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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"The idea of love is not love" - Mary Oliver

During a writing group yesterday, we were asked to respond in free flow writing to the following quotation from Mary Oliver.

It is the intimate, never the general, that is teacherly.
The idea of love is not love.

The idea of the ocean is neither salt nor sand;
the face of the seal can not rise from the idea to stare at you, to astound your heart.

This is what came:

I see the truth of who you are, the sum of your life experiences, written upon your face in each line deep etched with laughter and pain.

I hear the truth of who you are in that voice, aged in time, like a good wine in an oak barrel.

I feel the truth of who you are in the warmth of your hug as your arms wrapped around me hold me close.

I sense the truth of your soul in the gentle wisdom that swirls around you like a playful ghost.

I know the truth of who you are in every aspect of your being, my most beloved Father.


I looked again at this quotation from Mary Oliver this morning and contemplated its meaning for me.

What particularly struck me is the words, "The idea of love is not love". I sat down and wrote.

Love is not an idea. It is not a theory. It is not even a feeling.

Love is as love does.

Love is an active verb. It is a doing, not a thinking, not a feeling.

Love opens. Love accepts. Love includes.

Love reaches out its hand to hold another's.

It does not sit and think how nice it would be to hold a hand.

It does it.

Love does not sit in contemplation of the loving act.

It gets off its rear end and reaches out.

It just does it.

Love does make grandiose plans for how it will love.

It keeps it simple, immediate, now.

It just does it and it does it now.

Love is not an idea.

Love is not a theory.

Love is an action.
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