"Don't it mean I love you? Think it means I love you."
From my short (nearly) 21 years of life, I have seen time and time again those that surround me ask "What is love? Do I really love him/her? How will I know when I truly love someone?"
Though I don't proclaim to be better educated than any with this pondering, I have lately given this idea much thought; I don't think I've come to a new and praise-worthy solution, but I can share what it means to me. It all started making sense after...well, after a progression of time really, since forever ago until several short minutes ago, watching "Mansfield Park," based on a Jane Austen novel. One of the characters states, "There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time." And I think that that sums up what I've been thinking about love--any conclusion I've come to has likely been on the same level of intellect though not expressed nearly as well.
Perhaps it's the way words evade me when it comes to something so important; I can speak clearly, concisely, and professionally about nearly anything: education, money, society, and so on but when someone asks me for my personal feelings towards them, as a person, I often find my tongue and mind to simply not want to cooperate at all, and am left with such nonsense phrases as, "I can't explain it, I just do [love/care for you]!"
This is often inefficient and may have left the other person not believing me whatsoever. And, I don't blame him (or her). But this idea of forms of love--this portrays nearly every thought I've had as of late, and here's how (please note that these do not all describe the same people, or types of love):
I love you when get a text from you, showing that you're using your brain, unlike most highschoolers your age.
I love you when you call me, just to make sure I'm alright.
I love you when you wrap your arms tightly around me.
I love you when complain about work, because you trust me to not judge you based on your opinion of others.
I love you when you say exactly what I'm thinking.
I love you when you say something I can challenge.
I love you when I teach you something new; I also love you when I can learn from you at the same time.
I love you when you take risks for me.
I love you when you look into my eyes, and say nothing.
I love you when you ask me for help, it shows that you think highly of my abilities.
I love you when you take the time to explain what you're thinking; it shows you care about me.
I love you when you tell me I'm beautiful, or gorgeous; I know you never mean (solely) physically.
I love you when you talk about leaving town, and escaping to another state, or even country; it shows me that you have big dreams, and trust me to be able to dream with you.
I love you when you tell me you can't buy my groceries, but will gladly take me grocery shopping with you; it shows me that you value our time together.
I love you when you tell me about being afraid of the future; it shows me that you can depend on me to understand and help in whatever way I can.
I love you when you play me a new song, or recommend a new book; it shows that you want to incorporate me into one of your true loves.
I love you when you play the piano; the improvisation shows you are proud of your talent, and want to share it with me.
I love you when you raise your hand to ask me a question; it shows that you know I'll help you find an answer.
I love you when you call me up late at night; it shows that our old friendship still means to you what it means to me.
I love you when you write me postcards from other states and countries; it shows that, even when away, you're thinking of me.
I love you when I get a message saying, "Morseland tonight?" because it shows I've been incorporated into a strong group of friends with a true bond.
I love you when you kiss me; it tells me that you care much about making me happy as you do being happy.
I love you when I cook you dinner; your appreciation is worth far more than any meal I'll provide you.
I love you when you tell me you don't care that I walk differently, or eat differently, than most people; it shows that you embrace my differences rather than ostracizing me for them.
I love you when you ask my opinion on something, even if it's just clothing, because it shows me that you value my opinion as much as I value yours.
I love you when you tell me I need another surgery, or a new medicine, because it shows that you're trying to preserve my health for as long as possible.
I love you when you talk to me about other girls who are beautiful; it shows that you trust me not to get angry, or jealous. Instead, I learn to respect your opinion; you give me the same in return.
I love you even when you call me with a computer question; though at times it feels as though you're ungrateful, I know you wouldn't feel comfortable calling "just anyone," and it warms my heart to know that you can trust me to be honest and steadfast in helping you.
I love you when you look at me and tell me there is no God, because I believe the same thing, and I revel in the fact that we can bond over this.
I love you when you call me and share your drunken philosophies late at night (or early in the morning), because I have another opportunity to learn more about you.
I love you when you complain about your summer reading; even though you think you're "above" it, I know you'll learn something.
I love you when you text me something so hilariously funny that I have the urge to spit out whatever's in my mouth; it shows me that you know me well enough to know what I'll appreciate, and care about me enough to share it with me.
I love you every day that you don't smoke a cigarette; it shows me that even though you set a bad example for me growing up, you did have the sense to change your ways.
I love you every time you poke me on facebook, because even though we have each moved on to other relationships, it shows that you still think of me as I think of you, and that we can still find some common, communicative ground.
I love you when you tell me you love me; it inspires hope in me that maybe someone realizes love the way in which I have for so long.
So then, what is love? I look at some of the words I use above, and I see: inspire, show, share, teach, learn, opportunity, trust, value, appreciate, bond, friendship...just to name a few. I don't think that love is one thing; rather, love is a combination of some (if not all) of these things. For me, love is not what love is for you. Likewise, for Sally or Tommy or Billy or Jen, love is something entirely different. Love is a moment. And, the people we love the most are those with whom we spend the most loving moments. I'm lucky enough to have a few of those people in my life; though I certainly can't proclaim to spend every single solitary moment loving them, I can say that I spend many moments loving them...inspiring them, trusting them, learning from them, bonding with them, appreciating them, valuing them, sharing with them, showing them (or being shown by them), and so on. Te amo, te amo...it's not one thing. It's many things, and it's amazing.
As I was writing this list and thinking of the people I was describing, it came to my attention that I was not simply describing thoughts. Nor was I simply describing words. Nor was I simply describing actions. I was describing a combination of thoughts, words, and actions, and my reactions to them. As I think about how, when, where, or why I love someone else, I realize that I love each and every person in a different way at a different time. I realize that each person that I love holds a significant place in my life, and I can say that I love each person differently...because there are as many forms of love as there are moments in time, and with each passing moment, I love you in a different way.