The way she loves.

Love is something so complicated I don’t know if any definition could cover all cases. Love is demanding and intense, and yet youthful and inspiring. Love is what The Beatles sang about, what Emily Dickinson dreamed about, what initiated wars, and hopefully will finish all wars. Love is larger than life and love creates life.

I didn’t realize that I was in love at first. I know I felt excitement and curiosity. I know I wasn’t ready to settle down yet, still playing yo-yo with plenty of suitors. I didn’t expect to feel tingling shivers or to walk around trying to cover up my smile. I wasn’t planning to find “the one” – let alone believing that it actually exists. But that’s exactly how it works. Love causes us to do the things we wouldn’t expect…. like packing up from the place I’ve lived my whole life and leaving the people that mean the most to me.

Loving Israel is loving the good and the bad. Loving her is believing in her potential and being patient when she lets me down. Loving her means getting to know all of her and even loving the parts that I wouldn’t dare to appreciate in someone else. Promising myself to her is investing in our future. Love demands me to love fully; and as my heart opens, I also bleed out tears of missing the people I’ve left in favor for our relationship. And in return, she gives me the highest quality of life I could have asked for. She gives me awesome views, sidesplitting laughs, a reason to wake up and the inspiration in my dreams. She encourages me with her youthful strides of growth. She fortifies me with historical reassurance. She gives birth to children of audacity and strength. She builds herself up to grow and flourish in unlikely circumstances. She converts her battles into confidence, her worries into accomplishments, and her petiteness into might.

I have butterflies in my tummy. And I have headaches that won’t subside. And I have a few scars from bad fights. And I have tremendous desires to protect. And I have anxieties of her leaving me, or her perishing from this world. And I cannot fully comprehend why others don’t love her like I do. And I can travel to other countries and experience their culture, but my heart always stays with her. And I want to scream out my love. And I want to shake the world to listen to her testimonies as well. And I want to tell the judge that she’s not perfect but she is innocent. And I want this nightmare trampling on our love story to end. And I want my nation to join me in supporting our partner. And I want the UN to give thought to other tragedies occurring in the world besides my love’s transgressions. And I want to catch my breath because love is too exhausting. And I want to give her everything, even what I’m lacking. I want her to flourish and the red carpet to roll out behind her and the camera to capture her unstoppable beauty. And I thought that I wanted a break but know that I can’t exist anymore without her in my life.

The problem with having such intense love is the eery shades of ephemerality. Sometimes on a grey day, I worry that one day there won’t be an Israel. And I honestly think that if this would happen, I would lose faith. I would probably stop practicing my people’s traditions. I would end up depressed and forsaken, like the widow that just drifts away.

I have to shake off that thought. I have to do everything in my power to ensure it won’t occur. I have to persuade my people to come here as often as possible. I will tell them to move their family tree to their original grove. I will explain the improvement of quality of life in the national community. I will share the excitement of joining in the greatest experiment in our history. I will sing the music that my love sings, the quality lyrics that western music forgets to continue. I will hug with gratitude the citizens of Israel, who consciously choose to support our love. I will do this and do more; and even that won’t be close to enough.

Love is exhausting. Love raises me to new levels of self improvement. Love comforts me with feeling understood and asks me to conquer challenges. Love teaches me a little something every day. My love is unique to me and unique to Israel. And my friends’ love of Israel is exclusive just to them as well. My particular journey getting to know Israel is still just beginning; we are still working out some kinks and catching on to each other’s rhythms. She might have a tough day and ignore my needs and sometimes I’ll be small and revengeful. But the relationship is worth it all. She’s worth it. She will give my children a wonderful education. She will prove them to be upstanding people who act on their values. She will give them opportunities to live life to the fullest; to live life truly richly. We are together for the long haul, and this relationship is making our life all that I’ve wanted.

About the Author
Talya Herring, originally from California, made Aliyah to a Moshav in the Negev for a year of her National Service at Aleh Negev, a rehabilitative village for people with severe disabilities and then worked as a tour guide for her second year of National Service. Now as a law student, she writes her blog to connect her evolving thoughts with friends and family, inspire ideas of self-achievement, and celebrate pride in values.
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