I am made for love. To feel that surge of the unknown powerful filling my lungs, my heart, my eyes. I love alot, and I love big. I liberally use the word to show appreciation for something created, or for someone’s gift. I love, love, love everything some days, and others, excavate the deepest parts of my heart to find the tiny bit I have left.
I grew up on Disney fairy tales (pre-pre-Frozen) where, yes, while the girl was smart and feisty, it was still the hero/man/prince who saved the day. Where once upon a time love was sealed with a kiss, roll credits. Oh, you got a rom-com from Redbox? Awesome, I’m there. I’m sure I still have a mix tape or two of 80’s & 90’s love songs too.
How we first experienced love as a child, then as a hormonal and social catastrophe-waiting-to-happen, and finally, finally growing into the adult we have been shaped into all inform our definition of love. Who loved us, and who doesn’t, well, that draws the boundary lines. How we see the world and everyone and everything in it, our personality, our outlook, our temperament, our mission statement, however you want to frame you, that is how we pronounce love to the world.
On Amazon.com today, there are currently 525,175 books on love. The Love Dare, The Four Loves, Love & Respect, The 5 Love Languages, How We Love, Love Busters, Love and War; and this is just a brief skimming over of countless titles and subjects written from every direction, all with a voice and a pen and a different take on that little four letter word. I’m a sucker for a book, so throw love on it and I’m up for a read, another chance to find out how to do love.
It is it’s very organic nature that makes love the effort of our whole being. Seems simple, on paper. God is love. Our task? Love God, love others. This is why children often do love best. They don’t overthink it, categorize it, package it or hoard it. Love is unpredictable in the hands of humans, prone to fly when it’s meant to stay, hold on when it’s meant to give away.
The thing is, I’m 41 and I think I’m just scratching a tiny corner of the scratch and sniff sticker that is love. Probably would smell like cotton candy. Just a thought. I’ve read and I’ve thought and I’ve prayed and I’ve listened, all my life, just to try and define love. Like I could get a hold on it, and then…what?
Confession: I don’t feel up to the tremendous responsibility that love is most of the time. But I’m learning that maybe that’s because you can’t try to love. Or do love better, bigger, stronger, successfully.
Because eventually the word feels hollow if overused at Nordstrom. And pretty soon, there needs to be other words in our arsenal to describe our feelings. And seriously, I could have ten romances in a lifetime and never come close to the edge of the vast, deep and wide ravine waterfall that really is love.
The times I have loved best have been when God’s pure love and acceptance for me have overflowed to others. So I have hope. That if I pay attention to what He’s telling me and who He is, pay attention to who He’s asking me to love, kick fear to the curb, and then be brave enough to stay soft hearted in this hard world, it will happen.
I won’t be able to define love, Love will define me.