Love is intending to walk to the master bathroom in order to brush your teeth, seeing an unmade bed, and making it right now. Love is not Burning Man.
You see, love is evinced in all the small acts of kindness, gentleness, and care, all of which slowly chip away at selfish desire. For selfish desire is, as the Buddha taught, the great impediment to peace but also, let’s add, to the pedestrian expression of the true love I mean.
After all, love is not the rush of fervor that comes from a weeklong retreat or the woosh of togetherness at the end of a concert. Ecstasy is not love.
In fact, manufactured intimacy is not love either. Feeling “one with me” can be just an easy way for you to forget about me when I have my head in the toilet and my gut is wrenching out my guts.
Because most of life–everyone’s, I mean–is not at all sexy. Not one bit. Nor is it dramatically exciting, titillating, or flow state-y. There ain’t one bit of adventure or mystery involved in washing the dishes, cutting back some aggressive Russian sage, brushing your puppy’s teeth as he squirms about, doing taxes for the sake of the family, or running errands.
For that matter, there’s nothing jazzy about checking up on someone because you remember that there was that ‘minor thing’ she’d mentioned some weeks back. You remember–you hold her in mind–because you care, and that care is as modest, as unassuming, and as selflessly honest as it could possibly be.
Being in love is not falling in love. And while falling in love is as beautiful as it is uplifting, it’s being able to be in love with others–that is, being able to love each as he or she needs–that’s where it’s at.
You know people are lonely today because they’re not in love, in this sense. But love, in this sense, is the very essence of caritas: of charitable, outflowing, selfless love. And it’s charitable love that we hungrily need today.