Recognizing that everyone who graces the world desires both to love and to be loved, it's really quite extraordinary to take in all of the ways that we experience, throughout the course of our lives, what it means to love.
From the star-crossed, cannot eat, sleep, think or stop dreaming about the one who has no idea that you adore them...to the mistake that you made in the one who got away that still, every now and again, haunts you...to the unconditional, sacrificial, engrained in the depth of your being love you feel walking around in the bodies of your children...to the would do anything for them, grateful that they gave you life, maddening co-dependent relationship that you sometimes bear with your parents...to the committed, secure, entrenched in deep history, enduring love that you know like the back of your hand with your life partner...to the one you call when you cannot breathe because something awful has happened or better yet, the best news ever has occurred and your friend is the one you want to confide in first...to the neighbor...to the co-worker...to the woman at the yoga studio...and the older gentleman at church...and the...list goes on.
Of all of the love poems in the world, my favorite has to be Pablo Neruda's Sonnet XVII
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
So, in the wake of what many deem a senseless, superficial, over-priced Hallmark holiday that screams expensive movie tickets at soft-core porn flicks like "Fifty Shades of Grey," I say, love. Love the way that you do and make no apologies. Love with flowers, chocolates, words, dishwasher installations, hugs, kisses, touches behind the ear and at the nape of the neck. Love with jewels and I'm sorry's. Love near and love afar. Love what is and do not be afraid to love what was. Love is vast. Love is mysterious. But most importantly, through you, love is alive.
At the end of the day, at the core of it, no matter who we love or why we love them, we want to love and to be loved deeply. Often, we can't describe or explain why it is that we love another, we just know that we do. We recognize what it feels like when that love is reciprocated and, of course, when it is not. And no matter how painful, and sometimes at what cost, we continue to love, because in the end, this is why we live...to love and to be loved, particularly, "between the shadow and the soul."