In this first of our Community Contributions guest posts, singer-songwriter Paul Smulders shares his pursuit to understand the true meaning of love. My deepest appreciation to Paul for opening up this vital dialogue and pursuing it further ...and creating a Magnificent Life of Love...
In Paul’s own words...
In response to a challenge from a friend to write a ‘happy song’ or a ‘love song’ as opposed to the two published very sad songs I wrote. I started thinking about what constitutes true love and how to present it in an honest and meaningful song.
Writing a love song is not easy. It is as if all the good ones have all been written. Or have they? To try and capture the essence of a love song without sounding trite is a big challenge.
I want to know what love is by the rock group, Foreigner, is surely one of the iconic modern versions of a love song. It poses the question: What exactly is love?
“I want you to show me!” How exactly do you show someone you really love them? What do you put on display?” Is it a feeling, an emotion or simply an idea? The more I think about it the more uncertain I become.
People happily say with the best of intention, “I love you more than anything in the world.” “For your love I will climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean!” Really? Is that right over the highest peak or straight across or maybe just a little along the coast?
I hate to seem blasé, disrespectful or jaded but to put down words that truly capture the essence of the meaning of the word love is not so easy.
I love you, slips just as easily over to I love Maple syrup on flapjacks, I love oysters with pepper and lemon juice on the rocks or the smell of a freshly mowed lawn. The essential meaning of the word cannot be the same in all manifestations of the basic word.
Maybe the problem lies with the word and how it is applied to various situations. The word love can project deep emotions and be used manipulatively to achieve certain objectives as well. If you really love me, you will rob the bank. Surely this is a foolish challenge to issue or accept to prove genuine love. The latter may contemplate doing something stupid out of a misguided sense of love. But the former in setting such a demand certainly has a very loose understanding of the meaning of love and the reasonable sacrifices one could be expected to make to prove anything. Certainly not true love?
Could it be that the vagueness of language confuses us and we cannot see the thin line that separates love from infatuation? Seeing someone as “perfect” in every single way is clearly infatuation. Easy to love someone like that. But genuine love should and will overlook flaws and weaknesses.
But will it?
If you get caught robbing the bank and sent to prison for 20 years. I love you so much I will wait for you. Really? Are you willing to take that chance? Will your lover forsake all others until you are released? That is a difficult proposition and only time will tell.
The word love implies unselfish trust while often the exact opposite too often rears its ugly head. When tainted by jealousy, love quickly deteriorates into something very ugly. A love song can however deal with broken hearts and bitter disappointment. Instead of the fanciful flowers and pearls variety.
There are far too many injuries in the sport of love, littering the playing field to ignore the fact that often something else is mistaken for love.
I will keep searching until I find the formula that unlocks the gate. And then I will have the wisdom to write a real hit love song. To which true lovers all over can relate, without even the tiniest shadow of doubt.
Singer-Songwriter Paul A. Smulders’ songs reflect the tragic impact of war and social conflict on the lives of individual people and their families. Paul grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. Soon after leaving high school in 1971, Paul was drafted and served in the “South African Defence Force,” during the 23-year-long border conflict which lasted from 1966 to 1989. Paul developed a passion for playing guitar and writing during off duty quiet periods away from home. In pursuit of a deeper understanding of love, Paul is also venturing into regular Muse Meets, and he will be joining my new Biodanza Novice class opening in January 2021.
Listen to Paul’s original music at https://newnotes.com/new-home/collaborations/paul-smulders/, and follow his Facebook page for more.
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