– A QUICK EXCHANGE OF LETTERS BETWEEN TWO VERY GOOD FRIENDS,
which I have decided to share since I find the intimacy of two good friends often carries topics pursued in the intimacies of good friends elsewhere, and often shed light upon intimacy, goodness, and friendship in general when overheard-
How can you know that you are in love with someone for their inherent qualities? How can you be sure you love them for who they are, and not for what they represent?
“I love him for who he is” – how stupid to say that! We never love someone for who they are, but for what the relationship allows, for the sharing. But Katrina, how can I be sure of the pureness, the sincerity of my feelings? Would I have loved him the same way if he wasn’t an althlete, or a lawyer? He could have been a baker, or a doctor… how can I know that I am not influenced by these things?
For you can decide to become a doctor or a baker: there is a choice, a conscious choice. But you can’t decide to be sociable and generous. Being sociable or generous belongs to our personality, our inherent traits.
How can I be sure that I love him?
And not, not for his house, his social status, his beautiful body, his contingencies; not all those things which might never have existed for him. Love should be unconditional… but why do I fear it is conditioned?
I have not been, for some time, able to answer this. Why? Because I endure the the same question as well! Don’t we all? And how funny, that we are both weighed down by the same philosophical questions, so often around the same times.
But, finally, I believe I can summon an answer for you, as my heart sings a song when these hard inquiries eat at me. I shall now play it back to you so that you—so we both— can hear it. To me it must sound like this:
I love him, I do. I love him like no other.
I love him because he is smart (even though there are other smart men).
I love him because he is kind (even though there are other kind men).
I love him because he is charming, and funny, and generous (even though there are other charming, funny, generous men).
I love him because his is handsome (even though there are other handsome men).
But I do not love him like no other because of Who He Is. There are other men Who Are Like Him.
I love him like no other for how Who He Is makes me feel.
I love how, when he is charming, his eyes crinkle. My stomach flips.
I love how, when he is smart, I can retaliate articulately. My brain spins.
I love how, when he is kind, the world gets softer. My heart flows.
And when I am not near him, I worry—‘Do I love him for his money?’
But when I am near him, I know—‘I would love you poor, and I wish you knew.’
And when I am not near him, I worry—‘Do I love him because he is accomplished?’
But when I am near him, I know—‘I would love you lost, and I wish you knew.’
In hearing this, it helps me to know that over-thinking Love when I am aside from it sends me into theory; being in Love—truly, physically immersed in my muse of it— requires no thought at all.
Even the question: ‘Will this last?’ only matters when I am thinking.
For when I am there, truly with man I love, I don’t care.
And those clear feelings, I believe, are most sincere—all worries of influences be damned.
And as guide to that, I say this:
I love you, [ ]. For you. For how you make me feel. And yes, because of everything you do, for all your choices—messy and clean, big and small, hard and easy—because they are choices imbibed with you. For everything you have been, are, and will be; nothing will change that. I will love you for your choices and despite them; just as I know you love you love me for my choices and despite them.
And I think, when you look to see if the affections you have for a man at all resembles this kind of Unconditional Love with All Conditions Heard, you will always have a true compass pointing you to where your heart belongs.
I think the hardest part about Love and Future is not his choices, or even your own. It is the question: ‘Will his choices lead me to a place where my choices want to grow?’
And the answer to that, my love, my dear—
Comes only with Time.
And let us give Time generously those who matter, and we can together watch how it all falls into place.
Forever your friend (whomever you choose in this life! Isn’t that wonderful?),