Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Falling or Growing: Metaphors of Love

There has been an oft used statment for the description of infatuation and romance, which is the term "falling in love". Though it is used often, and for valid reason I wonder if it is the best term to describe what I want.
Where falling in love is accurate, is in that infatuation, heart beating fast, palms getting sweaty, can't think about anything else stage of a relationship. Where that person is forever imbedded into the recesses of your mind which makes it difficult to do even the most simple of tasks.
However, falling in love also describes a lack of control or work. It isn't that hard to fall. In fact, you really don't have to do anything, but turn the wrong way, run too fast, ignore a wet floor sign, or wear shoes that are too big. It takes little commitment or time, because once your falling, there is very little that you can do about it.
The scary part about falling in love is, what happens when you stop falling? Obviously, as anyone who has sky dived will tell you, the rush and adrenaline are great at the moment, but if that parachute were to malfunction or not be there... well you can't even ask that person about the rush, because the only thing that matters at that point is the crash.
I've experienced both the fall, and the crash of "love". It was such a drastically horrifying experience, that I don't think I ever truly want to fall in love again.
So when I read the other day a different metaphor in relation to the process of love, I gravitated towards it. It is the concept of not falling in love, but growing in love.
Growing in love fills in so many of the holes left by falling in love. First, in order to grow something their must be a deep foundation. Prior to even planting something, the soil must be prepared. Thus, this metaphor is a great tool in seeing how if I seek to have a healthy growth of love, I have to make sure that I am grounded how I need to be, even before a seed of a relationship is even in the picture. This means that I must be a healthy person, that I must be doing the things that a healthy individual does. Then, as a seed of relationship is planted, it must first grow deep roots. Before a plant ever grows up, it grows deep. Thus, there must be great care, time and patience, as the roots dig deep into the already prepared soil. Then as the plant grows it takes work. It must be nurtured, cared for, and valued. At times, weeds must be pulled away from the plant in order to keep it thriving. Sometimes the rain doesn't fall the way it should, so more time energy must be spent running from the water source to the plant to make sure it doesn't shrivel and die. At times the rain doesn't stop pouring, and the roots must be deep enough to hold on through the storms.
The metaphor sounds so much more like a truly substantial relationship than "falling" does. Though there is far more work, though things are more difficult, and it takes a lot more time, generally the results of growing a flower, or a vegetable are a lot more rewarding than breaking your arm after the momentary adrenaline of a fall down the stairs.
I think that's what I want, to grow in love, because the heartbreak of falling has taken so long to get over, and I would love to see the beauty of the flower that grows, over time.

No comments: