‘What is This Thing Called Love’ is the name of a jazz standard that I have been regularly singing at gigs throughout 2014. However, since the end of January, it has become a question that I have been asking myself on a daily basis.
Several weeks ago I came across an old journal of mine from 1998 – 2000 and realised that in fact, this is a question I started asking 17 years ago. It’s actually not new to me at all.
In January 1999 I wrote the following entry into my journal:
What is it?
How does true love feel?
Is love the admiration of another
Combined with a physical attraction?
Is it a similar way of thinking?
Is it similar beliefs?
Surely there are many
That there are these things towards
What is it then that makes one love unique?
If love is a mere expression
How could it be focused on one?”
My feeble attempts to express love in the years leading up to 1999 had ended up with my extreme pain and rejection. In April of that year I wrote the following piece entitled ‘The Expression of Love’:
What if this feeling
Is never expressed?
If as time passes
So do the opportunities
To reveal what is stored
And stirred in my heart
What if the next opportunity
Were to be the last?
Would it matter then
What others would say?
What if I were to live in the moment
And seize each opportunity
To express my feelings
To express the elation
Other feelings are in different leagues
None is near as precious as love
None so rarely in truth expressed
None so tied to hurt
With little knots
That can and will only be cut off in time
With the scissors
That have the same name
As that that caused the knots to form
In the first place
The Expression of Love
At the time of writing this I had never experienced love other than that of family members, friends and my wonderful, loving God. I had adored a few males, but it had never been mutual. What I felt for these males was also based entirely on the wrong things – namely physical appearance and how they would make me look and feel. Then after all of the brain trauma I underwent with my ten lots of neurosurgery between 2000 and 2006 I only had the strength to think about getting through the next few hours. The reality is that I had 10 years there when love from the opposite sex never crossed my mind. I am so grateful to God that he removed that desire from my heart for that time.
However, with my recently meeting a truly extraordinary male, a lot of these same questions have risen to the surface. I am finding myself once again asking myself, what is this thing called love?
The bible clearly talks about love and what it is in the 1st book of Corinthians, chapter 13. It says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres Love never fails.”
However, this excerpt of scripture still leaves me questioning what love is. What I am coming to see though is that love is not one thing but rather, like the bible excerpt quoted above says, a myriad of things.
What ‘this thing called love’ is is something that I am delighting in learning and I imagine I will continue to learn as the months and years ahead of me unfold.