Love makes the world go round; it sustains and nurtures us. It is the focus of love songs, letters and poetry and many, many fine quotations.
This post, and next week’s also, will focus on seven wonderful love quotes, which I hope you may find uplifting and sustaining during the weeks and months of this pandemic.
Klimt. The Kiss. Wikimedia Commons.
Quote 1. “Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us, and take with us.”
This powerful quote emphasises the reality of life and death. It underlines the fact that love is the only ‘possession’ that we have and the only one we can take with us when we die.
During this pandemic, many people have come to realise that they value love above all other aspects of their lives.
The more superficial needs, for beauty treatments, holidays, glitz and celebrity, fashion items, hairdressers, meals out, clothes, etc may all be gratifying in some ways, according to people’s individual tastes.
Ultimately, however, they have been shown to be dispensable in this time of real crisis.
What have been important are NHS medics and nurses, frontline staff, volunteers, scientists, cleaners, delivery people and many more who care for the sick and the needy.
The Magpie. Monet. Wikimedia Commons.
Quote 2. “The Eskimo has fifty-names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.”
Atwood’s words reveal to us how important is love in the world. She points out the fact that perhaps we do not value love enough as a society.
It should be the focus of our attention, our study, so that we can discover fifty-five names for love. Or perhaps more.
Martin Llamedo – Tea  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Quote 3. “Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”
Karl A. Menninger
There is no doubt that love can be healing.
Therapy, I think, is about love. Therapists heal with empathy, understanding, constancy, care. These are all kinds of love.
Love heals people in everyday life as well; it comes in many forms, and shows itself through small acts of kindness as well as through more expansive deeds and gestures.
Whether we are in an ongoing relationship, or are experiencing love through companionship with friends, family members, children or animals, we can give and receive affection and nurturing in many ways.
We need to love and be loved to keep us healthy. Having emotional and physical contact with others is vital for our wellbeing. That is why social distancing is so difficult for so many of us.
Jas Knight – Tantalum, The Love Letter  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Quote 4. “There is a great power in the irresistible force of love.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Marquez reminds us of the power of love, how love can change so much. This is not about controlling someone else. That would be the opposite, a love of power.
The power of love is about transformation, of self and other. It is about making a difference, impacting on the world with kindness and generosity.
Mary Cassatt – Maternal Caress [c.1896]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Quote 5. “Where there is love there is life.”
In similar vein to Marquez, but maybe taking the idea further, Gandhi sees love as actually crucial to life.
This is true in terms of the way in which the baby needs parental love. Without this, the baby would not thrive.
Steve McCurry – Mother and Child at Car Window, Bombay, India Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“If you judge people you have no time to love them.”
Mother Teresa’s quote reminds us to be accepting, to love without judgement. Those who judge others, who point the finger of blame, create an atmosphere of coldness and rigidity, rather than warmth and acceptance.
This kind of judging response is often the result of black and white thinking. (See my earlier post on this subject.)
Xenia Hausner – Pure Cool. Gandalf’s Gallery, Flickr.
“‘There’s too much risk in loving,’
the young boy said,
said the old man,
‘there’s too much risk in not.’ “
The risks of love;
throwing yourself into a stormy sea
hoping there are arms to catch you
knowing that without the leap
there is only the safe
and lonely shore.
These two quotes, both on the theme of the risks of love, remind us of how important it is sometimes to take calculated risks in life. The second poem, on the same theme, also reminds us that life will be risky if we do not love.
Having love in our lives does mean we expose ourselves to the possibilities of loss, grief, rejection, heartbreak and uncertainty.
When love falls apart, we are left feeling broken and in pain. That is part of the risk of loving.
However, love may also mean that we can benefit from its rewards.
What are the rewards of love? What does love teach us and highlight for us?
- How we interact with others
- The areas of our own behaviour that need attention, highlighted through relating to those we love
- How to trust
- How to develop staying power and resilience even when things feel very difficult
- Conflict resolution
- Hope and faith in another
- How to take risks with another person
Unless we ‘throw ourselves into a stormy sea,’ as the poet says, we will never experience real connection with others, real relationships and the rewards these have to offer us.
I will end this post as it began, with this thought that, without love, ultimately we have nothing, especially in times of crisis, like a war or pandemic.
It is expressed in an extract from the beautiful poem Dover Beach, by Matthew Arnold.
"Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night."