The word love is a word that has tremendous meaning and significance, and at the same time, it is so overused that it has no meaning or significance. We think we know what love is, but how can that be the case when it means nothing? Love is a conundrum.
People would tell my parents that I was kind as a child. I believe that statement was, and is, true. But kindness isn’t love.
As humans, we announce to the world that “We are in love!” An emotion so powerful that it takes rational thinking away. But being in love isn’t love.
I love pizza. But pizza isn’t love.
Dear reader, when I was younger, I felt like I couldn’t love. I cared about people. I tried to be a good person. I tried to do the right thing. But, I didn’t love. Like many of my deficits, I accepted this imperfection and moved on with my life.
Over time I became more aware of who I was, and it was then that I started to understand why I couldn’t love. I discovered that my inability to love was based on a personal decision. The decision determined in my subconscious. It was decided by me but without my conscious awareness. You see dear reader, to allow myself to truly love someone would make me vulnerable. I could become subject to someone’s control. I could be hurt. I could be manipulated. I could be used. I saw love as a weakness, not a strength, and there was no room for weakness in my life. I would not let anyone get close enough to me to have access to my soft underbelly.
In the place where love should have resided there was a hollow spot. It was in an area deep inside of me. A region occupied by other deficits. My lack of spirituality, my feelings of personal shame, my fear of being different. A zone well protected, and well hidden from others. In my young life, I emphasized my strengths and buried my weaknesses. It was the most efficient way to move forward.
Such a strategy can only carry one so far, and so I started to fill those empty spot. Slowly and carefully for most, except for the love deficit.
I regained my ability to love in one day. That day was January 27, 1983. The day that my first child, Anne, was born. Something that was completely unnatural and foreign to me became completely natural and familiar. The ability to love was always inside of me. It was just hidden so deeply that I had no awareness of it.
I now love freely. I celebrate my vulnerability. I view my ability to love as a strength, not a weakness.
So what is love? The best definition that I have found was written by a tentmaker in a letter a long time ago. It follows:
Love is Patient
Love is Kind
Love Does Not Envy
Love Does Not Boast
Love is Not Proud
Love is Not Rude
Love is Not Self-Seeking
Love is Not Easily Angered
Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
Love Does Not Delight in Lies But Rejoices With the Truth
Love Always Protects
Love Always Trusts
Love Always Perseveres
Love Never Fails
I am imperfect in my ability to love, but I ever strive to closer approximate this standard. So, whom do I love? Those whom I love know it by my intent and actions.