(Blog was begun in September ’09)

Many of us try to figure this one out as we go-verbally expressing love prematurely, before we even know what our definition of it really is; but love doesn’t quite work that way; and some relationships end disastrously. One should know what love is before any relationship begins; be it romantic, platonic, spiritual.  We get ourselves into many ridiculous situations when we enter relationships and don’t know what love is and how to express it.

I was at my mom’s this weekend; instead of leaving Saturday night or Sunday morning which is customary for me (gotta be in my church service, you know),  I stayed through the Labor Day holiday. My mother, who religiously watches InTouch every Sunday morning, had the television on the station which broadcasts it. I was in the other the room when I heard the minister talking about nothing other than LOVE, and I thought, “Ain’t this just great. This is the last thing I wanna hear at this moment in my life (pending divorce, need I say more?)!”

My mom, whom I love dearly, is hearing impaired. Needless to say, the television was on BLAST. Therefore, the message was NOT one I could easily avoid. What I really wanted to do was something extremely childish. You know, like sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting “LA! LA! LA! LA!…” until the message was over, but who has that kind of time or energy but children? Therefore, I sucked it up and put my big girl panties on and dealt with it.

This guy said that love is not some big extravagant expression. It is simply preferring your brother over yourself. He spoke of how he-a man who loathes gardening-helped plant and tend a garden with his wife just because he loves her and wanted her to have what she so desparately wanted. Even though his wife knew he hated gardening, each day he assisted her in tending it and even pretended to be interested (She knew he was pretending, of course!).

The point is that love is not just something you spout out impersonally, but something you exhibit-sometimes by doing those things you may hate for those you adore. If it pleases the person you love and is within reason, what harm can it actually do? It most certainly will evoke a smile; and what is better than giving your loved one a reason to smile?

We tend to use “love” lightly. Taking for granted those we actually care for-by not using the word, exhibiting it enough, or using it so carelessly that we just say it about whatever thing or person-is no longer acceptable. We should spend time with our personal definitions of love and put into practice those things that ensure others that they are indeed cared for so preciously that “Do you love me?” is never uttered in conversation and “acting out” from lack of love is not ever necessary.

Get to know yourself and those you love. Determine which expressions of love mean the most to those you care for, and put them into ACTION.

Then, and only then. Will you know what love is.