Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I was watching a movie the other night. I would not call it a particularly good movie, in fact, I won’t even bother to mention the title because it is not really the point of these thoughts. However, there was a line in the film that got me thinking. I know, you’re probably wondering, “OK, what’s he thinking about now?” But here’s the deal. One of the characters was saying that he had heard from several Hospice workers he knew that, when on their deathbed, the two questions the dying seemed to ask themselves were, 1) “Have I ever loved anybody?” And 2) “Has anybody ever loved me?”
Interesting questions.

Interesting because they are the kind of questions that, I think, we would seem to take for granted. “Of course I’ve loved somebody, and of course somebody has loved me.” Seems like a no-brainer, the kinds of questions one could answer without really even having to think about it. But are they really?

If love is so prevalent, and so common in an individual, why is it that one of the two deathbed questions just happens to be “Have I ever loved anybody?”

To even address such a question, I suppose, one might think they have to first define the concept of Love. And that begs the question, “Should Love be defined according to accepted religious and historical definitions?, should it be defined by a predetermined standard of actions?, according to a personal and intimate feeling?, or even according to what I want Love to mean?” Should Love even be defined at all? Now granted, on one’s deathbed one is not necessarily going to analyze the meaning of love. In fact, I think that in such a unique situation one would know intuitively, instinctively even, the answer to such questions. The ‘meaning’ of Love would probably not even be a consideration. The ‘reality’ of Love, however, would be. But the idea of Love should be a personal consideration for the rest of us; those with time left on earth, and I believe it should be a consideration long before we ever reach those final moments of our lives.

So, is Love an intellectual concept? Is it an action? Is Love a feeling? Is it an elusive, and esoteric phenomena? You might think it is, more likely than not, all of that and more. I personally believe that Love is the embodiment of the Divine, which cannot be defined by us, but rather, must be defined, internally, for us.
But that’s just me.

“I love you” is thrown around these days like ecstasy at a late-night rave, like confetti on New Years Eve, like dust in a warm desert wind. But saying it does not necessarily enable it. Those words, spoken, are generally based on a feeling, a momentary, transitory feeling, and they do tend to, in my opinion, cheapen the very concept of love. In fact, friends, and family members even, will lie to you with one breath, and then say “I love you” with the next. It happens every day. “Love you brother” is a common social closure among friends; but without the commitment of the “I” at the beginning of the statement it is able to avoid being a dishonest proclamation while masquerading as honesty. Good friends and family members will use the “Love You” evasion as well. But sometimes, I acknowledge, the intention will be compromised out of fear, rather than for lack of sentiment.
Sad, but true.

“Love” is a very loaded concept, and a very uncertain proposition for most people. It is also an attribute we wish to identify with, whether we know what it really is, or not.
I think that is why people use the term so indiscriminately, and so carelessly.

Most people are afraid of what they don’t understand.
I think that most people are afraid of Love.

“Have I ever loved anybody? Has anybody ever loved me?”
That is something one cannot know about another,
something one can only ask themselves.