I remember a long time ago, I wrote a little piece about John Lennon, the day he was killed and the newspaper printed it. I was 20 at the time, and it was simple, ‘Guns don’t kill people, people do’ and I couldn’t really take credit for something the world was repeating to itself over and over in the mass confusion of such a loss. I remember his second album was coming out – he was talking about 40 being his next life, just published ‘Double Fantasy’ and it spoke of saving relationships with one common denominator – that was love.
My mother saw my letter to the editor and cut it out and put it on the refrigerator. To me that was an honor and I felt loved by her actions. To me that has always been what love is, not something expected but just what happens in our lives. I think in my family my children and I would say to each other and their mother, ‘I love you’ to finish conversations on the telephone. I remember one time recalling we did it so often it would glaring if one day we did not, and so I maintained the tradition, we all did, until later on in life it became a question in our minds. Suddenly name value didn’t have as much impact.
One day when I was 20 years old, I worked in an intake office and took phone calls and directed them to the psych units I worked with, and the phone rang, I answered and the voice on the other end said ‘I love you’ and hung up. I remember being so touched it gave me a tear. I had really never felt that kind of love before and here was a young woman whom I was falling in love with just chose the moment, hung up and probably smiled as much as I did the rest of that day.
So how do we define love today? I suppose it doesn’t have to be ritual as much as it needs a genuine appeal. I recently came across something about a friend that caused me some judgment, a place I don’t often like to go because it makes me feel shallow. The truth is though, I wanted to know and the only way I could is if I asked her directly, and then my greatest fear would be her rejection. So how do we define love? We don’t.
We simply allow love to happen in our lives, and then smiles and light in our eyes become real.
© Thom Amundsen 12/5/2020