When we’re young, we all want big love. Something precious, something different, something above and beyond anything we have ever felt before. We dream of expansive, grandiose gestures and romance that sweeps us away into a dreamland of endless passion. We refuse to accept less, and we become frustrated when we don’t get exactly what we pictured.
Then we grow, we mature, and we start to understand the truth about big love.
It is not at all what we expected it to be.
It is not a fairy tale. We find that a person can lavish us with money, gifts, even travel, and it leaves us feeling hollow and incomplete. The showy displays of devotion that we thought we desired above all else turn out to be superficial, lacking any real lasting substance. We begin to realize that every story we’ve been fed about romance our entire lives is, in fact, way off the mark.
We may even encounter that instant chemistry that we’ve always been led to believe embodies true love. It feels like a rush, a high, and we fall into the trap, if only temporarily. Unfortunately, we learn a harsh lesson from this type of infatuation. Butterflies and nerves and impulsive decisions are not love. In order to figure out what encompasses real romance, we must fight through the firestorm that results when our immediate connection fails, as was always doomed to happen.
Big love develops slowly, but somehow we never have to doubt it. It is kind and patient and it passes every test that all the other loves failed miserably. It manifests in a partner who cares for us in ways we never dreamed existed, for we cannot imagine something we’ve not understood. Finally we can be entirely ourselves, exulting in the freedom that comes when we are loved for who we are without question or judgment.
It surprises with its simplicity and allows us to open gently, tenderly, in our own time. Rather than shocking us with a quickly dying spark, it envelops us with trust, respect, and depth. Everything that we once thought was completely undesirable is now the best and brightest we could ever want.
The person who manifests this big love for us can seem terrifying in the beginning. It is tough to trust that it is different this time. We’ve been fooled in the past and we are tired of the pain. We don’t want to keep putting our hearts on the line and watching as they get stomped on yet again. It’s okay, though — big love doesn’t give up on us that easily. Try as we might to resist, to draw back, we can’t help but push forward into the possibilities. We know somewhere deep down inside that this really is something precious, something we’ve never had before. It deserves consideration.
Big love isn’t at all what we are told when we’re young. It hides in quiet moments, in bouts of silly laughter and in ugly cries in the arms of a person we trust completely. It allows us to show every aspect of our deepest selves without fear, and expose the qualities that have in the past resulted in shame and misunderstanding. Big love is absolute freedom. That liberty allows us to erupt from our shells and blossom into the intricate beings that have been hiding inside all along.
It isn’t flashy or expensive or selfish. The person who gives us big love gives us the most valuable gift we will ever receive, whether that love lasts or not. Knowing that big love exists, that it truly is out there, gives us strength and hope to carry on even when a person who embodies it for us moves on. We realize, finally, that the biggest love of all is inside ourselves. That we are big love, and that we can in turn gift that love to the rest of the world.