Recently, I ran across a statement about love. It said something to the effect of this…love wasn’t always romantic, it may have started that way, but it has changed and evolved and means so much more now…
I’m stepping out on a limb and saying that I disagree with this, but not in the way you might think, so hear me out. What I’m going to say is based on many things, including my own beliefs and experiences, but I want to say that I feel like this is something quite universal.
The flaw in that statement is that it’s “backward” (let’s just say). Love was, is, and always has been…so. very. much. more than romance. Love applies to all, not just a romantic partner. This has always been. Maybe somewhere along the way, people started misunderstanding or misusing the word, but love is a universal feeling. Romance happens alongside of love…sometimes.
When I was growing up and struggled in friendships, my father would remind me that sometimes, people will not be your friend, but you should still be a friend to them. This was a simple instruction in love.
When I was quite a little girl, my mother left without ever looking back. I remember trying to understand my feelings about her and asking questions as time passed. In particular, I remember asking him if I should hate her. This was a critical point in my understanding of love. He told me that I should never hate anyone for any reason, no matter how much they have hurt you. Even though he could hate what she did, he said, he still loved her. He always encouraged me to forgive and love, even though there would be times that I would have to keep my distance.
He taught me that love is universal. He also taught me that loving someone should never cause you to neglect yourself. Sometimes, love is protecting yourself, disallowing someone from doing harm.
There are many forms of love.
Love is taking a moment from your busy day to help a stranger that needs directions. Love is feeding someone that is hungry. Love is listening without waiting to respond. Love is looking someone in the eye that follows a way of life that disagrees with your beliefs and still giving them the same respect you give your pastor. Sometimes, love is walking away. No judgment. No malice. No conditions.
Why? Because we’re all human. We’re all just imperfectly perfect, fumbling along our own path the best we can. We will make our own mistakes and hopefully, learn from them. We might not be best buddies with everyone in the world, but each and every single person is important. Worthy of respect. Worthy of LOVE from every other person.
When I say you are important to me, that you’re safe with me, I mean it. I love you. ♥