The Deeper Side of Love

Hank Mattimore
July 7, 2014
Reproduced with Permission

"What the world needs now is love sweet love. That's the only thing that there's just too little of."

Remember Dionne Warwick belting out that Bert Bacharach song back in the day? Pretty song isn't it? The lyrics express the yearning in all our hearts for the warm embrace of amour. There would be peace in the world and in our hearts if only we could share the love that is in us. We all know what this "love sweet love" is don't we? It's that feeling you experience just walking hand in hand with a cherished friend, or getting a smooch from your kid or grandchild. It's those warm fuzzies you get after lovemaking or that overwhelming sense of joy you feel at the birth of your child. OMIGOSH! We all recognize "sweet love." We need it; we crave it. We write songs about it and drink to it.

But we don't devote nearly as much time acknowledging the deeper side of love. I'm talking about that part of love that comes with tears and pain. It's the love that accompanies suffering and sadness and even death.

We know this aspect of love, too. Oh, do we know it! It's the "in sickness and in health" part of the marriage vows, the part of love that impels a single parent to take two jobs so her children can get a good education or helps a man to stand by his wife stricken with Alzheimer's disease or enables an ordinary guy to lay down his life for a buddy.

People use other words to describe the kind of love I'm talking about, words like courage or commitment or sacrifice, but, to me, these are just other ways of saying love. Behind every act of courage or heroism is that deep-seated need to express the love inside us.

There will come a time in the life of all of us that we are called upon to live this deeper side of love. The call may come dramatically like the unexpected death of a loved one or slowly like standing by helplessly as a life-long friend passes away in a sterile hospital room.

I wish sometimes that we only had the sweet love of the Bert Bacharach song but we were created for more, much more. We only become fully human when we accept both sides of love, the laughter with the tears, and the sweet with the deep.