For the Sake of Love

By: Angela Harper

 

 

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
`I love her for her smile … her look … her way
Of speaking gently, … for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,–and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

I was introduced to this poem in 12th grade English IV. It was one of my favorites along with Shakespeare’s, “Sonnet 18.”  Of course in class we had to dissect this poem in order to understand its meaning. For me this was an easy task, however, at the time it was simply a class assignment; another activity for a grade. I had done nothing more than translate the English of that time period into the English of 2002. Here it is eight years later and I read this poem with the eyes and heart of a 25 year old who has yet to be someone’s girlfriend, who didn’t get asked to either prom, and who’s been told several times, “I wish I met you first.” Oh! I can’t forget my all time favorite that I affectionately call, “I like you as a friend, but I’m gonna treat you like my girlfriend and expect you to not be confused with my actions or words.” Throughout the course of these past eight years I believe I’ve only loved 3 of the people I encountered.

Reread the poem; I’ll wait.

How easy it is to love someone for their looks, money, or social status.  There’s nothing difficult or organic about loving someone because they have a nice BMW or can get you into the most posh night clubs for free. When you love a person for their tangible items you don’t love the person; you love the items. True, all will provide a whirl pool of fun and luxury, but things of this nature fade away with time. As Elizabeth says in the poem, “For these things in themselves, Beloved, may be changed, or change for thee…” According to this poem we should love for the sake of love and nothing more. In order to love for the sake of love, we must define love. Is that even possible?

I cannot conjure up a coherent definition for love. I have tried and each time I come up empty handed. My incoherent babbling loosely translated means: love is an unexplainable feeling that evokes so many other emotions, but at the end of the day you want nothing more than to be in the presence of the person who causes these emotions. Referring back to those 3 people I mentioned earlier I can say that I loved for the sake of love. I wasn’t in love; hell I wasn’t even the girlfriend. Nope, as usual I was just the “friend.” However, I did love all three of them. Were they good looking? Yes, absolutely. Were they smart? Yes, each in their own way. Were they rich? Hell no. Were they fun to be around? Yes indeed. None of these were the reason I loved them. These were attributes that I found attractive and adored, but not what moved me to love them.

I loved them for the sheer sake of loving; in the moment. I will admit that I opened up to the 1st one and expressed my feelings. Before I tell the response I received let me inform you of what I said to this person, “It’s obvious that you love *insert name here* more than you love me. I do love you, but if you’re happier with *insert name here* then I’m willing to let you go so you can be happy. We can’t continue the way we are, because my feelings will grow stronger and yours won’t; so please go be happy.” You would think after I said this the response would’ve been peaceful. HA! It wasn’t. Instead, I was met with a brash myriad of comments that really hurt. No need to rehash those words. I told a friend I wouldn’t let this situation affect the way I treat the next people I encounter.

I fell back on my word and for years didn’t open up to anyone. The next 2 people I encountered probably felt my frigid and sometimes distant aura. I loved them for the sake of love just as I did the first person, but I believe the day I parted my lips to say something it was too late. What Elizabeth doesn’t write about in this poem is how the sake of love comes in a cute tote bag called, “fear.” For those of us, like myself, who have been hurt our little tote back has conveniently turned into a nice U.S. Army sized rucksack. We harbor our love for another in the rucksack of fear; lost in its numerous pockets. We push away the person we love, yet manage to continue loving them. I’ve come to realize that the person who gets hurt the most is not the one with the rucksack; it’s the one they love. Those of you who have someone with a rucksack of fear you have to help them out. When they push you away, only stay away if that’s what you truly want. If you don’t want that then extend your hand and show that you aren’t going to hurt them. Trust, they will take it.

There are different types of love and different ways to love. One thing we can all agree on is that loving someone is an unpredictable adventure. If given the option to have loving someone be predictable, I’d politely decline. Part of the human existence is learning through experiences. How can we accurately learn what love is and is not if we don’t experience it? Yes, love is a type of language that has to be taught, but once you learn to speak it and be open to receive it…priceless.

I asked my Tweeple to @scommentary and tell me why they loved someone. Enjoy their responses along with mine.

“I love u b/c u bring out the best & worst in me…that’s talent…annoying as hell, but still talent”

“Because it’s easy to do. It’s like breathing to me.”

“I love u b/c u r the Angel to my Hancock. Don’t know why. Will nvr figure it out. Just be.”

“Because I see the person they’re destined to be under the shell of the person they currently are.”

“I love u b/c it’s easy & fun.”

“I love u b/c u’ve good intentions, but poor execution.”

“It’s easy because although it may hurt at times it’s worth it.”

“Because God told me to love them as I love myself and I’m soooo in love with me”

“I love you b/c u’ve a beautiful spirit”

“I love him because he reminds me of my daddy. I love him because he is the human form of God’s love for me. #heartmelting

“I love u b/c I met u in the a calmness of a warm summer night filled w/Caribbean riddims”

 

 

 

Love with sincerity. Love with no boundaries. Love for the sake of loving.

 

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Comments (1)

 

  1. Lauren Wilder says:

    Someone asked me why did I love the person who didn’t treat me well. I said that I can’t choose who I love but the person I am will give my time. But I’ll admit I loved that person because I believed in him.

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