What is Love Mean to You?

What does love mean to you?  Is it the sweet smile and bright eyes of a joyful baby looking up at you as they take their first steps?  Is it the small hand of a child clutched in yours as you explore the world?  Is it the hug of a friend that fills you with comfort, or the laughter of the same friend as you crack up reminiscing about shenanigans long since past?  Or the gentle caress of a lover in the early morning light?  The breaking of bread with family and friends celebrating a milestone, holiday, or achievement?  The quiet beauty of sitting next to the love of your life just being and enjoying a sunset?  Or caring for a parent who can no longer do so for themselves without help?


All of these moments may define love to you.  Or just some.  Or none that I’ve listed here because let’s be honest, love is measureless and boundless and I would have to write for the rest of my life to even come close to identifying even a small measure of moments that may define love for each of us.  Love is a concept that has challenged philosophers, poets, writers, scientists, and humans for time immemorial.  


This post isn’t going to attempt to define love, or reveal a novel approach on how to find it, or how to keep it.  This is a blog meant to encourage quiet reflection regarding love’s worst enemy.  Time.


Who do you love?  Love comes in many forms and isn’t regulated to just romantic relationships.  I love my boyfriend, my family, my dogs, my friends, my coworkers (no, I didn’t get paid to add that bit), and many more.  


Who do you feel loved by?  I’m gonna personally ditto that last list (yes, I just referenced Patrick Swayze’s famous line from the movie “Ghost”). 


How do you love?  Is it through deeds and actions performed to honor and support your loved ones?  Is it through providing for their needs and wants via hard work, frugality, and planning?  Is it through teaching lessons learned and wisdom gained through your journeys?  Is it through just spending cherished moments with them and creating memories to last when distance separates you?  Is it through generosity shown with creature comforts or momentous gifts?  All of these ways of showing love are genuine and wonderful, so don’t go judging which is best.  


However, we can all probably do better at expressing our love to those we love, especially when we lose focus in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.  I encourage you to take the time to show your love however suits you, and them, best.  Be spontaneous or plan it out – just be sincere and don’t eat a ton of onions and garlic before doing so (even good friends don’t want to smell dragon breath from across the table!).


When do you love?  I hope your answer is every moment of every day.  That’s not a mushy gushy statement either.  In the back of my mind I remind myself I work every day to provide for my family.  I cook food regularly to feed their tummies and to bring joy.  I craft or select gifts to celebrate or “just because”!  I make time to just catch up and be present.  I support my parents by shouldering burdens and facing their challenges with them.  I’m not great at all of these most days, but I strive to be (heck, besides the work and cooking sometimes I feel I’m terrible at the rest).  


Why do we love?  I’ll leave that question to be answered by the philosophers and poets much wiser than I.  One common thread amongst them all: just remember to say it, share it, express it, and honor it in all of its many forms as often as possible.  We never know how much time we have with those we love, so make every moment count. 


Ghost” (1990)


Molly: Do you love me, Sam?

Sam: What do you think?

Molly: Why don’t you ever say it?

Sam: What do you mean? I say it all the time.

Molly: You say ‘ditto’ and that’s not the same.

Sam: People say ‘I love you’ all the time, and it doesn’t mean anything.

Molly: Sometimes you need to hear it.  I need to hear it.