“Valentine’s Day is this week. You should write about love,” came the prompt.
“What should I say?” asked the one who no longer has one.
“Say that love is stronger than death.”
“Yes. I can say that. Death physically separates us from those we love, but the connection is still there. We feel it down in our bones; it remains a powerful part of our lives. What else should I say?”
“Say that love is free.”
“Yes. Freedom is one of the hallmarks by which we can discern when love is true: when it is unconditionally offered as a gift without strings or coercion. What else should I say?”
“Say that love is not singular.”
“Hmmm. That’s true. Some of the most visible and easily discernible expressions of love are those found in community, communion, connection, relationship. In hospitality, reciprocity, generosity, collaboration, accommodation. What else should I say?”
“Say that love is open.”
“Open? Yes, I see. Love is willing to risk; to be vulnerable. Love always welcomes, includes, always looks for ways to nurture and expand the circle. And once we open our heart and receive love, the doors swing ever wider; acceptance becomes deeper and more gracious. What else should I say?”
“Say that love is not romance.”
“Yes. Well… Okay, yes. Romance is a beautiful part of love; love letters and hearts and flowers and chocolate (ooooh! Chocolate!!!) are lovely and the giving and receiving of those tokens from those we care most deeply about creates cherished memories, but love is so much more than just that. What else should I say?”
“Say that love goes by many names, and appears in many guises.”
“It does. Love is not just a feeling, but also a decision, a choice, an act of the will.
Love is, and love does.
Love is expressing care and concern: a casserole or a pot of chicken soup. A text or note or email, a call or visit. A prayer. A helping hand. Being present to, walking alongside, waiting with, serving as an advocate for.
Love is being responsible for one’s actions, and caring enough to ask others to be responsible for theirs.
Love is holding someone while they weep; it is trusting someone with your tears.
Love shows up as honesty, integrity, dedication, loyalty, commitment, patience, mercy, gratitude, equality, beauty, service, hope, trust, humility, justice, courage, sacrifice, truth, joy.
Love is being a cheerleader: sharing encouragement, support, affirmation, assurance.
Love picks up the pieces, mops up the spills, binds the wounds. It clears the out cobwebs, battens the hatches, faces the storm, stays the course.
Love asks forgiveness, offers forgiveness, makes amends, brings release and restoration.
We encounter love in praise and worship, in sacrament and song.
Love prepares the table, offers a cup of cold water, washes the feet, breaks the bread.
Love draws out, invites in, challenges us to do and be our best, celebrates effort, works for transformation...”
…And love is in the sweet memories of the love of my life, who showed me all of this and more, every single day.
What would you add to the list?