Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Many Faces of Love

Love planted a rose, and the world turned sweet. Katherine Lee Bates

I've sometimes wondered why we need a particular day each year to remember to express our love. Yes, Valentines Day reminds us of the blessing we carry around inside, but is one day each year enough to express that blessing? I've heard some people say they look forward to Valentines Day, because that's about the only time they hear I love you. What about all those other times we could be just as thoughtful and giving as on that day?

Have you ever wondered where Valentines Day came from? It has quite a history, and hasn't always been only for lovers as we think of it today. It was once a pagan fertility festival, and later a religious celebration to commemorate St. Valentine. But there's a difference of opinion as to which Valentine that was. There were several. By the 18th century it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes on one day in February, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters.

In our culture, the words I love you are usually meant in a romantic way. And hearing those words in any other context, at times, causes discomfort in some people. But there is love for family, friends of both genders, and even agape, or spiritual love. We tell our pets we love them. That's okay. But we think carefully before we express love for another person. Love has many faces, but we deny what has become unacceptable. Love is a human emotion that lives in the heart, so why can't we express it any time in any way we choose?

Would your neighbor think you were crazy if one day you said, You know what? I think you're a great neighbor, and I love you? And how would your friend feel if you called on the phone one morning in June and said, Just wanted you to know I'm glad you're my friend, and I love you?

Love doesn't always have to be verbalized. I wouldn't feel comfortable saying I love you to a store clerk, especially one I didn't know personally. But I'd love to give her, and yes even him, a rose just because I wanted to; or smile and wish a stranger a happy day; or hold a door open for someone struggling with an arm full of packages; or wink at a little boy riding in mama's grocery cart. Isn't that love? It doesn't need to be Valentines Day. Any day will do. All year. Love has many faces.

Where there is love, there is life.  Mahatma Gandhi

Love is our greatest gift, and it can be expressed in any form at any time. Love nourishes our cells, and without love we die inside. I've found that angry people are usually lonely, longing to be loved, and I've made peace with some angry people by expressing love to them in some way. There are many people who suffer from a lack of love in their lives. Maybe you're one of them. It's like wandering through life without really feeling at home. But expressing love in your life all year will help you find that home in your heart. Love has many faces

I wish you love every day of your life.


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