Today is Valentine’s Day, the day that we show our love for others. Though the love is spread to all within our reach, it significantly focuses on our mates and those who walk beside us. Retailers benefit from the dollars that are spent on flowers, cards, candy and jewelry along with a host of other ways to simply say, “I love you.”
Expectations are quite high which often leaves room for big disappointments, when the expected doesn’t happen. Yet, as we mature, we learn to measure love in more substantial ways. We learn to look at the small and everyday things that others do to lighten our loads. They are showing real love.
We should not take anything or anyone for granted. If we think that someone else’s presence doesn’t make a difference, we should see what life is like when they are no longer around or available. So, as we tally the points that equate real love, we should consider the following that others share with us such as: those daily chats; that good listening ear; a nod to acknowledge that we have been heard; a smile; a call to see if we are okay; their presence during a crisis; their offering of protection against negative forces or taking other steps to buffer some of life’s storms.
In Elizabeth Barrett Browning‘s sonnet, she asks the question, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height…” We should be counting and making sure that we truly see the efforts that others are making to assist us on our journeys.
Feeling another’s pain and showing concern or compassion is a form of love. Reaching out to soothe and comfort is a form of love. Telling someone that it is going to be okay, even when there is an inner doubt, is a form of love.
Flowers, cards, candy and jewelry are symbolic ways of saying, “I love you.” Sure, they are nice gestures. We feel excited when we receive these thoughtful gifts, but they are still fleeting. They last for a season. But the healing and helping hand of a friend is eternal and it is a permanent love that will remain forever.
Those acts of kindness that we have received are only a thought away, even if the giver is no longer in our lives. Those good feelings are etched in our memories and that is what love does. It leaves us with warm feelings of hope. We remember the kindness shown or the patience that someone displayed as we worked through some personal dilemma.
We remember the hours spent talking about what bothered us and we remember those who took the time to let us bare our souls. We remember the ones who saw us in our most vulnerable states but did not judge us too harshly. They just held our hands as we worked through whatever was ailing us at the time.
The substantial responses, the guiding nudges, the eyes of concern, the protecting arm, the mere presence, the soft touch on the shoulder, the encouraging words or the gentle voice of understanding all add up to equate what we should define as real love. I Corinthians 13:13 says, “But the greatest of these is love.”
My first book, A Golden Leaf in Time Revised, closes with a poem on Love.
‘Love is pink, soft, and true; And erases any feeling of blue.
Love is round and spongy too; ’Cause it bounces back on you.
Love is colorful and bright; And fills the soul with delight!’
I hope that you are counting the ways that someone is showing you love on a daily basis!
Lynn February 14, 2015