Let me ask you a question. What does the word “love” mean to you? Take a second. What word or words pop into you mind? Romance? Valentines Day? Your loved one’s name? Maybe your favorite flavor ice cream or those boots you found on sale - that you just have to have? Are you perhaps smiling, as you remember your first love, and the flutter in your heart each time your eyes met or your hands touched? Or, are tears slipping from your eyes, as you ache for the love of your life, who has been taken from your world all too soon?
Love. Such a simple four letter word. One lone syllable, yet, so complicated. Love of country, love of money, love of family, love for God. This complex, four letter word, may in fact, be one of the most essential and also ill-treated words known to man. We as humans crave the love of another, oftentimes going to great lengths to discover and acquire love. Without love in our lives, we feel incomplete, empty and alone. Whether it be the love of our family, a friend’s love, God’s love or a country to love - our souls cries for it. Our sons and daughters at this moment are sacrificing their very lives - all for love of country. This complicated, petite word is an incredibly powerful force.
We humans, fall in love, slide out of love, love madly, experience love’s first blush and love‘s final breath. We know the thrills of new love, the heartaches, joys, and struggles of continued love and the incredible sorrow of our love’s last breath. Our hearts become, if possible, all the bigger and our love magnifies as we bring new life into the world. This is pure love. A love for which we would gladly lay down our lives. This love is beyond reasoning and is all consuming. We are their parents and they are our children. We live in them, they live through us. There maybe no greater bond of love.
This amazing, confusing, complicated thing called love, sadly, all too often in today’s throw away society has become, just that; something we desire for the moment and then, callously toss aside, when something or someone better comes along. The word love is wielded by some as a cruel weapon, whose soul purpose is to control and abuse, “If you loved me you would…,” leaving the victim, feeling confused and helpless. Marriage vows too often are spoken hastily in love, betrayed in lust, and broken in hate. This is not what love was meant to be.
So in a nutshell, what is love? Love is alive and powerful, with the ability to uplift and encourage. Love lived before the dawn of time. Love spoke and life was created from nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and never fails. Love is commitment and takes faith. Love’s touch has the power to heal a wounded heart and empower the frail soul. A child crawls into a parent’s warm, loving embrace and finds peace and strength when they are hurt. A wife leans into her husband’s strong, loving arms when she is afraid. We can all cry to our loving Father when we feel lost and forlorn.
God’s perfect love hung suspended between heaven and earth, betrayed, beaten, abused. Forgiving. True love is unconditional. It is forgiving. It is everlasting. For some the word “love” is seldom used - “they know I love them,” and only spoken after a loss. How sad. Love is the greatest gift ever given to us and the greatest gift we have to give to others. This tiny word is so important that it stands before both “faith” and “hope.” “Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.” God’s love is perfect, human love is not. Love is absolute and by no means simple.