Forgetting youthful angst of the “When is he (she) going to call me?” variety, let’s get down to basics and ask the question: What, at best, is love?
I have my own thoughts on the subject, but before I pass them along, here are some views by literary giants from our past.
Ovid (Roman poet): “Every lover is a warrior, and Cupid has his camps.”
Shakespeare (Playwright and poet): “Love comfortheth like sunshine after rain.”
Miguel de Cervantes (Author of Don Quixote): “Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as the other.”
Anonymous (17th Century poet): “When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out the window.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley (Poet): “All love is sweet, given or returned.”
JOHN KEATS (Poet): “Love is a hut, with water and a crust … cinders, ashes, dust.”
Victor Hugo (Novelist, poet, and playwright): “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.”
Francis Edward Smedley (Novelist): “All’s fair in love and war.”
Sir Winston Churchill (Statesman and author): “The anger of lovers renews the strength of love.”
E. E. Cummings (Poet): “Love is the whole and more than all.”
Phyllis McGinley (Novelist and poet): “Love is an archer with a low I.Q., a bold bad bowman, and innocent of pity.”
Nice, huh? Or not so nice, depending on the writer’s point of view.
But … lucky me (are you still reading?), in honor of pretty boxes filled with chocolates and frilly heart-shaped cards, I get to tell you what I think about love. And, like a well-tended lilac, hydrangea, or rose bush, I think that it is pretty wonderful.
Do you love a dog, a cat, a ferret, or a rabbit? Could anything, after a hard day at work, be better than burying your nose in such furry and adoring innocence?
Do you love your family? Okay. Families are often problematical, but unless they are truly horrible (in which case, move away and leave no forwarding address), all those anniversary parties and holiday gathering are, ultimately, warmly rewarding.
How about friends? Friendship, like families, can have its ups and downs, but a loving buddy will listen to a tale of woe when you call with a broken heart; lend you a few hundred dollars after you lose a job; give you a sofa to sleep on in the middle of a divorce; water your plants; walk your dog; and pick up your mail.
A good friends is a candle on a birthday cake that even a hurricane can’t blow out.
And finally – I know you’ve been waiting for this – what about love of … a lover?
Okay. Now we’re getting to open-heart surgery.
I think that loving another human being in that way, is Life’s way of smiling down upon us and whispering into our ear, “Take heed, my darlings, for I am giving you my greatest gift.”
So. In response to question number one: “What do I think about love?”
I think it’s great.
Question number two: “Was I ever in love?”
Yes. I was.
Question number three: “Did I love being in love?”
Yes, I did. And I’m willing to shout it from a soapbox, a rooftop, or a mountain peak.
Which brings us to question number four: “Of all the literary giants quoted earlier, with which do I most agree?”
Well, that’s easy to answer. None of them. Because I saved the best for last.
Irving Berlin (lyricist and composer) wrote … and I concur:
“There may be trouble ahead - But while there’s moonlight, and music, and love, and romance - Let’s face the music and dance.”
Copyright © Shelly Reuben, 2018. Shelly Reuben’s books have been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards. For more about her writing, visit www.shellyreuben.com