In Love with Love

These lonely hearts… one way or another, will come face to face with a picture of Love: soft kisses, whispers of sweet nothings, and the little gestures… and they will look at envy, and wish for the same. But are they really looking for someone to love, or the feeling of love?

“Cheers! Here’s to Love”
– From the movie, Down With Love

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, the plight of solitary souls is magnified. These souls, whether those who have never had romantic experience, or the victim of a broken relationship, watch with envy—and at times, resentment—couples who are happy in each other’s company. To them, it seemed that the air is sweeter and the world more colorful around these couples. The sight of them seems to add to the misery of the solitary soul, as they feel seemingly aware, that they are the only ones left without company (though hundreds, maybe millions, might be sharing the same sentiment at different parts of the world—or maybe even in the same area).

They react in different ways, always discrediting Valentine’s. They ignore it, and call it a “commercial holiday that is capitalized by the large corporations”. Others despair that it is one more year alone—that perhaps they weren’t meant to be with someone. And all of them, at one point or another, one way or another, will come face to face with a picture of Love: maybe soft kisses among young lovers, or one leaning against the shoulder of another while watching the sunset, or maybe even exchanging sweet nothings. It would seem that there is nothing more that melts one’s heart than the sight of these.

But are we really looking for someone to love, or someone to feel love?

I won’t deny it. I’m a sucker for love stories. I watch classic romantic films with avid attention: When Harry Met Sally, Pride and Prejudice, Serendipity, and others. I belong to the legion of the solitary souls who can only sigh and listen with envy at the people who talk of (or with) their significant others, and wonder if that could ever be me. And I get miserable thinking that right now, I’m not. Yet how am I different, from the character of Marisa Tomei, who, given a gentle nudge and a name—Damon Bradley­—races halfway through the world to find a man who she never even met? She wasn’t looking for her “destined soul”, but the “love” from that “destined soul”. Do you see the flaw in this logic? You’re not after the person, but the feeling of “love” from that person. For all intents and purposes, it could be any person!

There’s nothing wrong with longing for butterflies in the stomach, or to fall head over heels over someone, or to be inspired with the sight of a beautiful soul… but if you long only to feel it, people get hurt. You insult their self-worth: what are they, instruments for affection? You should seek them, and profess love for them not because you need to feel completed, but because you need to be completed by them. See the difference?

Love has deeper elements in play. It is not merely a choice to love—as this would lead to an empty relationship, and the coldness of a contract. It is not merely the feeling, as that would make it superficial. Love is not even just commitment… that would be love for the sake of love, which is the whole point of this article’s lesson. It is the summation of all these, and more.

The late Bishop Fulton Sheen once remarked, “…you’re not looking for love, you’re looking for healing…”. There is nothing wrong with feeling incomplete without somebody. And there is nothing wrong with longing for this degree of love: Eros. It shows that we are human, and we are imperfect. But we must also understand that love is not sought for the sake of love. Love is the search for a kindred soul, someone you can share your thoughts and ideas with, to argue heatedly with, to be possibly your worst enemy and at the same time your best friend. It is even more than just this.

Love is a deep commitment that takes time. It is not only a commitment to feel, or to act, but to understand, and thus experience.