How Do You Say Love?1:16 AM
I only ask this ridiculous question because I've noticed I'm unduly giddy about the smallest gestures of love. Always have been. For instance, if you text me randomly just to say, "Oh, hey, such and such reminded me of you today," I will literally go lasso some clouds and float on them all day long. I cried happy tears every time someone sent me letters from home -- both because I usually got them on horrible days and because I'm getting older and more sentimental every second. And oh, my goodness -- if you hunt me down just to hang out with me, I will love you forever. So much so, in fact, that you'll probably regret befriending me.
My friends and I talk about the five love languages -- words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, gifts and acts of service. They didn't figure much in my younger years. As long as I could ride my invisible horses out back uninterrupted, my day was made. I always knew I was loved. Then I grew up and started visiting with the mirror more, questioning others' intentions more, seeing in me all the bumps and blemishes inside and out. Love meant more to me then. I needed it more.
I remember coming down the stairs one day in a new dress -- or maybe it was an old one, I don't remember -- and my mom told me I was beautiful. Of course she'd told me that before, but it hit me then how much that meant to me -- as much as when my daddy told me to watch out for all the boys who might be swooning over my smiles and beauty. I didn't and still don't believe him, but every time I passed Daddy's room, I would think of that and how much I loved him for loving me. I remember the first time someone outside my immediate family (not counting those relatives at family reunions who inexplicably know every detail of your life) gave me bear hug and called me "dear." I just wasn't used to hugs as a normal thing, wasn't used to pet names. I was Bailey and I bounced too often to be caught and hugged.
Even the smallest things I remember. Somebody asking out of the blue if I wanted to quit studying for a while and hang out. Somebody saying, "Sit next to me." Somebody asking if I wanted to talk about what was bothering me.
Because there's a sixth love language -- pursuit. That's mine. Maybe it's only just mine. That's how I give and receive love.
Perhaps you will understand, after all. You know how happy you feel when you call up a friend or give a hug or snuggle down next to your sister? Think of that times one hundred -- because in the case of pursuit, somebody calls you up, gives you a hug and snuggles next to you -- unforced, unplanned, just because they want to. It sounds ridiculous, maybe even selfish, but pursuit is a form of being chosen. It's a form of saying, "I love you and I'm going to be upfront about it." It's marking you as someone special.
It's not just toleration. I fear toleration too much. I do it all the time -- I don't really love someone: I just put up with her, smiling, nodding, listening, trying to swallow the itch of desperate escape. My knees dance and I look at her nose just so my eyes don't go sliding around the room, bored. Someday, that will change. Right now it hasn't. And because it hasn't, I'm keenly aware of the same boredom in other people. I'm afraid to make the first moves all the time because I'm afraid it means that I'm the only one who cares about the friendship, that (pleaseGodno) they...don't...actually love me.
So when somebody else makes the first move, it shocks me. Then I smile. And then, normally, I dance.
I love love.
Maybe too much. It's an obsession I've had to surrender over and over. I love thinking about the people I love and smiling about all the memories we made and replaying the last goodbye hug over and over and over until I fall asleep deliriously happy. (This is all ridiculous and embarrassing to admit. How does anyone put up with me?)
Other people don't seem to. They seem to like love just fine but are perfectly happy by themselves, perfectly self-controlled, certainly don't happy dance every time somebody asks them to hang out. Normal people, you know.
I've learned that not everyone speaks this love language -- in fact, most people don't. It's a very high-maintenance sort of love, which explains a lot of things about me, I suppose -- my moodiness, my sensitivity, my giddiness over the smallest things (and maybe even my obnoxious habit of checking my phone constantly -- nah, that's just because I need to get a life). When at its best, this sort of love gives unconditionally and extravagantly, meeting needs before they're even expressed. When at its worst, it becomes a dragged-out melodrama of how nobody loves you, etc., because you expect the same level of obsessive attention you give to others. Surrender -- it's the only way to keeping this love language under control.
Fortunately, God speaks this love language. He initiates the relationship every single time. He deals out this kind of love to me every day, grace upon grace. I forget that. I shouldn't, being so needy and so in love with love. This need for pursuit drives me back to Him -- perhaps the biggest reason He taught me to speak this love language.