Just a few nights ago, I was sitting on my couch playing Red Dead Redemption 2 after putting Obi-Wan away for the night in his kennel. As per his routine, we put him inside of his kennel between 2130 and 2200 to signal that it’s bed time. During the week, we would normally go to bed as well. Seeing as how it was the weekend, I stayed up a little while longer for some much needed “me” time.
When Chandler and I go to bed, we also put the cats away into a separate room, as we’re concerned that they may antagonize him when we would rather he rest. (They never adjusted to a schedule, and so night time is their play-time). Since we had not gone to bed, the cats were free to roam around. Tibbers had opted for some snuggle time and was soon fast asleep in my lap. Annie spent some time asleep on the couch, but eventually got up and headed towards the hallway in the direction of her food.
From the corner of my eye some time later, I catch some unusual movement. I turn to find Annie and Obi-Wan spending some quality time together. See the video below.
They’re being respectfully quiet, staring at each other. Obi-Wan is wagging his tail, and they reach out multiple times to touch each other. At one point, they’re even touching paw to paw (I wonder if this is the equivalent to hand holding).
And this exchange had me thinking a lot about the way we perceive love.
It’s a common debate, the notion of what “true” or “real” love is. For myself, it’s always been difficult for me to comprehend all the different facets of it. Loving someone, versus being “in love” with someone or something. My mind searches for simplexity – a moment of clarity between all theories complex and simple.
Love is complicated and diluted with preconceived notions of how we reach it – through time and getting to know one another, through having history, sharing a moment of vulnerability, trust, respect. Love is being responsible. Love is being punctual. We love not just people, but notions, theories, inanimate objects, fiction characters, and more. There’s “loving” and being “in love.” It’s so complex, that the Webster Dictionary has to split “love” up into 9 Noun definitions, and 4 transitive verb definitions.
And yet, I have observed “love” explained so plainly as “just because.” That love “couldn’t be helped” even in cases where the parties involved are usually repulsed by one another. “It just happened.” “I was swept off my feet.” “He/She just gets me.”
Eventually I settled on love being something or someone that I cherish. If I hold something dear, I love it. I don’t love inanimate objects, or theories. I cherish memories, and reserve love for people. There is platonic love, and there is intimate love. Platonic love is the feeling of appreciation for my friends and family, and intimate love is what I feel for my husband.
However, I think I have finally found my favorite answer to this debate. What is love?
Acceptance is Love. Love is Acceptance.
I sat there watching two different species sharing a moment that would be perceived as an “intimate” moment had they been humans. I found myself observing and analyzing for quite some time when I had the thought “why can’t this moment be intimate even if they aren’t human?”
Humans base all of our relationships off of understanding that involves a fair amount of communication. A cat and dog are technically incapable of verbal communication that leads to a mutual understanding. But yet I am observing Annie and Obi-Wan sharing a moment of curiosity and acceptance. Which led me to the revelation that we as humans choose to love on our own conditions. It is rare that we give love unconditionally (even the best Christian struggles with this, I speak from experience). Yet, animals, they love the way that the bible says that love oughta be – once they accept you, they love you forever, unconditionally.
Acceptance is Love. Love is Acceptance.
The Animalistic view of love has my vote next time this debate should come up.