Is Love Enough?

Claudia: When I was a little girl, I used to say to her, “I love you to the moon and down again and around the world and back again.” And she used to say to me, “I love you to the sun and down again and around the stars and back again.” Do you remember, mama? And I used to think, wow, I love mama, and mama loves me, and what can go wrong? [pause] What went wrong, mama? I love you and you love me, and what went wrong? You see, I know she loves me, and I love her, and–so what? So what? She’s over there, and I’m over here, and she hates me because of the things I’ve done to her, and I hate her because of the things she’s done to me. You stand up there asking “Do you love your daughter” and they say yes. And you think you’ve asked something real, and they think they’ve said something real. You think because you toss the word love around like a frisbee we’re all going to get warm and runny. No. Something happens to some people. They love you so much they stop noticing you’re there because they’re so busy loving you. They love you so much their love is a gun, and they keep firing it straight into your head. They love you so much you go right into a hospital. Yes, I know she loves me. Mama, I know you love me. And I know one thing you learn when you grow up is that love is not enough. It’s too much and not enough.

– From the play Nuts by Tom Topor

Honestly, I don’t know if love is truly enough. On the other hand, what if we love too much that we end up ignoring the people we love the most? We love our wives, husbands, daughter, son, cousin, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandfather, friend, and so on and so forth. But it’s the people really closest to us when we have to ask ourselves if loving someone is enough. If love truly is the most important thing in the world, then why do people still fight? Why do breakups happen? Why are divorces more common today? Why do we see kids hating their parents? You love him and he loves you. What’s the problem? Can love alone stand and make a relationship work?

A part of me says no, it absolutely doesn’t. Love can’t do it alone. A couple of years ago I made this realization and a friend even agreed with me but what we couldn’t decipher was that if love wasn’t enough, what was missing?

What if it’s not a lack of love, but the opposite wherein you love the person too much? But… can too much love be a bad thing? They say love is all you need but can you really have too much of love? At first, I found it blasphemous to say that a person can love too much. Then I realized that parents for example could fall victim to this trap. I know parents only want to give the best to their children but it can be too much sometimes. This is not just being overprotective or sheltering your kids, I think it’s something more and deeper.

So what then?

Is it the lack of love or is too much love that’s killing us? So should there be a “perfect balance” of loving someone? I’m not talking about you loving your partner and you still having your own little thing. This is not just about you letting your girlfriend have a girl’s night out and you can just spend time alone on another time. Again it’s deeper and even more profound. We’ve all felt this sort of imbalance of love one way or another – with our parents, kids, spouses, girlfriend, boyfriend, or whoever. It’s so quizzical and frustrating to not know the answer.

What’s even more frustrating is when we really love someone that we can’t know what the other person is feeling. You can be giving the right amount of love in your mind but the other person might not be feeling enough of that love. We give everything to the one we love and sometimes it’s not enough. More often than not, it’s never enough. Love is always a risk.

But we always choose to love. Always. We choose to love not knowing if it’s finally enough or too much. We love even if it hurts. We love even if it kills us. We love not merely because of the tingly feeling we get. We love not just because the other person might love us back. We even love all the more if that same person doesn’t love us back. We love through days, months, and even years. We love relentlessly and unselfishly. We love despite the uncertainty. We love because it’s the only way to live. We love in only a way we know how as individuals.

Sometimes we love people so much that we have to be numb to it. Because if we actually felt how much we love them, it would kill us. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means your heart’s too big.” – Riding in Cars with Boys

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