(This column is a Can You Imagine Classic, from 2016.)
At six, going on 16, Sunshine is very perceptive for her age. Constantly probing for answers she’s a cerebral sponge soaking up the world around her with accelerated fluency. Extremely articulate she penned her first book, titled “The Jungle,” last week. At this juncture I would interject with ‘she’s a mini me’ if it wasn’t for my daughter’s gentle reminder, she, also, loved to write when she was young. Plus, she was a remarkable artist and so is Sunshine.
Thus, Sunshine’s second written adventure she confidently proclaimed would be entitled: “Love is not just love.” Then she proceeded to print with a black Sharpie on a sheet of paper from my office, “Love is not just Love it is abot (about) being kind and happy and nice…” which the artist in her then decorated with hearts and smiles; very insightful words for such a tender age.
However wise at six, such profound expression is a testament to her appreciating love is more than a four letter word on a spelling test. It enthusiastically manifests in immeasurable variations and intentions. Generalized love of a well-seasoned steak or pair of comfortable shoes undeniably affords no mass toward tipping the scale of adoration for your spouse or family. Unconditional love is not bound by earthly gravitation but fueled by a divine power stretching beyond the stars themselves.
1 Corinthians 13 describes love as kind and patient; neither proud, nor rude, nor envious. Love always trusts; it always hopes. Most importantly and above all…love never fails. If we learn nothing else in life, this is a powerful lesson. L, O, V, E simply letters standing alone fall short of offering a resolute meaning. However, combined to form the word LOVE it humbly embraces the ability to soar over walls of judgement… erase invisible boundaries of separation… soften the sting of harsh feelings… and truly love when all else fails.
Yet, the true essence of love defies a singular definition worthy of its capacity to fill our hearts with rapture. Advancing beyond the traditionally uttered I love you, offering sparse connotations for Love is comparable to describing a sunset with one phrase. Love encompasses hope, compassion, empathy, gratitude, tenderness, joy, passion, conviction, faith, sincerity, respect and so much more, it amazes.
Sadly, do we always appreciate love? Do we always respect love? Consciously, I sigh as my heads moves slowly from side to side. No, we do not. Do we often withhold passion? Do we often withhold compassion? Sigh…yes, we do. Why? Is love so difficult? Honestly, no one said it’s going to be easy but it’s not difficult either. Yet to know real love is to genuinely know your true self.
Love isn’t: I love you but I’ll never be honest. Love isn’t: I love you but I’ll never be faithful. Love isn’t: I love you but I have total control. On the contrary, love is: I love you and will always respect you. Love is: I love you and will always be faithful. Love is: I love you and will be there for you. Love is: l will never do anything to dishonor us.
Love…the calm in the midst of the storm. Love…the silent, still voice heard over all others. Love…as light and floating as a feather. Love…as strong and intense as a hurricane. Love…a fleeting moment suspended in time forever. Love…so pure, like precious metal, embodies a lifetime of cherished memories. Love…the essence we breathe for our very existence.
Anyone can love. It isn’t biased. It may not adhere to logic, or hold fast to rules imposed by those wishing to control it because love cannot be controlled. It simply is. Written so simply yet so poetically, love is kind, love is happy, love is nice.
Can you imagine…love isn’t just a four letter word.
Smile, you are loved.