I’ve been thinking a lot about love over the last couple weeks. It’s such a simple idea that even young children, soon after learning to talk, can verbally express love. Yet, at the same time, when you think about it, love is a very difficult word to define. I think that every single person you ask would have a different way of describing this concept that is so central to our everyday lives. On top of all that, there are so many different types of love: familial, romantic, social, etc. and the lines between them can be so easily blurred.
What got me thinking these thoughts is that I recently began to feel something the seemed a lot like love (no, not the Ashton Kutcher/Amanda Peet romcom, blech). I felt intense feelings for this person and repeatedly imagined what it would be like if we were together, but at the same time, my logical mind realized that there was no basis for this fantasy relationship, no shared experience, no reciprocated feelings of affection, none of the elements that make up a relationship. On top of that, there were so many obstacles to anything coming of it that the thought we could be together is almost laughable. Despite all of that, it took several days of conditioning myself and grieving before I was finally able to let go of something that was never really anything to being with.
I frequently and easily fall into what some people would call love, but I don’t think that’s an honest description of these feelings. I meet someone and very quickly feel a connection to them, often based on the smallest shared interest or experience. I then seek out more information about them inevitably leading to more connections and then I start thinking about how good it would be to spend time with that person. It very rapidly turns into something approaching obsession, but in reality, it’s a desperate desire to be known, cared for, and wanted. I have often had to acknowledge that I have an intense fear of being alone for the rest of my life and this fear often results in me filling that empty space in my future with idea of anyone who seems like they may fit. I think a better exercise would be to fill those spaces with the friends and family who are already in my life and also by seeking God and allowing Him to speak into those places and alleviate those fears. I think I could also stand to cultivate an appreciation for alone time and practice the discipline of solitude.