Do you still believe in love, my therapist asked.
I opened my mouth but I didn’t say anything. It was dawning on me at that moment that I didn’t know the answer. “Can I think about it,” I said. “I’m not sure.”
It was some time ago now.
I still didn’t know the answer the next day. Or the next week. Or the next month. The answer didn’t even come to me in the same year. I didn’t know the answer for a long time.
So the question stayed. Floating about in my consciousness. Seeking. Asking me to do the work required to figure it out. Waiting for me to figure myself out and consequently, to figure it out.
It’s not the sort of answer that comes all at once. At least it wasn’t for me. It’s the sort of answer that comes one book, one conversation, one thought, one run, and one word at a time. An answer that builds itself quietly while I build myself. One day the question resurfaces for the umpteenth time and seemingly suddenly, you know the answer.
The now-familiar question resurfaced the other day. Do I still believe in love? To my surprise, the answer surfaced too. Quiet. Firm. Solid. Sound. True. Rooted. Isn’t it amazing how the contents of your own brain can catch you off guard? A reminder that our greatest journey on this earth is self-discovery. Could we really be the image of God and be simple creatures?
The answer was that the expanse of love is beyond human language. It quietly permeates every aspect, moment and movement of our lives. It’s in the fingers you gently run over your arm. In the soft towel gliding over your thigh. It’s in the care when you detangle your afro. It’s in the warmth that spreads when you glance at your phone and you see your friend is calling. It’s the “oh my gosh, I have to tell you something.” It’s biting into a mouthful of decadently delicious food. It’s a kiss. The soft, lingering kind. It’s a conversation. A good one. The kind that lights up the bulbs in your brain. It’s a book. The kind that swallows you whole and blurs the lines between fiction and reality.
It’s laughter. The chuckles. The smiles. The belly-aching, tears-rolling, “that came from a deep and healthy place” laughter. It’s the people who show up for you. The one who ask how you are and wait for an answer. It’s people whose absence you notice. The “you are quiet, where are you” people.
The ones who call you to order with kindness for your BS.
It’s the people who know the little things that make you happy and the people whose little things you know.
It’s music. Beautiful lyrics. A soul in a rhythm. A song. Think JP Saxe hitting a note with devastating softness… Goosebumps.
It’s dancing gently to Sade.
Love is healing from within.
It’s dancing with a child. It’s their laughter. Their firm little hug. It’s that “mwah… I ‘wav’ you” from my four-year-old.
It’s words. My God. It. is. words. Words said; words whispered; words written. It is writing. Carefully wrapping words around life on paper.
It is God. When He whispers by or wells up from within.
It is tears.
It’s that extraordinary feeling that you belong. That you belong in your skin. You belong in your mind. You belong in your body. You belong in your world. That you belong to you.
It’s clean bedding. Crisp and smelling like sta-soft. It’s sinking into a bubbly-almost-too-hot bathtub. It’s a new thing tried. It’s an old thing beloved.
It’s that “I found my next trip feeling.” Followed closely by “I found an amazing deal .”
It’s coming home… and it’s coming home to yourself.
It is friendship… simple and true. It’s kindness exchanged and assured. It’s caring and being cared for.
It’s humour. It’s wit. It’s a titillating word-trade.
It is tea. Tea. All the tea in the world.
Do I believe in love? Absolutely. The expanse of living love can not be reduced to a single experience. It can not be reduced to a single person. That would be like reducing the ocean to a bathtub. Like reducing the divine to human. Reducing the transcendent to a single plane.
Do I believe in love? Yes. Yes, I do.
Happy Valentine’s Day lovers.