Of Love and Life.


Romantic Love.

It’s not the butterflies you feel in your gut.

It’s not the excitement of a first kiss.

It’s not the romantic dinners, fancy vacations, long walks on the beach.

It sure is not something you fall into.

Such love is the kind we mostly dream of and fantasize about. The kind we show off to our friends, the kind that takes over our Facebook news feed. This love feels sweet. This love feels exciting. This love, we let sweep us off our feet, into the heavens and get lost in dreams.

Surprisingly, this love is easy. If you’ve realized this, you’ve come a long way.

I’ve come a long way.

Real love is not something you fall into. It’s something you choose to practice. Day in and day out, not only through joy, laughter and bliss, but also through struggles, fears, and failures. It’s something you actively choose. The real, deep, genuine kind of Love is too deep, drenched in reality. The real kind of love requires so much struggle, so much awareness, so much strengths and commitment. The longer its life time, the stronger it becomes, the sweeter.

It’s easy to be in love when the road is easy. When the sacrifices revolve around letting her pick where to eat dinner or letting him control the TV remote. When apologies revolve around why she was late for a date or why he seemed to avoid dinner with her friends. For whatever reason, we have come to believe that this is love.

Inevitably, the everyday, banal and harsh realities of life will teach us that we are sourly mistaken. This love as sweet as it feels, is fleeting. It doesn’t like pains or struggles. When it faces them, it falls apart. But, If we’re lucky this love can be the foundation of the real kind of love to come. Most of us can fall in the easy kind of love, indeed, most of us have. But the real kind – you need the strength, the patience and the commitment to be deserving of it.

And the lesson begins when two people commit to each other, be it while amongst friends and family or amongst themselves and God. How easy it is to say the words… through sickness and health, through wealth or destitution, through fear and joy, through it all. How different it is to live it, how rare.

Love, I read somewhere, is about bottomless empathy. Love is when you truly identify with the struggles and joys of someone else as if they were your own. It’s choosing to realize the other person is as real, as needy, as sensitive as you, and at times, just as lost.

Love, I’ve recently learned, if done right, is one of the most powerful weapons that can help us go through this life, not as mere survivors, but as worthy humans. It’s what gives us the strength and the courage to go after our dreams, to not be shackled by our fears, reminding us we are only human, so insignificant, so weak, so needy, yet very much worthy.

When you love someone, in the real sense of the term, You not only find yourself saying you will constantly choose to be there, but you will find yourself actually doing it. You will find yourself doing it in the most trite, “unsexy,” yet so meaningful of ways. You will find yourself genuinely believing how beautiful she is when conventional wisdom, so unwisely, may say otherwise. You will find yourself letting him dump his anger and frustrations on you, because you realize he’s doing it because you’re his safe haven. You’ll find yourself making excuses after excuses when she behaves in the most irrational of ways. You’ll find yourself hurting by his pains. Her loss will feel like your loss. You will find yourselves sitting side by side, together, lost, confused, at times defeated, yet you will remain there, choosing the struggle.  And that’s when you’ll be a witness of the sweet and merciful side of life. You will be the witness for the knowledge that truly “with hardship, there will be ease.” Because you chose to love, you will experience the strengths and courage that comes with it, the ease within the struggle.

But I wonder how many of us will be able to experience such kind of love. I wonder how many of us still remain relatively unchanged by our current world of individualism, consumerism and narcissism. I wonder how many of us have the guts for such kind of love. The kind that requires bravery of the heart and acuteness of the mind. The kind that reminds us that you or I, as unfortunate as it sounds, are not the center of the universe, yet lets us know that is exactly how it should be.

I wonder.

Tena Yistelegn.

6 thoughts on “Of Love and Life.

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