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Love is This Wonderful Emotional Need
written by Jonathan A. Baker

Love is this wonderful emotional need that humans have. We need to feel it, receive it, and we need to give it. It takes on a lot of different shades, attitudes, and levels, but it is something we all need to have in our lives. That is why we have friends, pets, belong to organizations. It is encompassed in the term "socializing", but simple socialization is a very broad term for all things we do in our society. It includes trade, communication, learning, traditions, and these things are very important to our cultures, but love stands out across the centuries and across cultural barriers as something common to every one of us. The ways we communicate vary. The ways we conduct business, or run a household can be very different. Our traditions, even our religions, differ all over the world, but everybody falls in love and everybody searches for love.

Not to cheapen love, but I have often considered it like a bank and it's money. When we are young our "Love Account" is filled by family, then by family and friends. We start to make small transactions of love that eventually give way to larger and larger transactions and investments of ourselves, our hearts, and our love. If we are loved well by our family and friends, we have a good balance of love in our account, and those small expenditures for "puppy love" and the fateful "first crush", etc., are all well within our means emotionally speaking. It is like a well and we give of it freely, simply because we have it. We feel it and we just do what we poor humans do, we love. It allows us to do things for others, to be courteous, to be thoughtful and considerate because it feels GOOD!

As we grow and explore our world and our feelings, we find ourselves sometimes having major shifts in our "love bank". Just like a bank, there can be times of poverty and indebtedness, where we need love and understanding from our friends and family. It can be due to a "bad investment", like falling in love with someone who is no good for you, or who doesn't feel the same way but uses you for what they can get. It can also be because someone you are very close to has died, thereby losing one of your sources for income to your "Love Account". There will be other times of great surplus, like when you are in love with the right person and they are in love with you, and you just have so much love that you can't hold all of it, so you have to give it away. Just like water pressure, it HAS to go somewhere!

Just like a bank that has different kinds of accounts and makes different kinds of loans, we too make use of love in different ways. A fling during Spring Break away from home could be called a "Student Loan". All the love that goes back and forth between best friends could be considered "Transfer Accounts". A distant cousin that you like very much, but don't see very often could be considered as a "Low Interest Bearing Long Term Account". The Big One? The "hearts and flowers forever" kind of thing? Easy, "Major Mortgage, High Interest, Long Term with Equity Account". But it is all love, and the funny thing about it is, unlike banks, you get kind of a "cash-back" deal every time you spend some love, and every one of the different "Love Accounts" that you have is interest bearing.

I would also like to inject (and maybe inflict) a little something about romance. It is something that we add to love to make it "more gooder". Romance is to love, what spices and trimming are to fine food. Take away the spices and the fancy stuff, you have a piece of meat or whatever, sitting on a plate. In it's plain state, it may still be a good cut, it may still be a wonderful thing, but spices and such, just like well served romance, can also hide, or enhance, a lesser cut, or even worse, make something bad easy to swallow. Romance is something we add to love to make it more fun, more spontaneous, to simply enhance the entire experience. You can still have a wonderful love without it (ain't nothing wrong with good ol' meat and potatoes) but if all you have is romance, not really any serious love, it's like making a sandwich with lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, etc. and no meat. It will see you through for a light lunch, but love should be a banquet that will see you through anything. It isn't much of a banquet with only side dishes and gravy and no main course.

The greatest test of love, and sometimes the evidence that makes us realize that a love exists, is time. My father once told me that "life is like a long hike, every once in a while you need to stop and take a look around and see who is still with you. The ones who stay are the ones who love you". I cannot think of any better proof of love than one that goes the distance and stands the test of time. All we can do with those people that we want to love, is to give them every opportunity to come along, and try to make it as easy as possible for them to keep walking with us. They have to be free to follow any path they want to, but we can always try to give them the best road to walk, with or without us.

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