a node at the edge  

August 19, 2002
ConnectingSimple Love

A couple of days ago Jeneane wrote in a posting:

    That problem being that too few of us understand what it means to love. Simply to love and to love simply.

I'm not married, nor do I have a boyfriend, but it seems to me that the simplest of loves--an uncomplicated love--can't really occur between adults. We bring too many expectations, too much background and hidden baggage into our relationships with each other. We can love deeply, sincerely, painfully, honestly, hopefully, and joyfully, but I'm not sure we can love simply, at least in my understanding of simple love.

I think we see true simple love only from very young children and our pets. Both have such minimal expectations from us: food, shelter, warmth when it's cold, coolness when it's hot, tenderness and care in times of illness, fear, and pain. And they give so much--total and unconditional love.

I never had a child, but have always had pets, and currently have a ten year old cat named Zoe. As an example of what I see as simple love, a couple of weeks ago I received a cardboard box containing a couple of shirts. I opened it in the living room and left the box near the door. When I returned from taking the shirts upstairs, my cat, Zoe, had climbed into the box and curled up, a picture of perfect contentment.

I've bought expensive cat toys and carpet condos and a fleece lined bed for her, but she hasn't liked anything as much as she's liked this box. Everyday, she curls up in it for an hour or two, that time that she's not spent curled up next to me, or playing with me, or entertaining me by looking out at the birds and "chatting" with them.

I've not the heart to throw the box out so now we have a cardboard box next to the wall at the bottom of our stairs. Simple things: a cardboard box for her, gentle head butts accompanied by copious purring and occasional washings for me.

Perhaps I'm complicating adult relationships too much, but I don't know of many men who would be happy with a cardboard box (though I do know of a few that seem to like dishwashing tools).

Joking aside, I'm not sure what simple love would be like between adults, but it sounds like it would be nice, doesn't it? Probably a lot like this.

(Speaking of pets, Flightless Farrago has provided the most humorous cat photo I've yet seen [scroll down page]. And two virtual neighbors just brought home new furry friends: Ryan and Jonathon. Lots of gentle head butts and much copious purring to you both.)


Posted by Bb at August 19, 2002 02:43 PM


Maybe it's my evil childfree self getting the better of me... but as you define it, Bb, I would think "simple love" would get frustrating as hell after a while.

Cats and youngsters are fine in their way, but I'd rather have a complicated adult around when it's time to make a will, change a job, quit a dangerous habit, or something like that.

"Simple" as you're putting it (and I haven't read Jeneane's post) seems to imply "unchanging" and "predictable." No, thank you. Change is not always easy, but it's infinitely preferable to stagnation.

Posted by: Dorothea Salo on August 19, 2002 04:07 PM

Not so much unchanging and predictable as it is unconditional. However, Jeneane would have to determine if I read her take accurately.

As for the link to AKMA's post, I see this is true, deep, sincere, absolutely wonderous and unconditional love--but again, this may be simplifying his love for Margaret.

In other words, I should shut up now before I piss a lot of my friends off and no body will love me anymore.

Except Zoe.

Posted by: Shelley aka Bb on August 19, 2002 05:21 PM

Yes, unconditional. BB has it. To love simply, without the over involvement of the self, and all its various wants and needs and baggage and garbage. And BB, you may be right. Maybe this only happens in childhood. That childlike love, the love before knowing what broken trust and dreams gone awry feel like--that anything's possible and that nothing might just be fine too. yes, the child. And yes, AKMA's post has that unconditional ring, doesn't it?

Posted by: jeneane on August 19, 2002 08:17 PM

p.s., pretty kitty.

Posted by: jeneane on August 19, 2002 08:18 PM

In the most onjective of terms, pets are not even capable of love. Bonding and unconditional trust, yes. Pure love, no.

In fact, when you get down to it, love is never simple. Even children can't truely love. They can only trust unconditionally and blindly rely on adults.

True love is selfless. True love involves an understanding of effort, of the ups and downs that reality always deals two people. True love involves NOT unconditional trust, but a full trust that says to the other that you are willing to open up everything about yourself... that you will expose every single vulnerability to that person.

When you think about it, true love is the most complex thing a human can conceive. Full of risks, but certainly worth the rewards when you have it.

Posted by: DD on August 19, 2002 10:04 PM

This is a beautiful cat!

Blue eyes?

... the little furry face looking up at you as you say goodbye to her in the morning, the almost silent miaow.

THAT is what makes me want to stay, rather than go.

THAT is why I rush home.

THAT is simple love.

In its purest form.

Posted by: FARRAGO on August 20, 2002 04:22 AM

*shrug* I find that defining love shoves it into a box it doesn't particularly want to be in.

Ergo I don't try.

Of course, I do this with a lot of things; it may have more to do with conceptual fuzziness on my part than anything else.

Have I got "true love"? "Simple love"? I dunno. Certainly don't want to make the claim on my own behalf. I do know I'm quite happy with what I've got. That is enough.

Posted by: Dorothea Salo on August 20, 2002 08:34 AM

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