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Definition of Love


Sarah Gibson

On Tuesday March 20th, 2001, in my British and World Literature class, our teacher asked us to define the word "love." The idea was that we would all write our own definition and hand them to him. He would then read each one out loud and no one would know who wrote what... not even him (as we were not to put our names on it). Had I have know that he was going to read them I would have written slightly more legible. As it stood, I was not sure he could even make out the first three words. However, I did not have much choice in the matter and sat quietly as he read the other students' works.

Each one was a simply "Love is..." followed by words trying to express the deep feelings that the teenagers around me were trying to grasp. Most were too controlled by hormones even at the time to think of much other than finding that "one" whom they hoped they could ultimately be with. I happened to be sitting in a crowd of Getty girls who squealed and said how cute each definition was. I was not particularly in the mood for their girlishness so I just closed my eyes and concentrated on the words pouring from our teacher's mouth as he tried to recreate the feeling and emotions that he at least hoped were behind the definitions.

The last one was mine. As I had figured he could not read it at all. That's what I get for being the only student who writes in cursive in the school. He stumbled through the first paragraph and kept apologizing. I finally stopped him, "Sir, no offence but you're murdering it. Perhaps I should read it?" He looked at me, thankful that I was not afraid to express my thoughts and feelings with the rest of the class, but I was. I was nervous and my hands had started to become clammy. 

Over the years I have found it to be quite difficult to be different. Those of you familiar with some of my other works, may remember my brilliant attempt to recapture my Sprituality. I have since had many struggles with my parents over the issue of Jesus being the Savior, the church, god and other religious aspects, with the end result being a punishment: me being sent off to boarding school. Granted, I love it here and never wish to return home, but it's the principal of the thing. 

In class I have often found that when I say things everyone ends up starring at me. I'm never sure if this is because they found my remark profoundly intelligent and they cannot reply, or if it is merely that it was so idiotic and they do not wish to hurt my feelings. I'm sure it is probably a healthy mixture of both.

In either case, my answer was different from theirs. I had not written it in the form of "love is..." And after I read it aloud I looked up to see all the faces starring at me... even the teacher (whom later told me that everyone was impressed though I still doubt this). I now present to you my definition of love...

A Definition of Love

An individual once existed who truly demonstrates all the aspects of the indefinable feeling of love. With hopes that you will understand, I present his story to you now...

A war feuded up in his land. A land in which he had been raised. He knew every blade of grass, every person, tree and soul. Here he was happy. Here he could be himself and free. For this he loved the land. Thus, he went to war to fight for something he held so dear to him.

There at war he met a friend. Another man of his age. He liked this man very much. He could talk to him, trust him, believe in him, share in his hopes and dreams, and he was happy for him. For this, he loved his friend.

After war the man returned home to his family. His mother hugged him and held him tight, so happy that he had returned safely. His mother, his father, brothers and sisters shared in his triumphs. These were the people who had taught him life lessons, who were there for him when he was in need. They had provided for him, watched him grow, understood and accepted him. They had a relationship so tight and wonderful that it was bonded by blood. And for this, he loved them.

Then the man met a woman (or man depending on preference) and he felt important, accepted, wanted, cared about, understood, cherished and everything else that is wonderful and good in the world. And all those things he felt from the woman, he felt for the woman as well. She was every other love combined. And for this, he loved her.

And love can only be defined as all these things combined.

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