Love, That Four-Letter Word

Love is a better teacher than duty.

  Albert Einstein

 

Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded empires; but upon what do these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love; and to this very day millions would die for him.

  Napoleon Bonaparte

 

Love is much nicer to be in than an automobile accident, a tight girdle, a higher tax bracket, or a holding pattern over Philadelphia.

  Judith Viorst

 

I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.

  Woody Allen

 

Love is an epic, not a tale, a 976-page saga rather than something by Ray Bradbury. Love is not a short story, love is not a song, nor is love a movie. All these lie to us about what love is. Love is long and has many, many chapters, and the story we write is long in the telling, with many, many heartaches and with much, much rejoicing, and very much that is mundane. Love is not for the impatient.

  John Gratton

 

Many have said, “I wish I could have a great love,” while blind to the fact that it was standing right in front of them. So often the issue is not learning how to attract love, but rather how to recognize love.

  Marianne Williamson

 

I laughed at love because I thought it was funny.

  Jerry Lee Lewis

 

All you need is love.

  John Lennon

 

I love meat loaf.

  John Gratton

 

Don’t be fooled by love songs and the movies. Marriage starts where most movies stop because marriage isn’t a fairy tale. It’s not the closing scene of a movie, which is good because marriage is better than Disney, better than Sleepless in Seattle.

 

What comes after the fade to black is the best part of marriage, the things you don’t see Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks do. Dirty dishes in the sink. The worry and scurry of getting ready in the mornings. The relentless routines of work and groceries and housekeeping. There is sickness. There are bad moods. The garage door won’t open and the garbage disposal won’t dispose. There is something squeaking in the vent. Water pressure in the shower is too low, the car won’t start, and sometimes you have to flush twice. He loses a job. She wrecks the car.

 

There are smells and disappointments and frustrations. The way she loads the dishwasher. The way he puts things back in the wrong cabinets. The way he chews. His shoes under the coffee table, again. The clothes she wore yesterday all over the floor.

 

Sure, there are frequent and wonderful spasms of unreality, the laughter, the spontaneous dancing barefoot in the kitchen, the small gifts and love notes, the love making.

 

And that’s the thing you don’t see in the movies. It’s all love making. Every time he vacuums out the car, it’s part of how he makes love to her. Every time she balances the checkbook, it’s part of how she makes love to him. He mows the lawn, she sweeps and mops, and together they change the sheets. That’s love. That’s marriage. He doesn’t scrub the toilet because he likes it, but because he loves her. She scrapes out the goo at the bottom of the fridge, not because she likes to but because she is in love.

 

That’s real, that’s love. They don’t write songs about fixing the garbage disposal, they don’t make movies about grouting the shower tiles again, because songs and movies aren’t about real love, love that lasts, love that endures. Real love is too long for a song or a movie. Real love is mundane, murky, sloppy, annoying, and absolutely, perfectly glorious.

 

 

 

 

From Quotidian the Llama Volume 1: The Excellent Thoughts of Others