Monday, November 5, 2007

Young Love

Love is the blessing and the curse of this world. Without it, we could not call ourselves human, but with it, we are doomed to live with the concequences it brings. It's the most precious thing we have to give, but does that mean we should keep it for only a precious few? Loving all human beings is an answer for some, but is the risk of having it abused too high? The word itself gets abused. Those who feel the power that the emotion represents will only tell certain people "I love you". Others will pull it out of nowhere, sometimes to people they've hardly met. Often they don't mean it, it only serves as a way to describe a feeling towards them at that particular moment. Someone might tell another that they love them, when they are actually only feeling gratitude, joy, and sometimes only sorrow. Love could very well be that simple at times, but it is only a temporary lure.

When we are little, we are taught to love our parents and grandparents. But are we really taught? Do we need telling to love our parents? Maybe we do when we get a little older and into the rebellion stages of life, but usually not when we are little. Our parents are the ones always there, calming us when we are scared or angry, feeding us, playing with us, teaching us to wash our hands, brush our teeth, and not to cross the street without them. All the while, they are telling us that they love us. Even when we are small and our brains "aren't fully developed", we can still have a perspective on what love is. Love is what made our parents do all those things for us, it's what made them read us bed time stories and kiss us goodnight. Love is what made our tiny insignificant lives special. So is it safe to say that we know love better when we are young than when we get older? Children do have minds like a sponge, they can take up almost any concept faster than we can at an older age. True, there are more aspects about love that we cannot learn as children, but what we do learn seems pretty sufficient to me. When we in turn tell our parents that we love them, it's the truth. It's odd then, that we are told as children that we are too young to love, that we don't know what love is. We should encourage it. We don't want our children to be hurt by love, but love surrounds them from the start. Childhood love is one of the greatest parts of our youth, sometimes of our whole lives. I'm sure there are cases where two people who grew up together found it quite easy to spend the rest of their lives together. I was struck by love when I was little, and there is no denying it helped me learn what love was. Sometimes I would see a girl for the first time and immediately think I was in love, only to be dissapointed when we couldn't get along. I got it right once, maybe twice, but they ended up moving away, and so I moved on.

Childhood love comes in two parts, as does the love we experience in every other stage of life. The first is the parental love: the love we have for our parents and grandparents which lasts forever; and the introduction to love outside our immediate family: the pretty girls who beat us at basketball, the ones we throw rocks at, and maybe eventually pick "flowers" that are actually weeds for them. Sometimes it can last, but usually it's a small preview of what to expect later on. It serves as a guide that tells us to be cautious when we give others our hearts, but also not to fight love when it slaps us in the face.

There are many more phases of love which I think I could do better justice for in another post, be the question I have of childhood love is: Is what I just described as the reason behind young love really true? Why did God give us this wild emotion, at least at such a young age? We ask God why we suffer when love hurts us, and it's no different when we are little. Parents and other adults try to steer us away from it so we can't get hurt, but we feel it all the same, so we get hurt just as easily. Love can't be pushed away, because it's a trait that God gave us when he made us human. If children weren't meant to experience love, then we would think that God would have blocked that part of our learning process. He didn't, therefore loving beyond our parental love must have a reason. I can't answer it for certain, but I've given my ideas. It's a fun thing to ponder.

1 comment:

Paul Devitto said...

Why God imparted to us the ability to love is an interesting questions. But one which I think is even more mind-boggling is why does God (in Christianity anyway) tell us to love even those who harm us just as we love ourselves, just as we love those close to us. The idea I'm taking here is the notion of 'love your neighbor as you love yourself'. Everyone, even your closest relative, is a neighbor. But it seems that some neighbors, with what concerns love, have a different aspect that seem more deserving of one's love. And yet, there is this equalizing effect in Christianity (ideally speaking anyway) which seems to level the playing field. You could argue that neighbor means this or that; but you could also argue what I take it to mean. If one does, certain difficulties arise. Kierkegaard says that love of the neighbor subsumes even love of one's own wife. For him, love of the neighbor is a higher love because it transcends individuality. What this means I have no idea. I mean, I know what the words mean; but I don't know what it means, personally, to put a neighbor above my wife, say for example, in a crisis situation. Call me a bad Christian, but wife first.