Dear beautiful souls,
As we begin a new week, I find myself thinking about ways to infuse more love into our lives and into the world at large. Love is a funny topic, because it lends itself to many interpretations. Many automatically lean toward thoughts of romance when the word is brought up, and hey why not? Romance is nice.
For this post though, I am mostly writing about the word in its broadest sense…the sense which encompasses all of its interpretations (even romance *wink*). When I went to dictionary.com to look at the entry for the word love, it was no surprise to me to see that there were 28 numbered lines in the definition. Okay, so maybe it was a little surprising that there were 28. I expected a lot, but dang! That might be the most numbered lines I’ve seen yet in a dictionary entry on a single word.
Here’s where I flip the switch though. As with many things which I think and write about, my preference here is to toss the standard definitions out the window. Why? Because, with concepts such as love and other powerful, emotionally charged terms, to define narrows it. How can we possibly take such a beautiful idea and put it into a box? Who is to say what does and does not, or should and should not constitute love?
Defining something such as love is something which has gotten our world into a lot of trouble in the past, and still does. The notion that love knows any boundaries seems ridiculous. True love knows no division of country, religion, gender, or any of the other arbitrary lines which we, as humans, have put around it. Love is something which is of such purity that it is only by the virtue, or lack thereof, in our own minds, which can be sullied by our differences.
Does this mean that we have to wrap everyone up in a giant hug and invite them to dinner? No. It’s as simple as recognizing one another as part of the same family and respecting that. Perhaps we are a dysfunctional family, but it doesn’t remove the dignities which you would think would be the ineffable right of all of us. I’ve been wiping the lenses of my own world viewing glasses even further lately and seeing that things are a lot simpler than we’d sometimes like to think that they are. Who is stopping us from loving? No one but ourselves.
As for romantic love (we can’t leave that out), this is another area which has been put into all of these tiny little boxes of “normal and acceptable”. I’ve always found it interesting that definitions of romantic love vary somewhat based upon geographic location and the prevailing religious and cultural views of the region. While I do not wish to spark a debate, I just wish to point out that when love itself is a “reason” for someone to feel hatred or animosity toward another, that indicates a serious problem. The romantic lives of others boil down to dignity, compassion, and respect. Who should determine what romantic love should look like? No one. As long as we are talking about consenting adults, where everyone is on board, end of story. If there is a deity out there somewhere who will be passing judgement on matters of the heart at some point, I say that we defer to the deity and leave it in their capable hands. There’s enough in this world for us to be concerned over, that worrying about who is loving who and how could easily be relegated to the bottom of the pile.
So, let’s get out there and spread some love this week, or at least take some time to intentionally send some out into the world to whoever and wherever it is needed. We’re all in this together. For this week’s love letter I’d like to end with a quote. While I’m not sure what the entire context around this quote is, I find the simplistic power of it to be a most apt expression of love.
“I am simply thankful for your existence,” I wrote. “Whether I am meant to be a part of it or not”. ~ Beau Taplin