Life has seasons and moments dictated by the calendar, and now, by it’s capricious choice, it’s the Season of Love.
A time when you can’t go into a store without having something chocolate and red or pink shoved into your face. A time when single people can only wait for the holiday to end and snatch discount candy while the Easter decorations replace Valentines Day.
For this reason (and because people click to read topical articles), we’re going to talk about love.
As a single male, my version of love differs from the typical romantic love of Valentines Day. The love I express is directed towards family, friends, and most importantly, food.
But I have had the opportunity to witness my parents love. They are, happily, approaching their 25th wedding anniversary this November, and have taught me this about love: It is a choice.
Love, the true genuine kind that breaks spells and curses, is a purposeful decision that one person makes for another. Romantic love, as most of us know it, is simple, the result of hormones forcing the biological imperative of reproduction.
True love requires work, effort, and the choice to love someone even when you don’t feel like it. It is not dictated by passion, lust, or biological necessity, but instead by the tenderer command of mercy and compassion.
It is easy, and simple to love someone else when they are loving towards us, what victory does it pose? How much more to love those who are unlovable, or are our enemies?
By making the conscious decision to love another, even if they neither merit our love or matter in the grand scheme of things, we prove that true love does exist. We do it, not for our own benefit, but for theirs. Sacrificing a piece of ourselves, be it time, money or pride, to give value and worth to another human being.
The Scripture says that, “greater love hath no man than he that lays down his life for another.” If I am to consider what love truly means, it is summed in that statement.
My parents have had disagreements over their 24 plus years of marriage, and I am sure had moments where they didn’t feel like loving the other. Regardless of how they felt in the heat of the moment, they made the choice to love each other even when things got difficult.
Love, is like any kind of plant or living organism. It requires nurturing, energy and resources to sustain and grow. If ignored, and uncared for, it will slowly wither and decay. Without a firm root base, it won’t survive the struggles life presents.
Passionate love tends to spring up quickly, forming the moment two eyes connect and grows from the ground of mystery and excitement. However, it’s a shallow love, and only survives if it’s roots can tap into something greater than excitement to sustain it.
The kind of love that endures may have passion, it sometimes can have excitement, but it cannot be shallowly dependent on these humble energies to survive. Instead, it taps into the deeper things of life. It is steady, it is kind and merciful, giving aid when none can be supplied in return.
It may sound trite to phrase it this way, but true love is perennial. It grows back time and time again, when suffering the elements, it grows even stronger than it was before. It does this from having a strong root, solidly planted into selflessness, tied to common purpose and values.
It’s this love my parents have for each other (and I have for jalapeño peppers). Despite the elements, the storms, the troubles, they have continued to love each other and their love has grown because of those trying times.
So this year, forget about the candy in pink hearts. Ignore the teddy bears on the shelf. Focus on the relationships that grow in the difficulties, and thank those people for growing with you.