People have a penchant for thinking that love is an exciting, dangerous, threatening and otherwise stimulating adventure. The ups and downs, the game, flirtation, the ability to exist in a world of pulsating lights within the darkness of a club. This is love as depicted in romantic tragedies and films. It's comprised of passion. It also involves each party destroying the other, even if it's not intentional.
A friend of mine updated his Facebook status with the statement:
"Good relationships are like fireworks: loud, exciting, and liable to maim you if you hold on too long" - Q.C.(a web comic)
But as I read Lucky by Alice Sebold, it occurs to me that this is not my conception of love at all. Love is in the quiet, in the stillness, in the small tasks that are done for you to demonstrate care. Coming home to a house where the laundry has been folded, the dishes washed, and the floor mopped, and where all these chores have been accomplished in order to ease your burden- this is love. The hand that holds yours as you stand by the witness stand. Love is support; it is coming on board for the long haul. When I think of love, the strongest image that comes to mind is two hands nestled together- a mother with her baby's, a husband and a wife's. That grip to me symbolizes the union in which they each help the other stand no matter the blows or challenges that come their way.
I value strength in love. I value the people who will stand by you and who will not allow themselves to fall apart when they are needed. I value the ones who will hold your hand tightly in order to let you know that they are there. I value brave lovers who have the heart and the ears to listen to details that are grisly and gruesome and nevertheless true. Cowardice is not a trait I respect in love or otherwise.
There was a line that struck me in particular in Lucky.
"Mary Alice wasn't leaving until later in the day. She had done instinctively what few people do in the face of a crisis: She had signed on for the whole ride." -Lucky by Alice Sebold, page 28
Those people- the ones who sign on for the whole ride- they are the ones who know what the meaning of love really is.