An Oregon Coast Sunset
Several years ago, I was trying to get a handle on what love was to me. This began the search to name the impossible. I knew what I didn’t like, what it wasn’t for me. I found it’s easy to say what wasn’t loving. I’ve been journaling and processing my thoughts on this subject, and this is what I’ve come up with:
Love…is tough, strong, liberating, illuminating, enjoyable, respectful, blesses, dotes, establishes value & dignity, reciprocal, forgiving, treasures, protects, opens, is unbridled in hope & devotion, nurturing because it cultivates, enlarges, shelters, heals, is renewable, regenerative, honors, redeems, favors, inwardly smiles at the sight of another, trusts, provides, is real, increases, reveals, serves, comforts, enriches, enhances, invites, exchanges, acknowledges, responds, sustains, thinks the best, believes the best, and wants the best for another, sees and accepts the other for who he/she really is, makes things clear, makes whole, makes a person become visible—become known, sets things right, is quick to say, “I’m sorry,” makes a way, makes room for, extends grace, willingly gives what another needs, shares schedules, brings peace, creates a desire to give for no reason at all, is unexpected…yet present, gives life, holds vulnerabilities safely, allows space for another to work through his/her feelings, will vouch for, says, “You’re with me,” is a collection of moments, is unearned, meets a longing to be—which creates belonging, is about protecting the space between two people, is enough, has time for another, is known by its actions, reflects joy and mirrors hope.
Love is discerning; it knows when to hold on and when to let go. Love does not trap, confuse, emotionally cut off, manipulate, control, dominate, intimidate, isolate, or power another person. Love does not enjoy seeing a friend in pain, does not flourish when insecurities continually surface and shrinks in the shadows of compulsion. Love does not project its issues on another, decrease, rush, overwhelm, or smother. Love does not take away a chance for another to grow stronger or ask another to become less. Love doesn’t take what belongs to someone else, as much as it propels one to give, to move towards. Love is not confined to a single action, word, or moment. Love cannot be forced, be demanded or begged for, because it thrives in freedom. Love does not want to disappoint another person; it keeps expectations in check.
Love is messy. It puts the needs of another before itself; it sacrifices, and encourages. Love is the purest form of energy. It creates a place to rest the heart. Love takes responsibility, values goodness, carves new perspectives and calls forth the best in you. Love leads you to choose the other, creates safety, and grows with honesty.