Love develops slowly, for it is a capacity requiring growth. It cannot spring full blown at first sight, as infatuation does. True love is potentially unlimited. Unlike infatuation, which lives and dies quickly, friendship, respect and marital love grow with time. Friendship is the start of all love; true friendship is love. Huck Finn, the classic boy character of Mark Twain, begins a adventure traveling by raft down the Mississippi River, with Jim, a slave he knows little more than in passing.
At the beginning of the journey, Huck sees Jim as society then saw Jim, as property. Yet, they were excited at the outset, and quick, though unlikely, friends. Had the novel ended in a hundred pages, Huck would have been left with a fond memory. But as Huck and Jim experience the river, and over time jointly interact with the characters they meet, Huck begins to question what he has been taught by the adults in Hucks life; Jim seems remarkably like a person to Huck. And as Huck is forced to rely on Jim, and Jim to rely on Huck, Huck finds true respect, and even love, for this man. Time together nourished the infatuation of their initial meeting into love.
Unlimited love may expand beyond one or two friends. The Christmas movie, Its a Wonderful Life, portrays a character who questions the worth of his own life. Self absorbed in his own problems, George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is faced with an allegation of bank fraud. He questions whether he has made a difference in his family and his town, and even considers suicide. An angel arrives to show George what Bedford Falls would have been like had George not been born. He would not have saved his brothers life, or prevented the druggists negligence.
... and break one more time the social conventions. The respectable acts Huck performs serve to strengthen his friendship with Jim. Although these acts are ... an incident that took place before, when Huck played a trick on Jim.Huck discovers that Jim loves him beyond doubt and was truly ... come near loss of life, proves that he really cares about Jim, considers him to be his friend. Huck makes his first ...
He would see empty lots rather than the homes he had helped build. George is reborn when he sees that life is worth living and the reason is that he knows love. He has a wife, and children, and the respect of his friends. And, in a dramatic climax, the whole town, in love with Georges lifetime of service to others, comes to his rescue. A good deed now and then is fine; love for ones neighbors over a long time becomes mutual. The highest capacity for love is probably in marriage.
My grandparents will have been married for 50 years in June. They have enjoyed the joys and tragedies of raising three children. They traveled around the world for different jobs. They live now in New Mexico, and oversee six grandchildren and hundreds of friends and relatives, and perhaps even a few enemies. My grandmother and my grandfather could stand alone and successfully face the world. But they choose to stand together in any celebration or against any adversity.
Even though my grandparents are more than 70 years old, anyone who knows them knows that their capacity for loving each other is still not met. Theirs is a half-century of love, built a year at a time. The loving relationships of Huck and Jim, or of George Bailey and Bedford Falls, or of my grandparents, are not the products of an instant formula. Of course, each example enjoyed an infatuation of varying degrees and intensity. But, time, duration, and commitment lead to the classic love we treasure, in books, movies, or real life. It is indeed a wonderful life, when we take the time to love a long time.