The Greatest Love Story of All?

By Jennifer Allen

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart." ~ Helen Keller

I have a huge confession to make. Above all other things that make up all the little quirks of who I am, I've always had a fondness for a great love story. An honest and true love story just makes my heart melt in so many ways. The best ones are those that make you have one of those goofy “smiley crying" sessions where tears run down your face because you simply can't contain all the happiness building up inside. Is it a bit sappy? Maybe. Does it cause some people to roll their eyes in disgust? Certainly. Is it utterly precious when it happens to you? Most definitely.

But first I feel I have to explain what I mean by a “great love story". C. S. Lewis explained in his book "The Four Loves" that we as human beings experience four different kinds of love in our lives: Storge (familial love), Philios (friendship), Eros (romantic love), and Agape (charitable love). To me, all four are equally as important despite Lewis further explaining that the first three have both positive and negative connotations. Only by experiencing Agape (which is explained as a selfless love akin to loving God) will you find true enlightenment.

With this explanation, a “great love story" can be much broader than simply two people falling in love and having that perfect storybook romance. I think that you can have an equally fulfilling love story involving close friends or family. Of course, one factor that has to be there in order for the story to work: it has to be narratively believable enough to pull us in as an audience in order to properly tug on our heartstrings.

In a previous article I spoke about the video game, Detroit: Become Human and its three protagonists. Part of what makes the narrative work is that these characters are androids who (depending on your own choices) can each gradually acquire the emotions necessary to experience love in their own ways. Connor grows due to his friendship with Hank. Kara develops a mother-daughter relationship with Alice. Marcus can become romantically involved with North. All three can also perform selfless acts (such as not harming humans who are cruel to them) as well. To me, each of the stories in this game work… especially if you go for all of the “good" endings. More than a few scenes gave me “smiley crying" moments and this is probably why I've played the game four times already.

Now as extension of a good story, I'm also a big fan of “love gestures". You know the ones. When you walk in to your house and there's rose petals leading you gradually from one room to the next. When you are taken in the car to some unknown location and when you open your eyes it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. It could also be something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee for someone else or opening the car door for them. Little gestures can mean just as much as the big ones, as long as the intent is there.

Now from the sheer amount of romance films that have been released in both Bollywood and Tollywood I know I'm not alone in being a hopeless romantic. It does make your heart swell just a bit when you see the pair lock eyes through a plethora of bright colored outfits and then join in for one of the most fun and entertaining dance sequences ever. Granted, aside from the occasional random flash mob or a truly grandiose wedding, I doubt we'll ever be able to accomplish a true dance party to show our appreciation of love like those shown in the movies.

Truthfully, though, the “love gesture" cannot effectively work without a “great love story" to ground it. Love, no matter which of the four forms it may manifest, must be there in order for both the story and the gesture within the story to work properly. You can't simply have a happy ending in the middle of the overarching story. You have to let it play out in its own time, whether it is one night or 100 years. It sounds cliché when they say that you simply know when you're in love, but it does happen.

No matter whom you love, take the time once in a while to for a “love gesture" of your own. Whether great or small, can go a long way and doesn't have to be singled out just for a single day such as February 14.

Only you can create the perfect “great love story" and maybe even give others a good “smiley cry" when they hear about it later on.

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culure Geek.