon, for lunch, I was selling beans and rice. I saw this young girl wander by me a couple of times, sniffing the air wafting around my pot of beans and rice. She was skinny and looked like she really needed some nourishment.

So I asked her,”Are you hungry?”

She said,”I don’t have any money.”

I said,”I didn’t ask you if you had any money, I asked you if you were hungry.”

She said,”Yes,” with an exasperated sigh.

I motioned for her to come over to where I was serving the beans and rice and I loaded her up a plate larger than anyone else got that day and gave it to her.

She again said, looking confused,”But I don’t have any money.”

I said,”It’s o.k., eat, my gift to you.”

She smiled a big old smile and said,”Thank you! You’re so nice!”

I said,”You are very welcome.”

That was the moment that I began to understand Scott’s concept of loving everyone.

So through my own personal “summer of love”, after being married to my own “true love” and after giving birth to three “love children”, this is what I believe love is; Love is a risk. The chance that so many are so afraid to take for fear of getting hurt. I believe that we have to take that chance in order to love or be loved. I believe Love cannot exist with in barriers, rules or restrictions. I believe that Love comes from within us, and like a light, shines upon those around us, if we just take the chance. So go on, Love, it will make the world a better place, for, this I believe.