What is the proper way to love?

Is it to realize that each body wakes and struggles,

Containing the soft beat of a heart, the anthem of their person hood?

Certainly to love is to admire and cherish.

To encourage and send strong smiles to their eyes each morning?

And surely to love is to be firm, to be disappointed, to disappoint.

To yell and scream, to cry and roar, all in the name of our red red hearts?

Or is it to give your entire self to the other, to the outside, until you are a worn down stump,

Unrecognizable as a loving being that sacrificed the entirety of your touch, vision, and voice?

“No, no, silly,” they forcefully remind, “love is a balance.”

Is the proper way to love, then, to have a garish golden balance atop your head,

Slowly tipping back and forth from OTHER to SELF?

And every interaction that drains you causes your left shoulder to sag and sag and sag,

Notifying you of the necessity to go and love yourself.

So you look in the mirror, glance at the balance with sheepish annoyance,

Declaring silently with lion eyes that this self-love will be successful (it has not been before).

As your bubble bath is filling, you sit and drum your fingers as you wander through Hebrews. There is a warmth, a Godly warmth, that fills your body as you smile, not understanding, but feeling loved regardless.

Once in the bath, with front row seats to off white ceramic, the silence and loneliness hits you -- Your shortcomings and failures dance on the bubbles that have collected on your knees.

(You are not loving yourself.)

The chorus comes back:

“Well of course this is not self-love!! You have to be positive. Be happy.”

To love is to be positive? To be happy? To ignore the happenings of the world,

The shootings, the injustice, to form a small bubble around yourself where only positivity reigns?

What of God? What of obstacles? Where does he fit into this puzzle of happiness, positivity, and self love?

Is love, self love and the like, not to merely recognize where your wispy soul finds its origin? To recognize that the stump you have made yourself by giving and giving is the the only way to love?

Your hands have become horrifyingly like prunes, wrinkled with age.

Sixty years have passed in this same bubble bath,

your mind is speaking in Logic but your soul is speaking in Hallelujah.

Your entire life has been spent deciding on the proper way to love,

as if you were deciding which luxury vehicle to buy, a mere commodity.

(And the chorus, as always, has an opinion.)

“See? You should have been enjoying your life.

You should have focused on the small things! Life is so short.”