Marc Barnes isn't even 20 years old but he's been given a a number of gifts, two of which are most obvious to me.
The gift of expression and the gift of insight.
Here he writes about love and I'm telling you, it's worth the read:
When I am in love I am uncertain, and my uncertainty makes me certain that I am in love.
I am uncertain why my beloved loves me. In her gaze, there is no understanding that “I am somewhere near a 7, she near an 8, we have these common interests and this mutual, biochemical attraction, and the sum total of all these things is the reason for her love.”
Her love remains a mystery.
In fact, any love that I’ve been happy enough to experience has come with the realization that “I don’t deserve this.”
I do not deserve to be forgiven by my friends. I do not deserve the kindness of my readers. If I were asked why I deserve the love of my family, I would panic in an attempt to gauge my relative worth before realizing what seems to be true: My family is a gift. No one deserves a gift. Gifts are simply given.
Love is a gift of self, and a deserved gift is not a gift, it is a paycheck. When I am certain about the other’s love for me — when I can give a reason for her love and a justification for my being loved — then I have torn love from the realm of gift and forced it into the Wal-mart world of transaction, for if I deserve love, then my belovedowes me her love, and we are made merchants.
So I am uncertain why my beloved loves me, and because of this uncertainty, I am certain that she does, for love is a gift, and a gift needs no reason for being given. Gifts, like babies, are unfathomable.
But there is a far deeper uncertainty. I cannot explain — in any rational way — why I love her.
Whenever I try to answer the question I end up resorting to a tautology: “I love her for who she is.” This phrase has always struck me as true when I utter it in love, and idiotic when I consider it rationally, in the same way things said drunk sound idiotic sober.
“I love her for who she is.” The word “her” already contains in its meaning “who she is”, and so all I am really saying is “I love her for her.” But even here, why the extra “for her”? Is this not already understood in the phrase “I love her?” If I said “I love to waterski for waterskiing” I would sound stupidly redundant.
I am trying to express that I do not love this or that quality, nor a particular usefulness, nor a particular moment, no, I love her, and
I cannot possibly give a reason for this love that does not transcend all reasons and simply point to the existenceof my beloved. Why her? Because her. As Pascal said: “The heart has its own reasons, of which reason knows not.”
I remember being disappointed with myself for having a list of my beloved’s lovable traits – ”I love her because she is charming, kind, etc.” — and now I understand why.
True love persists when all lovable traits are latent or absent in the beloved. I love when my beloved is everything but charming. I loves her in her ugly days. “I love her no matter what” — is this not the distinguishing phrase of love in any form it takes? The vows of marriage give testimony to this fact: We love “rich or poor, in sickness or in health.”
All I can say is “I love her for her”, because love responds to the beloved’s very being. Thus I am uncertain as to why I love — at least, I cannot give a reason for my love — and because of this uncertainty, I am certain that I have found love indeed, for I loveher, and love has nothing to do with any combination of attributes or uses that may serve as a reason.
Now there is no conceivable point in which love is completed. I’ve watched my father and mother weather thick and thin, and one thing has been made undeniably clear to me: There is no point in which lovers can sit back and say, “Here we are. We’ve arrived. We love each other. We have finished this project of love.”
Actually, not quite yet. Go finish this project of love defined over at Marc's place.
Then pass this on, particularly to young ones who wonder if they're in love.