Valentine’s Day: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

P1040179In conversations with my mother, as we both age, we have been reviewing different times and events in life. Thirty five years have passed since I lived at home. Still events from childhood (or parenting from her perspective), college, marriage, and various family trips dominate these discussions. Sometimes we reflect on humorous or sad anecdotes. Other times we touch on concepts about relationships. Some time we skip back before my birth for stories of her years of growing up. A theme that we have been exchanging is the idea of love. What is it? How do we express it? How do we learn about it?

I recall from my Christian upbringing, four terms of love from Greek words: eros, storga, philia, and agape. The first is sexual enactment of love (aka lust, let’s be honest, married couples can make woopie). The second is love within a family. The third friendship love. The forth is giving without regard to one’s self (in our church this was affiliated with connecting with the divine). http://totescute.com/four-types-of-love-greek-style/

Over the course of growing up, and transitioning through adolescence to adulthood, those definitions never provided me with much direction. Love seemed be lost among the flippant, overused sentimentalities. Little of substance could be found during my coming of age in the late 1970’s and ’80’s. I think of Tina Turner’s hit song from that era, What’s Love Got To Do With It.

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken

Granted, Ms. Turner was singing about that erotic love, mostly, but she does beg the questions of whether being hot-and-bothered was the same as being in love. Furthermore, calling love a “second hand emotion” eludes to how meaningless the term had become.

This song also stands out for me because of my own errors in relationships at the time. I had pursued relationships, believing my youthful expectations about love, only to have those broken-hearts. I recall that one of the tasks that I did after one of those relationships ended was to comb through my records (those black, vinyl discs) to find all the heart-break songs that I could. “Heart Break Hotel” (Elvis), “Ain’t Misbehaving” (Fats Waller), “I Won’t Stand in Your Way” (Stray Cats)… I recorded these onto a 90 minute cassette tape (those little cartridges with brown tape that liked to warp in your car when it got hot). What’s Love Got To Do With It was on that tape. Maybe it acted like a desensitization therapy, as I listened to that over-and-over.

I’ve been taking on a new direction
But I have to say
I’ve been thinking about my own protection
It scares me to feel this way

Since my 20’s, I have pretty much discarded the word “love” from my conversations. I use it sparingly, when ending a letter (those pieces of paper on which you write words and sentences to send to someone). Because I believe in what words mean, I do not toss it about lightly. Furthermore, I can generate a list of other words that more accurately describe what my sentiment is: caring, kindness, generosity, patience, giving, sacrifice, forgiveness, understanding, interest, not to mention all those hanky-panky words for eros.

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a sweet old fashioned notion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Maybe I am cynical and jaded. Maybe I am protecting myself. Maybe I have not practiced using this word. This brings us back to those conversations with my mother. We discussed both the verbal and action expressions of love between parents and young children. Cuddling, rocking, and nursing with infants. Crawling around on the floor with toddlers. Running in the park and reading to elementary age sons and daughters.

I identify love more as an action than an verbalization. But, actions are prone to interpretations, which may or may not be what the person performing the act intended. Maybe, I thought that I was acting out of love, but someone else saw a self-serving behavior. I have been re-thinking whether the sincerity of saying “love” has as much value as doing a loving action.

Some twenty or so years ago, my wife first heard a blues singer, Marsha Ball at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. One of her songs is The Power of Love. While this is a romantic song, Ms. Ball also evokes some ideas about love.

I believe
That it’s a miracle
That I found you
And made you mine

I am not one much set for finding, let alone defining, what a miracle is. However, in our random-relationship society meeting someone with common background, insights, and interest is pretty close to a miracle. Bonding, and staying with that person doubles that miracle. Maybe love is part of that miracle which binds us as friends, rather than allowing us to drift apart, passing briefly in each other’s lives. Beyond romantic love, maybe its a miracle that we are born into families, randomly, but with effort, persistence, and perseverance, we can actually find that we like each other. Love, rather than obligation, keeps us together. At at times, we might put ourselves out now and then for someone else’s benefit, even when it is not apparent that the favor is coming back our way. Love might guide us to act without regard to ourselves.

In my life
I’ve had so much happiness
But the greatest joy
That I’ve ever known
But the fulfillment
Of every woman’s dream
To find love
And call it my own
And our love grows everyday
In so many ways
I just can’t get over
the power of love

Given the ephemeral and superficial nature of so many of our social customs, how do we give that power of love a voice? How do we speak of love with sincerity and clarity that the one to whom we speak hears us, rather than the din of Subaru advertisements, announcing a Love Event?

And I thank you every day
In so many ways
I just can’t get over
the power of love

Gratitude. Thank the ones who love you. That might be the power of love. Valentines Day greetings.

P1040177What’s Love Got To Do With It

You must understand
That the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it’s only the thrill
Of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract

It’s physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore
That it means more than that

[Chorus:]

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken

It may seem to you
That I’m acting confused
When you’re close to me
If I tend to look dazed
I’ve read it someplace
I’ve got cause to be

There’s a name for it
There’s a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason
You do it for me

[Chorus]

I’ve been taking on a new direction
But I have to say
I’ve been thinking about my own protection
It scares me to feel this way

[Chorus]

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a sweet old fashioned notion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

P1030804Power of Love

I believe
That it’s a miracle
That I found you
And made you mine

And it’s a miracle
That love can grow
So much
In so little time

And I thank you every day
In so many ways
I just can’t get over
the power of love

The power of love
Can move a mountain
But nothing
Nothing can move me
and I feel the power
when we touch
and I love you
I love you so much
I just can’t get over
the power of love

In my life
I’ve had so much happiness
But the greatest joy
That I’ve ever known

But the fulfillment
Of every woman’s dream
To find love
And call it my own
And our love grows everyday
In so many ways
I just can’t get over
the power of love

The power of love
Can move a mountain
But nothing
Ah nothing can move me
I feel the power when we touch
and I love you
I love you so much
I just can’t get over
the power of love

I just can’t get over the power of love.

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About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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8 Responses to Valentine’s Day: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

  1. The Vicar says:

    Thanks Hermit. Just had a chance to read this to Mom over a cup of coffee. A wonderful start to the day. Love ya! (really).

  2. ‘All we have is love…..
    All we have is love
    All we have is love, love, love is all we have’ 😉

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I see your wink emogi… should I concluded that you are putting the sentimentality of the Beattle’s song into the category of what-trivialized-love-in-the-’70’s? I will reply back with lyrics from Larry Norman’s 1973 song, Reader’s Digest, “The Beattles said ‘All you need is love’ then they broke up’? Don’t get me started up (Rolling Stone’s reference to their 1980’s Steel Wheel’s album). :O

  3. Mother Suzanne says:

    Beautiful, Oscar. True love is very complex but for me it has always been “to never burn a bridge you might have to walk over”. The gift of unconditional love. You have taught me much.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Complexity requires time… I actually wrote this on the plane flight home… a year ago after my February visit and discussions about love. I pondered when to post it. Now, seemed to be the time. Lots of Love.

  4. tnkburdett says:

    You and Linda are a perfect example of love getting stronger and deeper over time. True soul mates from the beginning. Love has everything to do with it.

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