Saturday, January 29, 2005

saying "i love you"

when i left the "living room coffeehouse" last night, mary nan gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, saying, "i guess this is it until i come back to town next time." she then proceeded to say she loves me. and what i got out was "right back at you."

which if you think about it means absolutely nothing, other than cowardice. perhaps.
it could also mean i don't want your love, since you are pretty much telling them it should go right back at them.

it got me thinking though about why those words are so hard to say to people for whom the feeling is genuinely felt. maybe it's because i feel funny saying them. like those three words feel really sentimental when i personally buck and chafe against the sentimental.

but perhaps that's not it. does anyone else find a shortage when thinking of saying these words to anyone other than parents?

maybe it's a societal thing- a semantics thing, where they are used improperly, when affection, esteem or liking would be a better fit. similar in my mind to when people "cuss", which i think is just plain laziness and not being able to call it exactly as it is. on tv, in movies- people fall in and out of love so easily; these words are spoken with such little aplomb.

but when it's love of friends, it shouldn't be hard to say "i love you." i mean with mary nan, i know she loves me because after all of the fights, all of the shared burritos and giving away of ourselves and our clothing to the homeless for years, she keeps coming back for more. and she can write the best birthday cards ever, that leave me feeling affirmed and knowing i am loved by her.

i think the "i love you" deficit in my everyday vernacular is maybe because it puts you all out there, shows you to be vulnerable and beckons responsibility. because to some extent those you love, you are responsible for, in so far as not letting them throw their lives away without putting in your two cents, or letting them walk out into a busy intersection during rush hour. same principle.

and that requires work and commitment. three little words, so rife with meaning.

so mary nan, "i love you too", but it still feels a little funny saying it.

2 Comments:

Blogger End_User-X said...

I think the reason some of us feel funny saying "I love you" is because we as modern people are isolated and selfish, and it makes us aware of something and someone outside of ourselves when we say it. Plus, we're also kind of calloused and hard hearted in varying degrees, and it goes against our flesh to say I love you. It's something that God has to heal us of, and He will if we let Him. We need the same kind of passion Jesus has for others.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, annelies. i post as anonymous because i don't have the 3 minutes to get a new account.
thanks for loving me, girly girl.
i love you too!
and i loved the soup that you so delicately made (even though i grew up being told that you cannot love an item...you can only love people.
mary nan ollis salutes a.z.

8:26 AM  

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