I figured that the day after Valentine’s Day would be the right time to pose the question, “What is love?”
I’ve been hearing about love ever since I was a little child having it sung to me by all the R&B Motown singers my parents used to listen to. Growing up I heard Keith Sweat, New Edition, U2, Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Michael Jackson to name a few pining away about love. As I got older it became Jodeci, SHAI, Boyz II Men, PM Dawn all singing about the joys and virtues of love. I would hear the Pastor at church preach about love in the world, or read about Gandhi and MLK, Jr. loving thy neighbor and the power of love. The idea of being in love sounded to me like the greatest thing going since the creation of ice cream, invention of sliced bread, the inception of the taco, and, well, bacon (let’s face it, bacon on anything is delicious).
But then I started really listening to what was being said, what was beings sung about, and paying attention to what was really happening in the world around me. All the singers that were supposed to be aficionados on love were not singing about the joy of love, but rather how love had passed them by, or how sad they were now that love was no longer present in their lives. They were singing about how when love is gone it rips at your heart, tears at your soul, and leaves you reeling in utter misery. Okay, well that is romantic love. surely there have to be other forms of love. What happened to MLK, Jr. or Gandhi? What happened to the people they were fighting for? Did love save them? No, no it didn’t. It actually led to their demise. Assassinated, tortured, persecuted, treated vilely by the people around them, even though they opened up their hearts to them with love. What about the glory of love that the priests talk about in church, or the love recorded in countless novels and poems by authors? Genocide, wars, mass graves, mustard gas, lynching, crucifixions, torture, and those are just the atrocities we know about.
Love is an antiquated idea created by people to dupe us into buying greeting cards, flowers, candy, or whatever other wares they might be pedaling. Love is an idea to keep us off balance and confused while the people that sold us on love take whatever they want from us. The “Love” that I believed in is not present in the world that we live in today, and frankly I’m not sure if it ever was. It is like the scientific theories of the Big Bang or black holes. They seem like plausible possibilities; it would be wonderful to believe in them, it would explain so many things. But in the end, they are just theories that just have never been proven to exist. Everyone talks about them, they act like they are part of reality, but they aren’t and the funny thing that if they did exist, they too would be the cause of nothing but misery, pain, destruction, and strife.
So I pose the question again, what is love? Is it something that can be touched, held, nurtured, censured, taken, given? Where is it? And if it is so great, why do people choose to forsake it rather than embrace it?