Today’s post is courtesy of a prompt from Plinky:
We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?
The answer to this question lies in your definition and experiences of “love”.
To me, love is an emotion that is founded on feelings of connectedness – a connection with your spouse is different to a connection with your child for example, but that sense of connection is vital to experience love. Some love is dangerous, or unreciprocated and some love is even poisonous but the same sense of connection is present as there is in the “right” type of love.
Most people will know someone who is in love with “the wrong one” – the person who is perhaps violent towards them, or abusive or simply too casual about their love. We can see from the outside of their relationship that something is broken, but we can’t deny that at least for one of them, there is a connection that binds them to it even it is a one-way thing.
Most people will know other people who are in love with “the right one” – the spouse, the boyfriend, the life-partner for example, where the connection between them is a two-way street and it is a positive expression of love.
But to me, “love” is more than being IN LOVE with someone, yet that sense of connection has got to be there for it to work. For example, I love Dinas Dinlle on the North Wales coast. It is somewhere that we have spent some fabulous times as a family first of all in a tent and more recently in a caravan. We have been there when we have had no money at all, yet we have managed to unwind, relax and enjoy being in each other’s company at the seaside and having fun playing games in the tent at night. The surrounding area is stunningly beautiful and my favourite part of it is the semi-eroded Neolithic hill-fort on the edge of the sea. There is a sense of peace and tranquillity when you climb it and escape over its lip into the dip where the wind can’t reach you. When I say that I love it there, I really do mean LOVE. My soul feels in tune with the area and I feel a connection to the land and the sea there.
I also loved my Mum and Dad’s dog, Bella. You can’t say I was “in love” with her, obviously, but I had a connection with her like I’d never felt with an animal before. When I looked into her eyes there was definitely some sort of connection with her, soul to soul. We understood each other and she could communicate with me – and others! – most effectively without words or sounds. I was with her at the end of her life and that connection was there right up until the moment she fell asleep with me holding her face in my hands and my eyes locked into hers.
Everybody loved her though, from family members who spent their lives with her to total strangers who stopped us in the street to pet her and talk about her. She inspired a kind of connection with everyone she met and language was no barrier neither. I remember a trip to Fort William in Scotland and a group of Japanese tourists stopped my Dad and in broken English and many hand gestures managed to convey just how special Bella was and could they take pictures of her to show their friends back home. It was on that same trip to Scotland that we took a ferry trip across from the mainland to the Isle of Mull and some Italian ladies were quite taken with her. They couldn’t get enough of petting her head and face, and were astounded when they asked what her name was and we said “Bella”. Of course, “bella” in Italian means “lovely”.
I have to point out that she was called Bella not because of the connections to the Italian for lovely, but because at the time we got her the children were into the TV programme “The Tweenies” and one of the characters was called Bella. Not quite as romantic as Italian is it!
It goes without saying that I love my family too. It’s not the same love as I feel for my friends, but the connection is exactly the same. I suppose that’s what makes us human, that sense of connection between us. We are instructed to love each other and it’s not really that hard to do if we look for the connections and not the gaps between us.
So yes, in answer to the question, there is a thread that runs through different types of love and for me that thread is CONNECTION.
How is it for you?