by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in the Kaieteur News on 14 Feb 2006)
The shades of love are truly one of the most interesting aspects of human interaction. We hold varying shades of love for our family, friends – and, of course, for that special someone. It is in the exploration of these various types of love that we define each meaningful relationship in our lives.
The term I just used, "meaningful relationship," sparked an interest in me recently. I overheard the phrased being used by someone else and although I cannot seem to recall the person (I believe it was a stranger) or even the place where I heard this phrase, it was the use of this phrase that has stuck with me for several days now.
I have to confess that except for those in my immediate family, I cannot say that I am good at maintaining meaningful relationships. It's not that I don't desire these precious connections, or that I do not have a good amount of friends with whom I enjoy associating.
However, I have a terrible habit of not returning phone calls and if someone calls me (be it a friend or family member), I will often panic and not answer the phone. Writers are some of the quirkiest people on earth and I fully acknowledge that I fit that description in this regard.
Do I love my friends? Of course. There is simply nothing I would not do for my friends and when I do answer the phone or return a phone call, it is often the case that an hour has flown by before I know it because I enjoy talking to them so much.
I adore my family too. I have only one brother on my side of the family who is still living. We have no parents or other family members; it is just the two of us. Yet I find it so difficult to keep in constant contact with him. We love each other dearly, but still months can slip by without talking to each other. I made it one of my New Year's resolutions to call him at least once a month this year.
I have often tried to analyse myself regarding my apprehensive approach to relationships. I think it has a lot to do with being an Aquarius that has shaped me into this person who holds people at arms length – even when I love them and I know they love me. Aquarians are known for being the life of the party and then being able to walk away from any relationships developed therein.
We are very picky when it comes to friends, but when we finally decide to trust someone, that person will be a friend for life and have our undying loyalty. However, most times that person will have to be very understanding to deal with the Aquarian since we do like to distance ourselves from others so often.
In any case, I do try to be honest with myself concerning these non-productive relational traits and to find ways to grow whenever possible. Love is a too precious a commodity to be treated with indifference. Which is why I felt provoked to evaluate myself when I heard the term "meaningful relationship." I wondered instantly if I had any of these types of relationships in my life.
The answer, of course, is yes – probably also because I am an Aquarian. We hate to feel lonely, so we are careful to cultivate at least a few strong relationships. The strongest of my relationships is with my husband. Ours is a unique bond that I could never explain verbally and would even be at a lost to put the words in writing.
This week alone he shocked me twice when I went to say something and before I even got the words out of my mouth he had a response. One time, I had even forgotten what I was going to say, but he knew. It is true that after 20 years together, these types of interactions tend to become second nature, but for some reason I am still pleasantly taken aback each time.
There was a period of time when my husband and I were not together because life had sent us into different directions. This was a sad time, but somehow we found our way back to each other in the end. During that time apart, there was not one day when we did not talk to each other – even through some bitter tears and heartache.
I mentioned before that I married at a very young age and for years my whole life revolved around my husband and our relationship. When that relationship was then absent from my life, I felt lost for a few months, but in the end I found a whole new Stella that I never knew existed before.
We both learned so much about ourselves during our time apart and in the end found that we were stronger - and as a result our love was stronger too. We had always had a pretty balanced relationship, but now we have a completely different approach. Instead of the 50/50 type of give-and-take relationship that we had for so many years, it is now more of a 100/100 approach with each of us being everything we want to be in life while we share that life with each other.
In today's microwave – I want it now – world, it is much easier to toss our meaningful relationships aside than to invest the effort of carefully cultivating them or to painstakingly work through our differences.
I know Valentine's Day is suppose to be about the "butterflies in the stomach" type of feelings, but I truly do not believe the world needs even one more relationship that will flutter away when the wind blows too hard. Solid relationships are not found on the wings of butterflies, they are forged in the crucible of life and each day we make decisions as to how those relationships will develop.
The flowers and the chocolates are nice (really nice), but in the end I am happy with just the knowledge that my husband and I still enjoy long walks together. The flowers will fade and the chocolate will be eaten (in my case, by the end of the day), but the many shades of love can be enjoyed every single day within those meaningful relationships we choose to cultivate.
Happy Valentine's Day!