IT’S THE HOLIDAYS. I hope that isn’t news.
And if you’re at all like me then I know that a lot of us are feeling a bit … beleaguered by incessant tragedy, sadness, fear, acrimony and negativity.
Maybe I’m just being selfish, but I’d like to find something positive to smile about in the season of lights, so I’m going to.
Feel free to come along for the ride.
I believe in magic.
No, not the magic that we see in performances — those are illusions.
And while I do find those tremendously entertaining, they aren’t magic.
No, I believe in real magic, and despite what lots of people want to tell you, there’s plenty of real magic around.
I believe in magic because I’ve been blessed — many times, in many ways — by experiencing magic.
And while many of those experiences might simply be written off as the misperceptions of a fevered mind, I know what I know and I felt what I felt and here’s what I can tell you: I believe in magic.
Magic must be invited in.
We have to be open to it, welcome it.
Otherwise it will reside outside of us where it has always resided waiting for the opportunity to show us that there is so much more to this life than our sciences and politics have ever imagined.
And I can prove it by simply pointing to a thing called love, which is what first taught me about magic.
It’s an easy word, “love,” and infinitely serviceable in a million situations.
Consequently, by the simple fact of its commonness, its magic is lost to us.
But if you back up and consider this thing called “love,” then …
So, here’s what I think I’ve learned about love.
Love isn’t evidence-based.
Oh, sure, I suppose that someday some team of somebodies will discover that this gene on that genome because of some DNA makes this neuron fire that substance to some other neuron and bingo … love.
How sad that will be and how utterly inaccurate.
Love must be invited in — allowed, welcomed, nourished — but when it is, it will teach us (as it’s taught me) everything we’ve ever needed to know about magic.
Love isn’t measureable or quantifiable because it isn’t finite.
We don’t just get a certain amount of it, so we have to protect it and preserve it and “spend” it wisely.
No, love is infinite — it expands in direct proportion to the amount that’s needed.
In fact, the more we use it, the more we have to use.
Love doesn’t demand or control, because that isn’t its nature.
Love understands that one doesn’t grow in the shadow of another, so while it revels in closeness it celebrates a bit of distance — enough distance to allow growth, because growth is magic.
Love can’t be envisioned because love isn’t static.
It doesn’t “… look like this …”
No, the nature of love is to change.
So, today/this year/in this phase of life, love looks like this and acts like that but tomorrow/10 years from now/in the next phase, it will look and act — and feel — completely different.
Because love grows and changes as we grow and change, but if we don’t realize that, it can be a problem.
If we expect love to be like it was when this was happening or that was happening, we’ll be disappointed, because love has moved on.
Love has moved on because it doesn’t flow in a circular motion, replaying the same again and again — love moves in a direction, the same direction as growth and change.
Love can be lust, certainly (magic), but it is also so much more.
Love is company and love is friendly and love is loyal.
Love accepts and adapts, because love is moving in a direction.
Love makes the same decision every day: that life is better with the one who is loved than it is without the one, so love persists.
It can be fireworks and laughter and revelry.
And it can be quiet, tranquil and patient. Content to be in the presence of itself, not needing to achieve or prevail, because it already is what it was meant to be.
Love is a cheerleader and love is the biggest fan. Love is the support behind the scenes.
And love is the comforter and the soother and the sharer of burdens. Because love decided to be love a long time ago.
Love is safe and love is familiar and love is what we expect it to be.
It resides in each day, as common as the chair we choose for our morning coffee or the just a little bit slow clock on the wall.
Love is a fixture because love is ordinary — it’s comfortable in the heart and hearts where it has been invited to live.
Love doesn’t demand incessant attention or celebrity, because that isn’t love’s nature.
Love can be in the background because love is the background.
Love is a habit.
And love can be in the forefront: enjoyed, laughed at, laughed with and played with.
Holding hands or smooching in public or just generally making a spectacle of itself.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Nature of love
The nature of love is to change its nature, because it is moving in the direction of growth and change, so it will change as we change, unless we lock it in a cage and deprive it of stimulation and insist that it never change.
If we do that, it will wither and weaken and, soon enough, become something else — like a memory.
But if we allow it to be free — to be what it is — it will always be exactly what we need it to be, and when we need it to be that.
Because love is magic.
Love can’t really be explained, understood or described because each of us would do that differently.
Nor does it need to be.
Needs to be felt
Love needs to be felt, known, recognized and experienced, because love is a very personal thing: It isn’t “LOVE,” it’s my love, our love, this love.
So, love need not be correct. There is no “right way,” there is only this way.
If we invite love in, and take it along for the ride, it will be the ride — expressed in a grin or a touch or rolled eyes or absolute silence — or year after year of loyalty and safety and simple familiarity.
And acceptance, comfort and company, but love never confines, it never restricts and it never “makes less.”
Love makes more.
Love is the mouse that roared and the lion that lies down beside.
And it is always — always — utterly simple, because love is no more than one heart saying to another, “I know you. I have always known you and I always will know you.
“And I love you.”
Love doesn’t end because love is magic, and here’s how I know: Love is the only way that I will ever be able to reach out and touch the face of a smiling God.
Mark Harvey is director of Clallam/Jefferson Senior Information & Assistance, which operates through the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He is also a member of the Community Advocates for Rural Elders partnership. He can be reached at 360-452-3221 (Port Angeles-Sequim), 360-385-2552 (Jefferson County) or 360-374-9496 (West End), or by emailing [email protected].