“There is no love; there are only proofs of love.”
– Pierre Reverdy
I am by no means an expert on love, however; as a living, breathing, interacting human being, I am bound to experience love in my life. Love can come in many shapes and forms: the love of a parent to a child (definitely unconditional and unique), the love of friends, cousins, siblings, or lovers — that is, romantic love.
As I contemplate this quote by the French poet Pierre Reverdy, I think of my own experiences of love. What I find ceaselessly amazing is that you can’t force or anticipate love but when it happens, when you feel it, it cannot be denied. I think what Mr. Reverdy means here is that there is no definition, no formula for love but rather every experience of love, unique as it is, is the very definition and proof of love.
This makes me think of geometry. 10th grade. Mr. Light’s class. I hated geometry. Especially proofs. I could not wrap my head around how one rule was indicative or led to the next rule which in turn encouraged the problem solver to go to the next rule and the following and then after several steps, a statement was proven. I struggled to understand this. It was abstract and not for me. Now, love on the other hand, I can accept, but I have been bound to doubt it. The cynic in me seeks an ulterior motive for the person giving me love (be it a friend, lover, etc.). This doesn’t happen often and usually requires some sort of insinuating circumstance that serves as the seed of my doubt, i.e. someone unassuming loving me. When we are able to love openly and freely, it is amazing. I have had the most beautiful experiences — proofs, if you will — of love.
The summer I graduated college, I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I was living with my brother and his several roommates and a pit bull, Daisy. I didn’t have graduate school lined up and in fact, wanted nothing to do with school. I was over studying and wanted an adventure. I had applied to teach English in Spain but hadn’t heard anything back. I had very little in the terms of a pay check, working only at a chocolate shop, my brother had me living with him rent free but I needed to do me. Anyways, I was stressed. My body does not deal with stress well and my eczema (a skin condition) was terribly broken out. One of my dearest friends Lynzy knew this condition was exacerbated by stress and told me to relax. She was packing up her apartment and moving, having just graduated, too and would pick me up in the mornings from my apartment and bring me to hers. She would dress me in soft, yoga clothes and lay me in the middle of the living room. She played on her phone with a blue tooth speaker, Andrea Bocelli music (one of my favorite artists). She made green tea for me and kept water constantly filled by my side. She would make an oatmeal paste and with a big makeup brush, brush it on my face and keep warm wash cloth compresses on my neck, cucumbers over my eyes. She would then go to a room in her apartment and pack a box, checking in on me every 15 minutes to wash my face with a warm wash cloth and refill my tea and water. She would rub my back and tell me that I needed to breath and relax. Her selfless care for me was so touching and has been an example in my life of how I wish to serve others.
I guess at the end of the day, how is it that we want to show (prove) our love, which I believe is a very part our my being and existence? Maybe it means mailing packages of things that remind me of my friends to them, near and far. For me, it’s feeding people. It’s sharing a story, a laugh, a hug. In other words, it’s giving a part of yourself to those you love. Maybe it’s fixing a friend’s car, if your expertise is automobile mechanics. Walking a friend’s dog when they are unable to. The ways we can show our love are endless and I wish for everyone to take the time and effort to do so. It’s not just at Christmas that we ought to give. Christmas isn’t the only time of the year that we show those we love that we care for them by getting them gifts. If you have love in your heart, it is present year round and I encourage you to show that love, daily.
The little actions that show us that someone is thinking of us is what makes life worth living. Coming home to a flower, even if it’s picked from the side of the road, can turn someone’s day around. Leaving someone a simple note, “thinking of you,” can bring immeasurable joy to those we love. We have the luxury of technology these days, a text message can serve as a vehicle to impart a smile and some cheer in those we love.
Today, and everyday, I challenge you to do something that makes one person in the world happy, be it your lover, your mother, your neighbor, or the guy across the hall that eavesdrops on your conversations. Life is too short and loving is so easy, let’s make the world a happier, more loving place.