I don’t pretend to know much. A friend of mine asked me today “What is this all for?” It is an age old question and there is only one answer that I can see: love.
Before you tune me out, let me explain, this is not about religion or some belief system and it is not about having an answer because love is not a sufficient answer to the meaning of life, it is just the best I can see from my humble position.
One of the problems with love as the answer to the meaning of life is the definition of love. Just the dictionary on my tablet has about five hundred words defining love. And of course the meaning is limited to my experience of, well, love.
As an answer, it is really another question. Love is so much more than I can say because I know I have only experienced a part of this love. In those moments of clarity and vision love is so vast that the end of it is not even in sight.
My experience of love comes from others: my dog, great grandmother, father, brother, sister, teacher, lover, wife, children. Loving myself all depends on people. The love of God depends on an another difficult source and that is faith, perhaps faith is a topic for another day and yet is a big part of taking the next breath.
By depending on people we can rely on disappointment. I am not a nihilist, or love would not be my answer to the question on the meaning of life. Someone might be lucky enough to have people around them that never and have never disappointed them, but I have yet to meet that person.
So, our experience of love is highly dependent on how people treat us and feel about us. Feelings can be difficult to translate. What is meant to be a loving hand can also feel like a violent hand. Trauma is nearly universal and once experienced leaves an individual in a state of shock, disbelief and confusion.
This confusion limits our ability to trust. How can we trust love when, at some point, we all die?
Love is in everything. Every breath has love in it. Not the gushy kind of love or the romantic and sexual kind of love or even brotherly love but a magic kind of love that is the base for all feelings, all life. This all powerful love has the power to make people and other animals do the most amazing things.
There is love in sadness, for without love there would be no sadness and there is love in anger for there would be no disrespect without love. This “Higher Love”, as Peter Gabriel put it, is what allows a person to forgive their abusers. Even more unimaginable, the power to forgive the abuser of their children. Seeing this in action is a privilege of what I get to do for work.
When I can stop, even in a traumatic moment of confusion, and take inventory of what is really present in a moment, at the very core is the magical love. This is what I value most of life itself. Beneath all frustration and hatred is fear, and fear is about loss. Loss of what? Well, love (yet again).
There is love in every breath, for without it there would be no life, because life on this planet requires sacrifice. No one would sacrifice themselves for someone else without love. It is far more than an instinct.
Love is an energy that outlives life. Just think of someone you have lost. That feeling of love for them has outlast them and is still present to this moment.
The argument has been made that we have evolved to love because those that loved made for better survivors than those who did not (studies of those who sacrifice their lives for others find that the person sacrificing to save another experience a kind of ecstasy). That may or may not be the case, we can only guess.
I use the word magic with love because how can one thing be so many things, yet it always is? If I could have anything said about me it would be that I helped love grow. It is the reason for life, and as we approach eight billion people on our planet, I hope that each of us can experience this bigger magic love.
Yesterday was mine and Marla’s and my 26th wedding anniversary. Marriage is only one example of why love has to be the ultimate answer to “Why life?”. There is no way two people could make it together for so long, especially after the things I have put her through.
The Beatles were right “all you need is love, love is all you need.”
Another defining characteristic of love that is not in the dictionary is that love is a choice. Even at the ugliest moment, we have the power to experience this magic love. There are those that choose against it, and well there is love in the sadness I feel for them.
So it is love that endures. I hope those of you that have read this can stop now for just a minute, quiet the voices in your head, and feel the magic power of love. It is the only reason worth being alive.
For me I choose love, and I hope you will join me here where the magic happens.