So I was thinking about love. Valentine's Day is Thursday and it's a day where most of the world focuses on "love". During this season, most businesses are filled with reds and pinks and decorative hearts and cute lil cupids. The stores have seemingly endless suppiles of chocolate and the florists are inundated with orders for extravagant arrangements. Hallmark sells tons of cards, balloons, and the like. Restaurants are booked solid. Classrooms are abuzz with the excitement of giving and receiving Valentines and reading conversation hearts. There's even extra traffic around the water cooler at work with talk and speculation about who got what delivery from whom. The media is in on it. Department stores are in on it. Hollywood is in on it. But is true "love" REALLY the focus? Or is it the commercial appeal that most of us buy into? Now let me say this. I'm not the one for knocking people for celebrating this holiday. Although we should show love daily, I'm not against recognizing a specific day of celebration. However, do we even know what love is? This is my favorite definition/explanation of love:
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogrant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. -I Corinthians 13:4-8a, Amplified Bible Translation
Whew! I felt convicted even as I typed. Even if you are not a believer of The Bible, that it was divinely inspired by God and not just a poetic work akin to that of Shakespeare...and even ifyou aren't the follower of a specific religion or religious sect, or a believer in a power higher than yourself, you must admit that this breakdown is the purest form of what we call love. There's no way that, after reading that passage, you can deny the power that having or displaying a love like this contains. I'm sure you can imagine the impact a consistent, widespread love like this would have on not just your life, but the world! Would not the entire state of our planet be different?
We're human and we're not capable of navigating through this life perfectly. What we CAN do is be our best and strive to do everything with excellence, including love. I'm confident that if we made a conscious effort to actively and diligently love the way the scripture has laid it out, our relationships with our family, friends, and fellow man would drastically improve. I don't know about you, but I'm going to commit to love with more patience, kindness, selflessness, endurance, grace, and faith. And, while I'm at it, I'm going to be grateful for the many opportunities I have to love and be loved. So, as you're celebrating Valentine's Day, think about what the true meaning of love is to you and how you can go about cultivating and spreading that love 24/7/365!