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The Circle of Love

The Circle of Love

Love is a strange thing between two people. This explains my observations in my life about love.

In the 1990's, I worked for a small company that had a worldwide reputation for computer software excellence. I became the Manager of Software Support a few months after I started. It was a nice job but fraught with thankless problems if solved happily. Part of my position was hiring interns from local universities to work the summer full-time and if they worked out, part-time while in school. During my interview schedule, I found a very good candidate and offered her the position. Her name was Ami and she was from Vietnam. She was smart and handled herself well, when trouble shooting software problems. She worked directly for and with me. I helped her with learning a proprietary operating system and the tools used to write programs for it. In less than six weeks, she became proficient enough to handle calls on her own. I watched from the sidelines as she grew in proficiency and confidence. Over time, I came to know her and her fiancé. He was a fellow student one year ahead of her. We went to lunch almost daily to discuss her job and her life outside of work and school. She had many friends from school and other places. They spent a lot of time together, but when the announcement of her engagement appeared, some of them left her circle of friends quietly.

One day she asked about that loss. I had never thought of those observations, but looking over my life, I discovered the same thing happened. When I was in college dating my future wife, I had a huge number of friends. We had parties and spent time together just having fun. The group of us known as the guys hung out at school and on weekends. Some of us had steady girlfriends, but it did not matter. Toward the end of my junior year, my girlfriend and I announced our engagement. Almost immediately, several of my friends drifted away. It was, as if they did not want to be around me anymore or I got a bad disease. I never thought or noticed it at the time. It just happened. I developed some new friends who also announced their engagements. The love that flowed out to my friends now focused on my fiancé and drew us closer together but apart from many of our friends.

The next big change came when we got married. The love that we shared with our many friends shrunk again. Our life revolved around each other. We spent less time with our friends, as we built our home and life together. Our lives focused on working, spending time with family and just being together getting to know each other. The circle of love shrunk more but concentrated on making our marriage and union stronger. As a couple, we never noticed or cared, that we were alone a lot. We had each other nothing else mattered. We gained a few friends but not as many as when we were single. Our love sustained us. We focused on each other pouring our love to each other.

The next big event that made a significant change was the birth of our child. The birth of a child is an event that expands the circle of love. The love that bonded husband and wife now turned outward away from each other. There was a new person in the family who required our focus and our love. Time spent together as a couple became less and less. The child demanded more of our love and us. We gave it up willingly and never complained or noticed the radical changes. A major part of the change was that love we gave to our child came back to us from the child. A loop channeled our love from us and back to us. This was fine for a time but the love was constant and always moved from parent to child and back. Our married friends who were childless moved away replaced by other families. What happened next was more dramatic.

The birth of a second child split the love even more. Love focused from both parents to one child split and focused on two. This usually worked all right but only for a short time. With two children, the love of one parent focused on one child while the love of the other parent may totally shift to the other child. The parents split with a child each. This worked in most cases, but sometimes the love of one parent split between the children and the love of the other parent focused on one child. Meanwhile the love the parents had for each other diminished more and in some cases became non-existent. Family time was precious but the alone time for husband and wife ended. Life and love focused on the family unit. Other families joined the circle of love as the children grew.

When the children were fully grown, their love focused on their friends and less on the family. As the children left the family, their love diminished for family. The parents were alone again. Some of their love went with the children. The remainder of the love went back to shared by each parent. What happened with this love was anyone's guess. In most cases it fell back, to focus on the older married couple as if they just got married again. Time spent together became more important. The circle of love had focused inward again. More friends their own age drifted back. It became a new life and everyone was happy or at least they thought they were happy. Some of these new friends became more than friends and things broke apart.

Many couples joined groups of senior citizens to keep the circle going. Others focused on each other and started as if they just met. The circle of love went on. Still others found new friends and broke the circle to start again.

When I told Ami about what I observed about my personal circle of love, she was very grateful that I shared it with her. It put her heart at rest and I could see the love in her eyes for her future husband. They married the year after she graduated and have a lovely family now. The circle of love remained unbroken for her.

Love is a funny thing, the circle is always there but never noticed. As time goes on, it expands and contracts, sometimes like the waves of the ocean coming ashore. Depending on the tides, storms at sea and other natural things the waves crash and the water roars to the shore. Other times it just pushes in slowly and quietly. No matter what happens the waves continue to come in and go back out. As I sit here writing this, the song 'Ebb Tide' sung by The Righteous Brothers plays in my mind. It is such a stirring song and it explains a lot metaphorically about love between two people.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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