Thursday, July 28, 2005

I love you. (Warning: This is so not funny.)

For BD, Eric & Trav: Soldiers.

I love a lot. I really do. Now before you get all weird on me and think that statement means something that requires cheesy porn music playing in the background, just ratchet it back a little. That's not what I mean.

What I mean is that I love a lot of people and I really don't mind telling them I love them. I believe one of the worst things a human being can do is intentionally withhold love. I don't understand the thought process whereby you love someone, you know you love them, and yet you never tell them. What sense does that make? It seems to me our society makes it more acceptable to hear the words, "I hate you" than "I love you".

People want to make love something strange and mysterious and hard to define, when in all reality, it's the simplest thing in the universe. It's my belief that love is at the very core of everything we are...the bottom most building block upon which humanity rests. We were designed to love, to need to be loved and with an overwhelming and innate desire to find people with whom we can accomplish both those things.

I find it ridiculous that as much as we all want to experience love and all that it can be, we do our darnedest to avoid saying it because we have the misguided idea that love is a limited commodity, and therefore we have to be very careful about giving it away too freely.

I am someone that is fond of having what I consider to be deep and philosophical discussions on a variety of subjects ranging from the creation of the universe to the undeniable evil genius that is Karl Rove. When I find someone that enjoys those same kinds of conversations, I am overjoyed. In that spirit, some years ago I had a friend with whom I spent many late nights on the phone debating the meaning of love.

We argued the semantics of love, the history of love and in effect, tore the word and the emotional acts that go along with it, completely apart. Is there a difference in "I love you" and "I'm in love with you"? When you tell someone you love them, does that mean you want to spend the rest of your life with them? When you say "I love you" are you are no longer capable of loving anyone else? We were sure love was something that needed to be figured out.

I have to admit, for much of my life, I didn't like to say, "I love you" to anyone. Oh I said it when a moment required it, but in most cases I felt like it was being pulled from me against my will. My feeling was there was so much baggage attached to those three words that I couldn't handle the totality of it all. It was too big a thing for me. Add to that the fact that I had been taught to associate love with hurtful things, and you can see how the word became something I worked hard to avoid.

It's only been in the last five years or so that I've come to understand what a blessing it is to feel love and when you do feel it, to share it. My father tells me that for his entire life, childhood included, his parents never told him they loved him. Now they are gone, and the opportunity for them to say it and for him to hear it, is lost forever. To my mind, the worst thing I could do to myself and to anyone I care about, would be to leave this world for the next without having said I love you. I want the people in my life to know that I love them...and because I am firmly convinced that love doesn't die, that I will always love them.

There is no limit, no end and there are no conditions placed upon the love I feel. I may like you some days more than others, I may get angry with you from time to time, but once you've heard me say I love you, you can rest assured it is forever, no matter where you go or what you do, or how you try to convince yourself I don't. More than anything else as a parent, I want my children to understand that.

The entire reason I felt compelled to write this piece today, rather than the kinds of things I typically write here, was because of an email I received when I woke up. It wasn't anything mushy or especially out of the ordinary, but it was from a friend who is currently serving in Iraq. As I sat here enjoying the unseasonably cool July morning, I thought of him and the rest of my friends sitting in up to 130 degree heat today, and I started to cry. I wondered if they know that I love them and that I value the gift they are giving more than I can say.

Thankfully, I did have the opportunity a week or so ago to tell one of them face to face that I loved him as he was home on leave for a few days. I got to whisper it in his ear while I hugged him tight and fought tears. This morning, in his honor and in honor of all the service men and women that are there because they love us and what we have here and are showing their love with their consummate and innumerable sacrifices, it is my hope if their is someone you want or need to say "I love you" to, you'll seize the moment and tell them without another thought.

Forget all the garbage that our society has misled you into believing goes along with saying or hearing those words. Take a leap and say them. Life is a breath and none of us can know whether there will be another opportunity.

Brian, Eric and Travis, I love you. You are my heroes and if I live to be an old, old woman, I could never express to you how much your sacrifice means to me. Your sacrifice with your families, your sacrifice of comfort, of even something so basic as cold milk and decent food. I can't repay you. None of us can. At best, I can only promise that I won't waste or ever take for granted the gift you're giving us and that each day I open my eyes to freedom and safety, I'll think of you and I won't miss any opportunity to say, "I love you".

Copyright © 2004-2005, Sherri Bailey
This blog may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author.

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Donna said...

That was a beautiful post. (It's OK to be not funny once in a while, you know :) )

Sher said...

Thank you, Donna. Sometimes it's hard for me not to be just because that is what is most comfortable for me.

Good to hear from you!

Comfort Addict said...

That is so sweet and so true. I think that society has colored these words inappropriately. Something romantic or sexual (or, for men, unmanly) has been grafted onto them. I think that you can certainly love somebody without those things being involved. I wish I said it more.