Friday, February 15, 2008

Definition of love

Ever taken the time to figure out what love really means? I have and believe me it isn’t easy. In light of the recent “love” holiday I have once again picked up my search for the real meaning of love. I’ve searched high and low for an answer that I feel is complete and real.

Someone once sent me an email that talked about this exact topic….the only difference was they were having kids do the defining. They asked kids ages 4-8 to tell what their definition of love was. Their answers came quickly. The simplicity and purity of a child’s mind make some of these answers more profound, true and touching than anything most of us could come up with. Here are just a few of my favorites.

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth. Billy - age 4

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.”Terri - age 4

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka - age 6

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt.”Chris - age 7

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”Rebecca- age 8

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica - age 8

Webster has more to say about love than just about any word I’ve ever searched. I’m only going to give a portion of the definitions I found. Not because I’m picking the ones I feel will best help me convince you one way or another on love. I just figured this blog would be long enough without definitions such as “Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing” added in. Not to mention the fact that I feel certain if you were capable of getting on your computer to check my blog you are able to look up all of what Webster has to say. For now this is what I took from Webster….

*a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

*a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

*used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like

*a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.

*sexual intercourse; copulation.

*affectionate concern for the well-being of others:

*strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything:

*the object or thing so liked:

*the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.

I then began to search my bible. The bible is full of the meaning of love. Scripture after scripture jumped out at me. However, the two that stuck with me and have been ingrained in me through the years ….

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever should believeth in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life.”

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 –“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I feel certain that if you had asked me my definition of love when I was a kid my answer would have been much the same as it is today. My definition was, is, and forever will parents. I was born out of the amazing love they share and have spent 22 years reveling in the fact that it simply seems to grow with each passing day.

They are by far the 2 people in my life that have taught me the most about love. Their love for one another has become my example for the way love should be. I know the doubters among us are probably sitting back thinking that at some point in my childhood I slipped on my rose colored glasses and forgot to take them off. I can assure you though that they aren't my definition of love because they did it perfect. I'm not under any false illusion or misconception that their marriage didn't suffer hard times. They aren't my example to live by because bad days didn’t exist or because the years (and now distance) have erased (or faded) memories of such days. Trust me bad days came and went with the passing years. I remember some of them as if they were yesterday. There were fights, disagreements, tension, and all the normal things that come with difficulties of life and marriage. Yet my parents remain as my definition of love BECAUSE those days existed and yet their love for one another remained intact. No matter what happened in life or within their marriage they worked it out. Even in the midst of their fights I NEVER doubted their love for one another....or for me and my sister. They are my example of love not only because of the way they love each other but the way they each love people in general. I could write a book on the times they loved “the least of these.” Times when I stood back proud to be their daughter. Times when I wanted to brag to anyone who would listen and shout to all the world about how great they really are. Times when with tears in my eyes I watched them act out what love really was to people they knew and to people who were perfect strangers. However, for today we will stick to the love of their marriage and the amazing ways it has impacted this life.

I could give you example after example...story after story that would help you understand what makes them my model of what marriage and LOVE is really supposed to look like. Far from perfect their marriage speaks volumes to this heart because of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will say this ….I have a father who cooks, cleans, and was/is very hands on in the children rearing process. Although not overly or extravagantly romantic my father found ways of spoiling my momma and ALWAYS made sure to speak with words the emotion that was always spoken with his eyes. As for my momma she serves my daddy as if she was created for the job. Not because he asks her to or because he expects it but because she wants to. (even more so she serves him when she doesn’t want to because it shows her love) She meets his needs even before they are expressed. She has spent countless nights not only being at the games while he coached but also kept score, stats, and did anything else he needed. She attends events that he is expected to be at simply because he enjoys her being there with him. Above all else their love is expressed in the little things they do. I know I still have yet to completely figure out what love is. I’m not sure I ever will or will be able to. Love is ever changing and can never be grasped fully. We will never (even with the greatest of earthly examples) even begin to be able to comprehend the fullness of God’s love for us. A love that sent His son to suffer and die for us.

Who or what was/ is your example of love? Do you even have one or remember what taught you the meaning of that four letter word? I know I am blessed to have two parents who love each other and me more than words in a blog could ever express. I'm blessed to have such an amazing example to live by. I’m blessed to have been raised in the church where love like God intended was explained to me. I pray that this blog reminds each of you of those people/things that have taught you to love. I pray that it motivates you search within yourself for YOUR definition of what love really is and then you strive to act that out in every relationship God has blessed you with...and even in the relationships that you view as less than a blessing. Remember....
“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka - age 6

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