A few days ago, I posted about the character of love. And, in the manner of the wiseass I sometimes am, I answered by listing ten songs that examine love in slightly off-center ways – recordings from David Bowie to Chris Isaak, Bonnie Raitt to Rickie Lee Jones.
More than a few people have asked me, with no little seriousness, if the songs I posted are what I really think love is about. The truthful answer is, yes and no.
I did pick songs I feel an honest connection to, even though they might be unusual or surprising, and definitely aren’t typical romantic love ballads. There’s something that’s both creepy and honest to me in Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” a look at a painful love you want desperately to but may never be able to escape. It isn’t hard to imagine being so in love with someone you’re willing to do anything, like the singer of “Love Has No Pride,” by Bonnie Raitt. Likewise, Rickie Lee Jones’ “We Belong Together” might remind several listeners of times spent trying to convince a reticent partner that you’re absolutely made for each other.
These songs weren’t chosen ironically. I think that they’re good and that they represent common human experience.
The truth is, as everyone knows, there are many kinds of love. There’s no single answer or perspective.
But one thing I know at a dead certainty: love is the faith to leap, the trust to jump, the belief that, even though you don’t know what’s going to happen, you know there’s someone or something that’s going to make it alright.
And I thank my family for reminding me of this truth every single day of my life.
3 thoughts on “Love, Reconsidered”
I admire your attempt to define love, Brent. Your definition encompasses faith, trust, and belief, all aspects, certainly. I’m still left with the question that if these virtues are love indeed, why do we need the word love itself? Love to me is indefinable, just as God is indefinable, and what is love but God? Or not? It seems to me that it is an act of compassion, goodness, courtesy, gentleness. kindness, respect, tolerance (name your own virtues) that enables us to recognize love. I point to these examples of virtues being directed at another and it is the other that recognizes love. It is that act of another that defines love for me. This is why we so much need the other. If love is faith alone, or belief, or a combination of all that you say we don’t need another since faith in the formless or the abstract is entirely possible. But in order to recognize love, it seems, we do need one another. Just as the picture above demonstrates so aptly.
I personally try to define things, Chris, because (a) that’s how my head works, and (b) because it helps me be true to my principles. And I would never try to define anything for the purpose of dictating a definition to others.
Ah, yes, that is exactly my point, Brent, I need you to remind me that love is beyond what can be termed “my” as in “my head” and “my principles”. Love is. If I term it “my love” then it is limited by “my definition”. Love is not limited. Just as the noble thoughts expressed in the blog above are not to be limited, at least by me. A wise man once said that the only body of God is love. Imagine.