So you see, it’s like this. Sometimes, you like someone. You want good things for them. You want to see them happy. You want to see them healthy. And so you hope for those good things for them. You ask, concerned, when you see them, how things are going, and when they complain, you commiserate. You say, “Oh, that’s terrible. Oh, how can I help? Oh, can I pray for you?” You say nice things, and if that person offers up something for you to do, you do it. You wear a smile. You show up early. You give her a hug afterwards. You follow-up with a phone call a couple of days later. You write a letter encouraging your friend a week later, and ensure that there is extra postage on it so that it’s guaranteed to get there. You care. You do. But you don’t really love.
In the next step, you love. In this, you not only care, you try. You go out of your way. You not only call, you come over and bring soup. You lay her down on the bed and sit with her while she is throwing up. You run a cool bath and give her the time she needs to relax, to cool down, to reset. You wait; you give of Yourself. You let go of you for a little bit. You are more than a friend. You are a lover. You care. You care. You are part of life, and you become integral.
Finally, though, the last step is LOVE. Before was love, which was an emotion – a good feeling. After that – even further – down the line is LOVE. Not just sacrificing – not just giving up a little bit. This LOVE is more than just standing separate and encouraging. This part is integration. This is to take on another’s burden as your own. This is to become part of another – to have another become part of you. To segregate would, instead of bringing a split, would require a rending – a tearing. A dissolution. This is not easy. This does not just happen. This is an act, a practice, a process, which will not go down quickly. This will not be easy. Because it is not a coming near, as is like. It is not a coming alongside, as is Love. It is LOVE, which is a blending and an integration and a connection deeper than a physical one. It is a way to live, not just living. It is goals and dreams, hopes and aspirations, trepidations and fears. It is widespread panic infused with terminal calm. It is a terror of the heart; it is a torture of the soul. So – what is love? Who can tell?