By Kenneth Stepp
Love me… These words can be thought of in different ways. Love me? Is asking if you love me. Love me! Is stating I want you to love me. Love, me. Could be a way to sign a letter. I suppose I’ve used these words in every context in the past. So how am I saying it today? Are these words drifting across your mind too? Questions abound, but that one question burns into my soul. Love me, how am I saying it today? I am on fire today, my fire is inside me. No one that sees me knows. It’s funny how we try to judge what we see on the outside, yet, it’s what’s going on inside that is real. I can smile, shake hands, be funny, even work a room. And no one sees the the battle inside me. I’m not the only one that has a war going on inside them
As I sit here writing my thoughts down and evaluating the confusing array of thoughts careening through my head, I can’t help thinking how I would look right now to someone here watching me write. On the outside I’m just a guy sitting on a sofa with a laptop in my lap tapping and clicking his thoughts, I’m laid back and calm. This is the me that most see on a daily basis. The real me, or what is happening inside my head is very different. In my head a train whistle is going off three feet from my ear and sparks are flying all around me. Talk about a dichotomy.
My life, for the most part, rocks. I work for myself, I work from my laptop, and my bills are very low, as I have no debt. It’s a nice existence that was not easy to create and took more time and effort than my demeanor shows as I’m working. This part of my life is amazing. My love life however is where confusion lives…
Tevye: Do you love me?
Golde: Do I what?
Tevye: Do you love me? – Fiddler on The Roof
Do you love me? I love this song from Fiddler On The Roof. I’m a rather large retired professional fighter who found his inner art lover, who after years of thinking about how to put another man to sleep was my art, now has discovered he loves art in any form. Who would have guessed?
Tevye was a thinker and a romantic. He lived in a world where marriages were arranged, planned, and dictated. They were arranged as was his own. Then one day it dawned on him. He had dedicated his life to being a good husband and father. Something happened along the way though. He fell madly in love with his bride. Real unconditional love. I imagine in his world that seldom happened. Marriage was more of a long term business arrangement than anything else. In love, he had to ask her, do you love me?
Tevye: Golde, I’m asking you a question. Do you love me?
Golde: You’re a fool!
Tevye: I know. But do you love me? – Fiddler on The Roof
I don’t believe Golde had ever thought of whether she loved Tevye or not. It just wasn’t something people thought of in their world. But Tevye could think of nothing else. He was a romantic in love in a place where love wasn’t thought of. I know the desperation he felt, I know how it feels to love someone and the fear I may be alone in this love. I’ve been there and the chaotic thoughts that come from it can make you ask that beautiful question, do you love me?
For me, I find myself saying those two words today, “love me”. The context that I say them is a bit confusing though. Am I asking you to love me? Am I asking “if” you love me? Or simply saying goodbye in a letter? I just hear the words in my head. Love is here, love is in my life somewhere, I feel it, I adore it, and I crave it in the deepest corners of my being. My past and present seems to be stitched together in a way that makes time irrelevant. How or why this happens is over my head. All I hear are two words, asking, saying, or stating, love me…
Golde: Do I love you?
For twenty-five years, I’ve washed your clothes,
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house,
Given you children, milked the cow.
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?
Tevye: The first time I met you was on our wedding day. I was scared.
Golde: I was shy.
Tevye: I was nervous.
Golde: So was I.
Tevye: But my father and my mother said we’d learn to love each other.
So, now I’m asking, Golde…
Tevye: Do you love me?
Golde: I’m your wife!
Tevye: I know. But do you love me?
I think she loved him.