Love comes from within. But if you have never had it shown to you, I can imagine it would be impossible to recognize it within yourself. I’ve tried to show Troy love as a friend, but philos is only one aspect of love. A best friend could never replace a loving mother or father. It is nothing like the warm touch of someone you love. It’s like getting a burger when you’re expecting prime rib.
Although I’ve shown Troy as much love as I can give to him, I haven’t explained to him what love means to me. Maybe through my interpretation he can begin to recognize it more in his life.
I am fortunate to say that I have experienced love in a multitude of ways in my life. None of them make sense until I start from my first run in with love. I first met love before I was even conscious of its existence. As I floated in my mother’s womb, I grew healthily from the love she already had for me. Before I breathed my first breath, I was already deeply cared for by my mom and dad. It wasn’t a recognition of love that allowed me to feel it. Rather, it was always there for me; patiently waiting for me to meet it. I can only look back and recognize the quality of love that was first revealed to me, but today it’s unmistakable.
Love is ever-present.
When I think of the ever-present nature of love, of course I think of how it must be available to anyone. Although Troy hasn’t admitted it, for him to be born healthily to this world, his parents had to love him dearly. I don’t know all the details but perhaps this was the most love Troy has ever received. If so, it’s a shame he couldn’t recognize it then, however, it’s not too late. After all, in its ever-present nature, love has to be available now. The only difference is the form it takes. Before it was a mother carrying her son; I wonder what it could be today? A friend calling to check in, a ray of sun warming his face, maybe even in the laughter of his nephew and niece.
Love continued to unfold itself as I grew up. As a kid, I never wanted for anything. Even when we didn’t have much, I was none the wiser. My parents and grandparents always went out of their way, or sometimes even without, to ensure I had enough. This is around the time I recognized the second characteristic of love.
To love is to sacrifice.
In order to be a good friend, son, daughter, or partner, there will be times where you’ll have to forgo your selfish desires for the betterment of the other person. After a decade of friendship, I can confidently say Troy and I have sacrificed for the friendship. Whether it be our time, our opinions, or our resources; each of us have displayed some form of selflessness towards one another. I can only speak for myself but when I’m selfless, it feels really good. Of course thinking about why this is the case is quite simple. Sacrifice, in many ways, is one of the ultimate displays of love.
As I’ve grown older, love has become increasingly complex and incredibly simple all at once. It’s shown itself through gentle acts of kindness, through the patience of my mother, the strength of my father, the wisdom and generosity of my grandparents, and the passionate affection from my girlfriend. It has also come through the loyal support and companionship of my oldest friend. But despite all the outward love shown to me over the last twenty seven years, one love stands out among the rest.
The love within.
Within all of us is not so much a feeling as it is a capacity. It’s difficult to find at first but from experience, I know it’s there. I have to assume we all must. After all, how could we love other people if there is no source to draw from? Deep within us, past the complexity of our brain, through the depths of our hearts is an infinite stillness, moving slowly like a stream. From it, we find not only the loving memories from our past but something even deeper. A recognition that we are a part of this greater existence, purposeful and magnificent. An existence that has spanned 14.7 trillion years, birthed from nothing, designed by something. Within each of us are the same particles that our universe is made up of, and apparently a key ingredient is love.
If you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please do not hesitate to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1–800–273-TALK (8255). This is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information, and local resources. For more information, call or visit www.suicidepreventionhotline.org.