As an atheist (among other things) I occasionally get needled by people who want to know what I believe in. I’ve always tried to eliminate beliefs from my life; accepting something without proof has caused me too many problems in the past. However, there are a few things I still believe in. Here’s one.
I believe that love works like gravity. Okay, so this is going to be one of those articles that scientists hate where the author draws a spurious connection between a law of the universe and some human behavior, but bear with me. This one is good.
See, there are five basic forces that govern the universe: the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, gravity and incompetence. (You can laugh here.) I’ve never understood the strong and weak forces, but they have something to do with holding matter together. The electromagnetic force is energy: heat, light, lightning, magnetism, etc. Gravity pulls things together.
Gravity is easily the weakest of the basic forces. It’s so gentle that we forget it. We defy gravity daily when we jump, fly in an airplane, or launch a rocket into space. It’s rare when we think about gravity, but it’s always there, doing amazing things. Only gravity can bend time. Only gravity can gently nudge dust particles together until they ignite into a star.
I believe that love works in the same way. When people talk about love, most of the time they’re really talking about something else. Romance isn’t love. Passion isn’t love. Lust isn’t even close. Take away all of those other emotions and ask the average person to tell you about love, and they’ll draw a blank. Real love is far too easy to overlook.
Love is what’s left over when all the other emotions are gone. It’s a bond between living beings that’s so fragile you’d hardly notice it. It’s what keeps married people together for ten, twenty, forty years, even when all the passion and romance has disappeared. It’s the feeling you have when you have finally gotten your screaming baby to sleep and you feel the gentle thump-thump of its heartbeat against your skin. It’s an emotion so subtle, that most people never get a chance to feel it, but it’s always there, gently nudging people together until they ignite.
One last thing about gravity. It’s infinite. I hope that love is, too.