Love is one of those words I sometimes try not to say. Not that I don’t love the idea of love, or the many and varied things is represents. It’s just that it’s been pretty well co-opted by the greeting card companies and the New Agers, until it’s become virtually meaningless, or so gooey and devoid of actual feeling that it resembles the cover of a romance novel more than, say, the ferocity of a mother lifting a car off her baby.
I found this poem today, when searching for a verse to engrave inside my husband’s and my new wedding bands (he lost his around a month ago, and we agreed to both get new ones). It’s be Rumi, and goes like this:
I am your moon and your moonlight too/I am your flower garden and your water too/I have come all this way, eager for you/Without shoes or shawl/I want you to laugh/To kill all your worries/To love you/To nourish you.
It’s one of those poems that makes me want to fall to my knees in gratitude, that someone from the 13th century, in a country I’ve never been to, somehow gets the way I love, the way I want to love my partner, and the way he loves me. We do make each other laugh, a lot, and want to obliterate all that hurts the other while providing spiritual, mental, emotional and physical nourishment.
But I can’t throw the word love out with the bathwater, so I tried reframing it. I saw it in a word cloud, trying to give the word broader borders. It had to have softer connotations, like cuddling and holding and kissing in the rain. But it had to capture that wilder, crazy side of love, the part that feels out of control, or borderless. Ferocious, tenuous, warrior-like and true joined the cloud, until the word had so many possible permutations that it felt like something so integral to our being that it simply can’t not exist. Like water, like air, like love.