Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Can't LOVE be simple?

This post was inspired by the novel, Carry Yourself Back to Me by Deborah Reed. A copy of this book was given to me by virtue of my membership in www.fromlefttowrite.com.  This is not a review of the book.

Deborah Reed sets up a story for us that highlights all the ramifications of loving others, loosing those we love and learning to forgive. Like many good stories, it is a universal tale of love.

The book instigated my thinking about the complexity of loving others, a proposition that is rarely, if ever, simple. Perhaps the most pure form of love is mother for child but even that can sometime be made complicated by circumstances. What if you have to give that child up for some reason? What if you have initiated the pregnancy as part of a scheme to get the money required for the survival of the rest of your family? Why can’t even that purest of all loves be simple?
A favorite John Lynner Peterson photo says it all about  LOVE!

I have a new friend and a very old friend who are staying in loveless marriages for their own complicated reasons—in spite of loving someone else! Why can’t love be simple?

I have loved more than a few alcoholics in my family. That is truly a complicated love that many people have experienced. Why can’t love be simple?

And then there is the complicated love we experience as parents when we learn there is an expiration date on children following our wishes and demands. We learn that we love people even when they make decisions we disagree with and when we can no longer protect them from themselves. Why can’t love be simple?

I’m currently thinking the purest form of love is grandparent for grandchild. I revel each day in the simplicity of it. I don’t want the day to come when it will be more complex. I hope the most complicated disagreement we will ever have is whether Poppa will buy him a Happy Meal or not. I know that will not always be the case. Why can’t love be simple?

Have you experienced a simple love? What made it so?


  1. I would say the relationship between my grandmother and me was a simple love. She always did what she could for me and I always did what I could for her, but there were never any expectations of each other. Whenever I left her house, she always asked, "Is there anything I have that you want?"

    Tongue-in-cheek, I believe the simplest simple love would be between an owner and her dog. My little dog loves me unconditionally. She jumps and barks and runs all over when I come home because she's so happy to see me. She loves to have her head scratched, but if I don't she snuggles up against me anyway. None of the humans in my house have the same reaction when I come home!

  2. Great examples of simple love, Gayle. I had a grandmother very much like yours. I had a dog, however, who was too smart to give simple love.:-)

  3. Ha! Yes, the simplest love may in fact be between an owner and her dog. Purely unconditional on both parts. As for humans, my oh my, we sure are a messy bunch. Complicated as all get-out. So much baggage, so many mistakes, and yet we love deeply and with abandon (or should) in spite of all of that because the rewards are what give our lives meaning, not to mention make us better people in the process--even when that process rips our hearts out before putting them back in. That's the chance we take, but from where I stand, it's always worth the complications.
    Thank you so much for reading the book and for posting this lovely meditative post on love.
    All best,

  4. I love what Deborah says about dogs (although some may argue if dogs are even share humans' capacity to truly "love".) I've always felt that animals hold such unconditional love and really place so little demands on us (most of the time).
    I also agree about grandparents. They seem to be a lot more tolerant of their grandkids, well, mine were at least!

  5. Thanks, Deborah and SVD, for stopping by Grit and Grace. I totally agree with you about the love of dogs for their humans. There's nothing as simplistic in the human relations---even grandparents!

  6. I am about to become a grandmother of sorts...my stepson and his wife are expecting their first in December. I'm anxious to experience that particular brand of love! The love between me and all the people in my life (husband, friends, family, siblings, kids both step and bio) is complicated, messy and evolutionary. I can hardly wait to get my hands on that baby who is no blood relation to me, but who will hold my heart all the same.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Suburban Mom. You are so right that babies give us a fresh slate of uncomplicated love. Enjoy every minute!