Over the weekend I spent a lot of time meditating and writing, and as often happens when I go to that “place” where my ideas collide with the inspiration of my higher power, I heard music. It was very faint, and I could just make out part of the refrain:
“Call it love . . .”
It seemed so familiar, yet so distant. I did a search on YouTube and rediscovered one of my favorite tunes from my high school days –Call It Love by Poco.
This song is more than twenty years old. I know that because the Hermitage Class of 1993 is planning its 20th reunion. I haven’t bought my ticket yet because I’m still in denial.
Which brings me to the subject of this little musical meditation. What I used to label as “love” I now recognize as “denial,” and nothing helps me see it better than a peppy little late-80s pop song, generally not the source of great spiritual wisdom.
Like most teenagers, I had some pretty distorted perceptions about love, and I carried them with me into my twenties and marriage. Love was what made me feel better about myself. Love was finding someone who would tell me their secrets and listen to mine, preferably in the first hour of knowing each other. Love was having crazy-making conflicts about religion and politics, because the opposite of love was not hate, but detachment. Love was putting up or shutting up when it came to sex (and it wasn’t always me who had to “put up,” either; I issued my fair share of ultimatums). It was about security and stability, especially financially. It was about saying what you wanted to hear and hearing what I wanted you to say, eyes wide open. It was about finding the right “fit” – someone whose strengths made up for my weaknesses, and whose weaknesses allowed me to shine.
I’m so grateful I’ve gone through a divorce, because without it I may have carried these distorted perceptions to the grave with me, never knowing that calling these behaviors “love” didn’t make them love, just enabled me to deny how immature they were. When all you’ve got is ego-boosting, hyper-bonding, arguing, manipulation, fear, lying, appeasement, and co-dependency, you call it love. To call it what it was would be admitting I didn’t have the first clue about what love really is.
I don’t claim to know now, either. But at least I know what it is not. And I think it goes something like this:
When it’s all you got, don’t call it love. Let it go. There’s something better.