Apr 9 0 Comments

The empty book of love

With a Syrian toddler. Thank you Jenn, for capturing that moment.

In going through the mess on my computer yesterday I found an intriguing folder. It was named The book of love. I couldn’t remember that I had ever written that book, so I opened it, naturally. Inside the folder was a document, also called The book of love. And the document consisted of many, many pages. All empty. There was nothing written in my book of love.

It is not because there is no love in my life, of course. There is plenty. But I am still wondering what my plan had been for this mysterious book. What had been my intention?

It got me thinking about love—again. Say I was to write a book called The book of love. What would I write about? Red wine and poetry? Passion and electric touches? Holding hands whilst wandering the streets of Carmel by the Sea? No, such writing I leave to others who can do it better than me. I want to write about what I have concluded love is. If I can ever define it. Because the longer I live, the more I think that defining love is like defining the shape of water. One cannot.

Love delivers, I read today, and I said Yes. It is not a feeling, but involves deeds. Some of the deeds done from love will be sacrificial, but not necessarily. It is an attitude and a choice. It has to do with the value I give to others, and how I regard them. It is choosing to do what is right for the other person, regardless of my own feelings.

Long have I loved the ones who will love me back. The ones who will look at me with appreciation and admiration. Who will let me know that my contribution enriched them, changed them or set them free. It is nice to love when there is gratitude and even admiration. It is nice to love when the reward is a good feeling: I mattered. It is not wrong to feel such feelings. It makes me warm and fuzzy, and makes me smile. It is nice when recipients of my love respond with love back. But it cannot be my motivation. My motivation must be the value I put on the other person, and the timeless question: What would I want them to do for me? Would I still love if I got nothing back? Nothing. Just the assurance in my own heart that I did the right thing. That will be my challenge.