This post is dedicated in deepest gratitude to my wife and closest friend—and to all who Love, everywhere.
A s I sat thinking about something special to write for Valentine’s Day, I naturally began to think about “love” and what the word really means. I supposed I could look up the word in the dictionary, but would a clinical dissection of those four little letters help me understand and express what “love” truly is? Hardly.
It occurred to me that “love” is something that’s quite different for everyone—and, indeed, there are many kinds of love. I was delightfully reminded of that (love)able character, “Bubba” in the movie “Forrest Gump”, when he begins listing all the different kinds of shrimp and ways to prepare them. “They’s, um, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried, pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp…”, and so many others.
Just as there’re all kinds of ways to cook and enjoy shrimp, there’re all kinds of love. There’s brotherly love, sisterly love, love of country, love for certain foods, things, or activities, Divine Love (the kind we receive from our Creator), unconditional love, compassionate love, romantic love, unrequited love, and so on.
Since love is such a deeply personal and circumstantial thing, I decided to write about what “love” means to me. Quite obviously, it’s an emotion. It’s an intense feeling of warmth, joy, attraction, and contentment—all rolled into one. It’s a profound attraction, desire, or even yearning to completely engage or embrace someone or something. It’s a feeling that makes us want to freely and fully experience that which is the focus of our attention at that very moment. And it’s a feeling that seems to touch us on so many levels, all at once. It tugs at our hearts. It soothes our souls. It heals. It comforts. It fulfills. It brings excitement and happiness. To me, love is all these things—and so much more.
Love is the mother cradling her newborn child in her arms. As she basks in the glow of her accomplishment, Love soothes her pain, eases her exhaustion, and lifts her spirits.
Love is the quiet hand extended in friendship, forgiveness, or apology.
Love is the tearful hug shared by two souls suddenly reunited—when each thought the other had been lost forever.
Love is a playful puppy, bouncing across the lawn in pursuit of a shrieking, delighted toddler.
Love is the compassionate, cooling touch of a damp cloth upon a fevered brow or a mother’s tender kiss upon a child’s injured finger.
Love is the strength of a father, lifting his child up high to peek in wonder at the soft blue eggs in a robin’s nest.
Love is the shy, blushing excitement of youth’s first kiss.
Love is the tender embrace of two wayward souls, each desperately seeking—and finding, blessed completion in one another’s arms.
Love is the warmth of two hands, joined together in the promise of home, family, and lifelong companionship.
Love is the peace that two share, their bodies entwined in passion’s blissful afterglow.
Love is in the last thundering beats of a heart—as one life willfully, selflessly, and fiercely sacrifices itself for another.
Love is in the soft lines, wrinkles, and unsteady steps of one who has lived long and well.
Love is in the gentle tears that fall as we hold a dear one tight in final embrace.
Love is beautiful, love is blind.
Love is respectful, selfless, and kind.
Love is perfectly felt by the soul when, suddenly released from earthen bonds, it remembers that it is indeed infinite and immortal. Soaring blissfully free among the stars, it finally returns to The One who has always been and will always be—Home.
Love…is. Love will always be.
May you and yours find all the Love that is you, this Valentine’s Day—and always!
With profound Respect and very much Love,
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