THIS THING WE CALL LOVE

Another chapter for “The Golden Rules of Love and Other Really Important Stuff

A manuscript written from the personal point of view of having sought to deliberately live, not just get by or pass through life.

As Henry David Thoreau put it in Walden, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, ” …and I want to understand things as they really are and always will be. Not done trying yet…

THIS THING WE CALL…LOVE

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.” -Voltaire

Real love is the most sought after prize in all human endeavor. To understand it requires a lifetime of pondering, practice, and patience. Seekers and those who possess the quality of heart and soul thank God every day for this thing called love. We have witnessed its touch bring renewed hope to the disheartened, pleasure to the eye, a quickening to the soul; for love sustains mankind.

It leads to commitment, then marriage, on to families and as such creates the social bond we call community. It is The Dalai Lama of Tibet who has said: Without the human community one single human being cannot survive.

Love is the glue to every worldly society for it ultimately calls the mother and father home to nurture the rising generation, to hold it together.

True love beckons the brother, sister, friend to give, serve, lift, and care for one another. It calls out to a comrade to risk everything to save another. Of all virtues, true love is the greatest.

No other emotion so powerfully affects us day to day. Love feeds the starving, clothes the naked and cares for the poor, homeless, widowed and fatherless. Love, like fire, burns at different degrees in all of us. The most hardened criminal can be touched by it, given the right mix of feelings and compassion.

I first started reading on the philosophy of love in 1974 when a college student, I found professor of philosophy and comparative religion, Truman Madsen’s words. This simple phrase has stayed with me all these years:“Love is divine fire, with a large F.”

Over two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher Plato said: “At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”

And the 20th century sage and Jesuit Priest, Pierre Teilhard De Chardin put it eloquently in free style verse;

The day will come,
after harnessing space, the winds,
the tides and gravity
we shall harness, for God, the energies of love.
And on that day, for the second time
in the history of the world,
man will have discovered fire.

Love.
Written of.
Spoken about.
Reviled and reveled in.
Played out on screen and stage.

Philosophers have written tomes to fill libraries on it. The religious have enjoined it to the grand purposes of the Gods. Nations have fought wars in the name of it, and men have risked their lives to savor love’s romantic qualities.

When “making love,” in the vernacular of the day, a man and women may reach the zenith of life’s pleasures through physical intimacy. In a committed marriage there is rarely anything to compare with the feeling physical intimacy may bring. Because it is done in the spirit of loving their companion in every way, it strengthens and bolsters the marriage, and increases the pleasure of the experience.

If marriage is sacred, then love making is sacred…

Happiness does not come cheaply, and perhaps there’s the rub. We often find in our present condition that the luster of fidelity has faded. Some film and publishing has elevated sexual intimacy alone to the position where real love had always reigned. As long as the uncommitted “hero” is the one engaged in the “love making” it is seen as a sweet and never ending thing.

When the theatre curtain falls and the lights come on, we awaken and are brought to reality again – life is real, earnest, with commitments to be made and kept.

Is a kiss prelude or postlude? Is the touch of skin meant to be used or shared? What if the Gods arranged sexuality (as I suppose it is) to not only be for propagation of the species but absolutely fulfilling and to be anticipated?

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” -Ingrid Bergman

Sexual intimacy in the committed path, the path of action that blends the passions with the “harnessed energies of love,” as De Chardin put it, works to bond and build and never destroy.

Do I sound like a prude or unrealistic? I’m a man…quite normal and have given this some heart-felt consideration for decades. The bottom line? I love romance and…

I believe sexual intimacy to be sacred, and “love-making” is equally had in the touch of a hand, a kiss, and emotions wrapped in faithfulness; all this to be enjoyed most fully, not the other way around.

A film producer, once considering one of my books for a film project, came to the conclusion, “Hollywood wants hard love stories James, not soft. Sorry.”

“I didn’t know love was hard,” I answered.

Love is a verb and a noun. To explore its dimensions in literature, song, dance, worship, art and service, is to touch the hand of the Divine Creator of the Universe and partner with him in creating a piece of heaven on earth.

Love is vital…food to the soul.

It is an elixir to the spirit.

It quenches spiritual thirst and puts a quicker beat into the heart of one experiencing its taste. The human heart so affected sends life giving fluids at a more rapid rate, bursting through and to every part of one’s being.

To love truly is to be truly alive. It excites and stimulates creativity. It is loud, happy, noisy at times.

It is also the expression of silence in deference to the bereaved.

It is reverent awe at the realization that there exists a benevolent power greater than us all to comfort us in mourning.

It is the joyful sound of children at innocent play.

It is renewal at the first sounds of birth.

It is the final kiss at the brink of death of one beloved.

It is the courage of a soldier for his comrade, and a fellow man offering safety to one he does not know.

It is the flower from the garden to brighten the table and the rose on the grave as if in soliloquy petals have a voice and can whisper for the deceased to hear the words; “I love you.”

…and it is the feeling coming from an unseen world that the deceased love you still.

The Holy Bible says; “God is love.”

Men have fashioned idols to gods they have named for love. If man alone were the final authority his very testimonial in written form and art spanning six millennia of the recorded history of worship suggest he had enthroned love as the ultimate quality divine.

And if divine, love is more than a special way of feeling…

Love is a way of being.

James Michael Pratt

For more about my writings, published books, and other stuff please visit my website: www.jamesmichaelpratt.com

DISCLAIMER: Not an expert, just a seeker.

James Michael Pratt is a New York Times bestselling author, most well known for the highly acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame book-to-film, "THE LOST VALENTINE" and other national bestsellers. His official website and contact information is: www.jamesmichaelpratt.com