Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love Untwined

"Some day, when we have harnessed the power of the sun and the waves and gravity, we will learn how to harness the power of love. And then, for the second time, we will have discovered fire." -- Teillard de Chardin

My blog-sister Louise (Recover Your Joy) tells me that there is an African tribe that does not have a word for "love." Instead they say, "I am beautiful in my heart for you." I don't know which I am more struck by ... a culture without a word for love or the beauty of that simple phrase that expresses so much more than our overused word.

"I am beautiful in my heart for you." My love for you makes ME beautiful. It makes my heart soft and radiant. But, isn't that the way with love? ... it does as much or more for those of us who love as it does for the ones we love. It makes us beautiful in our hearts.

We use the word love in dozens of ways ... to convey our appreciation for everyday things ... I love Desperate Housewives, I love Crest toothpaste, I love books. We also use it to express our sensual experiences ... I love the smell of pine after a hail storm in the forest, I love the touch of velvet, I love the sound of children laughing. We use it for the things we like to do ... I love photography, I love kayaking on a high alpine lake, I love long conversations. And, of course we use it to convey our deep feelings of connection ... I love my children, I love my family, I love my friends. It has become like a ball of twine batted about by a kitten till it is raggedy and trailing loose ends across the floor. It's hard to tell which end to pull to decipher the meaning.

Perhaps we need more words to differentiate just which type of love we mean ... or perhaps we could borrow the African phrase and, when we want to express our deep feelings of connection, we could just say, "I am beautiful in my heart for you." I really love that phrase.


  1. I was just thinking about this the other day, and became very conscious of how I have been using the word. I know I use it sometimes to express utter delight in something I read, that moves me, an image that startles to joyousness.

    The African phrase is so touching, though I think that in our society, it would sound "foreign" to most ears, perhaps even awkward. It is such a Wow word.

    Perhaps we might all work on reclaiming the deep and true feeling to be conveyed in our own word "love".