The L-word

L…

You know the word I am talking about.

The word that has so many people either divided or united, depending on the day. The word that has many definitions, but only one real example. The word that people either celebrate or downright abuse. The word that people either, well, love, or despise.

Love.

Say it aloud: love. What a pretty sound! It really is a beautiful word in the English language, and even more beautiful in other languages:

Amor. Amour. Amore. 

(Fun fact: My name, in French, is a derivative of ‘I love you.’)

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As pretty as the word may sound, the word love is still difficult to say. It is even more difficult to believe. Why is that?

According to Google, the word love has many definitions. I think that is one reason that we, meaning the people like me, have such an issue with the word. Allow me to explain: The word love is used in many, many different ways and has a stigma due to that. Love has been used to refer to:

  • a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for parent, child, or friend.
  • sexual passion or desire.
  • a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
  • sexual intercourse; copulation.

Seriously? All of those definitions for one four letter word? On one hand, it seems almost preposterous that such a small word can mean so many different things. On the other hand, the word seems boundless, limitless, and only vaguely understood by those of us who have studied the term. Oh, love. The word has become so common, also perverted, and so demanding.

I love his eyes.
I love chocolate cake.
I love to play football.
I love to read.
I love anything pink.
I love a good cup of coffee.
I love you.

We use the word love to cover a wide range of things, from food to hobbies to interests. We use the word love to express feelings of attachment, even feelings we may not understand. We abuse the word every day: we use the word as an ultimatum for our wants; we use the word as a bandage of sorts to fill a void in our lives.

Love is hard. It takes effort, patience, and grace. Even if you do not agree with the teachings of the Bible, I think the definition of love that it gives is still applicable:

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I have a hard time saying the word love. I have a harder time believing some people when they say it. Saying and believing the word has always been a struggle for me. However, it has become a great goal of mine. I want to truly be able to love and show love to everyone. It may be all they ever know or experience. It is so hard to look at someone and say “I love you” without requiring anything in return, without want. Love people in such a way where you are not looking for them to love you (or even like you) back. Just love them without expectations. Oftentimes people cannot do anything for us, they cannot love us back the way we need/want them to, and that is ok. Love them anyway. Choose love.

I never wanted to tell people that I love them because of the way the word has become so perverted. I never wanted someone to feel like I was issuing them a challenge or looking for them to reciprocate anything. I certainly did not want people to think that I love them in any way other than wanting the best for them. In today’s world, love has been connected to power, lust, and physical attraction. Rather, love is letting go of power, shutting down lust, and looking beyond the physical. Love covers a multitude of sins, scars, and those we deem unworthy. Love, according to a wonderful author/speaker/lawyer/adventurist, “simply does.” If you love someone, do not just tell them, show them! Let go of fear, let go of doubts and frustrations, and love with reckless abandon, with a sense of sincerity and passion. It is not something you learn to do overnight; it is a choice, a constant one that is worth it. While you cannot change or fix someone, you can love them, which makes all the difference, even if you do not ever feel that way.

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Love is all you have left: after a relationship ends, after death has snatched someone from the fabric of your life, after the whirlwind of life’s tragedies. Pure love is the only thing that will truly last forever. Love is uncomfortable at times, because it causes us to stretch out of our comfort zone. Yet, love allows us to dream and follow those dreams. Love does not sit idle on the sidelines…

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