What Is Love?

Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…

Now that I have that song stuck in my head for the rest of my life…and you probably do, too…

We don’t do this holiday in our house.

Well, Ainsley does, but she’s the nice one. Somewhere in her room, there is a gift for each of us, waiting until we can all open them together tonight. She needs to do this kind of thing. Giving gifts, and sharing what she has…is like oxygen for her.

I love to get gifts, and I love to give gifts, but, despite that, Barry and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I guess it’s just another day…not a big deal. I got to thinking about it, and while it’s an important day for a lot of people to show someone that they love them, it’s a concept that shouldn’t be saved for just one day. We should realize that every kind act toward another is an act of love. Not romantic love, otherwise we’d all be in a lot of trouble, but general, every day kind of love. There are many kinds of love. Parent/child love, sibling love (maybe the rarest form, spoken about only in gentle whispers, but it’s still out there), romantic love, crush love (teenaged girls feel this on a regular basis for members of boy bands, and TV/movie stars), friendship love, Good Samaritan love, and, saving the best for last, nerd love (Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Fringe, etc.). Nerd love can be shared by anyone, and does not depend on space or time…

So what is love? What does love look like?

Love is…

A hand held next to a hospital bed.

Holding your baby for the first time.

A flirty poke in the ribs in a darkened movie theater.

An intimate look between two lovers.

Waking up to bad breath and screaming kids, and still getting a kiss.

A wedding day.

A desperately needed hug.

Burned meatloaf in a first apartment.

Celebrating someone’s life after they’ve gone.

The shock of electricity from the lightest touch.

Eyes meeting across the room.

That feeling in your core that someone thinks about you as often as you think of them.

Being alone together in a room filled with people.

Memories and stories told, shared, remembered.

Love can be just about anything. It is fun, playful, intimate, sometime strained, painful, shared, personal. Little moments that can sometimes mean everything. Love is everywhere. Everyone needs to feel love. We all need to know that we are loved. You will never feel more alone than those times when you don’t feel loved.

Showing someone that you love them shouldn’t be saved for one day. It should be done every day. Every day people need to know that you’re thinking about them. Whether you’re in love with them, or you just think they’re spiffy, they need to know it. They need to be told that you care about them. You never know what a hug, or poke, or word of encouragement might do to brighten someone’s day. It might be just what they need to give them the first step out of a dark place.

What are some of the ways you’ve shown love? What are some of the ways that love has been shown toward you? From tiny little things to great big, extravagant things, it doesn’t really matter what it is. If it showed love, it was worth it.

I know, that no matter how I might feel on a particular day, I am loved. I have a husband who comes home every night, kids who don’t hate me, friends who take time to say HI to me, and most importantly, a God Who gave His Son for me. To save me. A sacrifice so great, so tremendous, so extravagant, that I can never repay the love shown to me. I will never be worthy of that gift. Ever.

It’s a difficult thing to understand, that everything has been done for me, and I can’t work it off, earn it, or pay it back. To grasp the concept that my relationship with God is not fair. It’s not even. It can never be even. It’s not based on how good a person I am, or what I do for my church and community. It’s based on His never-ending love for me. My only responsibility is to accept that, and choose to love Him back. Despite my faults, He loves me. The God of the Universe loves me. I still don’t get it. He gave all for me. I freely choose to give Him my love, because He gave me everything, and yet, I owe Him nothing. I don’t have to love Him. I don’t have to do anything. I could choose to go my own way, live my own life, do what I want…and He would have still given His Son for me. Free will is an amazing thing. It allows everyone the choice. Love Him. Don’t love Him. It’s not fair. To give your precious Son, and still have so many who still don’t love you.

If I gave up my son so that everyone else could live, and they didn’t love me in return, I would…I would…I would make every radio station play only The Macarena. I would make them wear shoes made from porcupines. I would make everything taste like lima beans. I would make Gigli the official movie of the Earth, and everyone would be forced to watch it every day. With toothpicks in their eyes so they couldn’t blink. I would make a car horn blast from tornado sirens 24/7. Louder at bedtime. Everyone would have the hiccups.

He gave everything and I still get the choice. Amazing!

SO, on this day of love and squishy feelings, I challenge you to love someone today. Show someone – anyone – that you love them. Even if it’s a pat on the back, let them know you care.

They will appreciate the love…