I use many big words in my art and in my world. My vocabulary is not without it's limits, but my grasp of the English language is fairly extensive by most standards. Yet... for so few letters, there is no word I use, that is quite so large... as "Love".
Those four small letters carry such a massive weight... so many meanings in the subtleties and subtext. In most languages, there are dozens of different words to describe what, in English, all are lumped under the single term: Love.
I love my dog.
I love bacon.
I love this new iPhone!
I loooove lazy summer days lounging in a hammock in my garden.
I love Italian food, and Italian words rolling off the tongue.
I love the child that i carried in my womb.
I love my brothers and sisters....
I don't know how any of this applies to you.
Lustful blindness is sometimes called love.
Chocolates, and flowers and heart shaped jacuzzis is called love.
Wrinkled old bodies that no longer even share the same bedroom much less press their lips together, after 50 years spent together is called love...
I haven't used this word yet with you... maybe that is because it is too early... too soon... too something. But then again, I don't now who holds the standard that I must use to measure the language of my heart. Maybe it's too much... too soon... or too little? Or; Maybe I haven't because I am not sure that it means, what it is that I mean to say. I am not sure that it means the same thing as I have used it to mean in other lifetimes with other people. I use it freely and abundantly with friends and family... sometimes even with acquaintances that I feel a soulful connection with. But it feels strange and awkward to apply it to you when I think of the times I've said it to those I shared a bed with, and how I felt about them, and how it was similar, and yet somehow so much different... I don't want to devalue that which I feel growing stronger in me with each passing day. Its such a small word to contain so very many thoughts and feelings that your presence in my life, has been inspiring in me...
If I said "I love you" would it speak the whole of what I truly feel? Or would it speak, to you, of all those that came before me? Would it stir your fears? Poke and prod your insecurities? Would it conjure images of those who went before; the unique ways that they showed you care and connection as well as their mistakes, betrayals, and miscommunications? Would that enter into your brain, and unconsciously peg me as the same?
Love does not stick in my throat because I am afraid of the enormity of it (well maybe just a little afraid...). nor am I afraid of its current (growing) state, it's boundless potential, or it's many forms. Speaking it out loud does nothing more than acknowledge that which exists.
It is there already...
It floats in your consciousness as well as mine, and I can see that clearly. It is what guides my lips and my hands when I am as close to you as skin will allow. It is what caresses my shoulders and whispers projects and plans to span across changing seasons in your ear. It is the patience that rises in you when my son's panicked expression tells you that he has no idea how to respond to the gruffness of your masculine voice and you soften just a bit when you repeat yourself. It is the patience that flows forth in me when I sooth your daughters foreign tears over breakfast sandwiches... where my son's familiar eyes would be dry. When I adjust my words to convey kindness and concern for her heart, even when I am firm in ways she finds unfamiliar. It is spread across the awesome sandwich I slipped in your lunchbag, and in the thankful message you sent me as you ate it. Love is in those vulnerable spaces I am opening to you, even though it is unnerving after so many years of holding them back from every other human on earth. It is in the gentle intention you enter those spaces with. It is in your eyes when they flirt across the room, as much as it is when they are six inches from mine and begging me to let you in...
It is the possibility of what we could create together in wood, in steel, or in flesh. It is nurture on mountain top trails. It is meeting halfway across the water with a life vest... Matching the rhythm of your row to help carry the weight. It is remembering and recognizing the importance of small details... listening to what my mouth is saying, and sometimes listening to what my eyes are saying despite my mouth saying not much of anything at all...
When I say "I love you", I will mean all of these things. When I say "I love you" I will mean that I want to explore so many more mountains, plant more garden beds, bandage more small knees, and build and sculpt with you, amazement of all shapes and kinds. I will mean, that I see a light in your heart that is slowly but surely washing away my fears of whatever darkness each of us carry in these bags and suitcases we haul along on this road. I see a light that can not only withstand mine, but that is willing and able to merge flames to create something greater and brighter than either of us could alone. I see already, ample evidence of humility, integrity, hope, kindness, and honesty more abundant in you than in many (most) other men who have passed my way. When I say "I love you" what I will mean, is that I strongly suspect that we might have what it takes, between the two of us, to not only weather life's storms, but to THRIVE and enjoy the ride. When I say it... I will mean that I want to do things with you that I've never yet wanted to (or thought it was reasonable or possible to) do with any other. That I want to hold you and kiss you and care for you so unbelievably good... and that I want to trust and allow you do the same for me. So that all the years of each of us struggling to be seen and appreciated will fade into a dusty monochromatic photo, in an album, on a shelf, in our warm, colorful, cozy, bursting with LIFE home. When I say I love you it will mean far (far) more than ANY four little letters could say. More than all the letters I've strung together here and now could say. Probably even more than bandaids, and bedroom eyes, and back rubs, and sandwiches can say (though they come closer than words could ever dream of). When I say "I love you" it won't do any justice at all to what I really want to say about what grows bigger every day within my heart and soul... but those words will have to do.