Saturday, September 27, 2014

What is Love?

I was talking with my life-long friend recently and she asked me this question.  "What is love?"  When you think about it, it is not an easy question to answer because love can be elusive and difficult to define. Is it something you recognize when you see but are hard-pressed to quantify?  Many malicious intententions can masquerade as love so it often is not easily recognizable.  What may look and feel like love can be something sinister and malignant.  So, I'm left with the question, "What is love?"

What does a child need from her parents to truly know that she is loved and valued just because she exists?  How can a woman trust that the man wooing her truly loves her?  How can a man be certain that the love his partner expresses is really love that can be relied on when hard times come?

I spent many happy hours on this porch!
And I remember my grandmother and my own granddaughter.  Sandwiched between these two generations I gain a glimpse of what true love looks like.  My grandmother still has a very special place in my heart though she transitioned to heaven a long time ago.  She enriched my childhood in so many ways.  I loved spending time with her because she encouraged my imagination and nurtured my fragile self-esteem.  She gave me the gift of time, even when I know she was exhausted after a 15-hour day.

There is something pure and fierce about the love a grandparent has for her grandchild.  I have loved my own children thoroughly and delighted in them since before they were born.  But the love I have for my grandchild is different--maybe because I am different, more mature or maybe because I can enjoy her without being responsible for her. Whatever the reason, she has taught me so much about love.

Love says, "You are enough just as you are."
Love delights in you with your unique gifts and quirks.
Love values and honors you.
Love never gives up on you.
Love cares more about you than it does for self.
Love doesn't force itself on you; it focuses on your needs, desires or preferences.
Love doesn't fly off the handle or keep score of your misbehavior.
Love isn't gleeful when you are hurt.
Love is patient, kind and compassionate.
Love is faithful and unconditional.
Love is extravagant.
Love is tolerant.
Love is commitment.

There is nothing that my sweet granddaughter can do that would disappoint me.  I delight in absolutely
everything about her and everything she does.  I love her slight lisp and her tangled curls.  When she smiles, I feel as though my heart will melt.  From the moment she slipped into my life, I have been captured by her.  I am mesmerized by watching her.  Cuddling and holding her has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  She cannot do one tangible thing for me and yet I would gladly give my life to protect hers.  Every milestone, every new word and every tear are incredibly important to me. Providing for her needs when she is in my care is my most cherished responsibility.

This is love--pure and simple, profound and deep.  It is the kind of love every little girl needs and deserves.  It is the kind of love few of us are fortunate enough to receive.

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