Where did the phrase “in love” come from? What does it really mean to “be in love”? I do not know how long the phrase has been around. But it eludes me. I’m not satisfied with how it is phrased and I suppose that could have something to do with what it has come to mean in my world: American, middle-class society.
If I really think back to when I first heard and learned the phrase, I could honestly say that it was since I was a baby. I don’t remember it specifically, however I know the phrase to have already been so common at that time, in the early 80’s. We most commonly hear it as “falling in love”. An action, describing something happening to a person and giving the image that it lands a person in a certain place and that place is love. And then there’s the variation of “being in love”. This gives the impression of a state of mind, once again another place that a person is in. What does that tell me though of how it is supposed to feel? What are the emotions associated with it and is it an emotion? Or could it be a place – a state of mind? Is it a combination of both?
What if we turned those phrases around? What if instead, we went around saying that we were “love in falling”? Or that I was “love in being”? Does it suggest more control on the part of the one in love? Or could it reveal that love exist completely aside from our actions and place? Could it imply that we can always have love, in all that we are and all that we are doing? Could it be that love is always with us? Or are there times in our lives when love is not there?
I googled some of these questions and I have to confess, that the results are too overwhelming for me to list them here or get in over my head beyond the curious thoughts I already entertain. Throughout the world love is associated with emotion and passion, good virtue and compassion, sex and affection, commitment and relationships, choice and the inevitable.
But I have no answers, only questions still. I think I will never stop wondering about what it means to “be in love” or “fall in love”. It must be and look different for each person and yet have a foundation and key elements that are beyond us and un-explainable. I hope it is un-explainable and not confined to my limited understanding. Yet, what could that one foundation be that proves love to be love?
And as scary as it is to put into writing, I will claim that so far it is looking a lot different from what I had thought and expected. This is what makes me want to re-phrase such a universal concept in my mind. Why not “love in being”? Why not “love in falling”? Why not “love in…”?