Today, February 14 is Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. It is celebrated worldwide in honor of Valentinus.
Saint Valentine of Rome was imprisoned and killed for performing the weddings for soldiers, who were forbidden to marry and also, for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire.
Legend has it that Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge. He wrote a letter to her signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before his execution.
In my world, when my little daughter spontaneously crashes into my arms and declares out of nowhere cheesily ‘I wuvvv you, Mommy’, EVERYTHING seems right and so beautiful. All of a sudden. Just like that. And when my backside gets gifted by solid bull kicks by hubby dearest, again EVERYTHING seems right and so beautiful. All of a sudden. Just like that. Different love strokes for different people.
A few months back, right after my little daughter watched ‘Frozen,’ she asked me point-blankly, ‘Mama, What is True Love?’ Right there, she got me frozen in a flash.
Love would mean different things to different people at different points of time in their life.
For me, it meant a handsome Prince Charming waiting to sweep me off my feet at one point of time.
My mother and father’s loving touch and protection at one point in time. It meant my brother’s companionship at one point of time.
My first crush at seven(and the ones after that) at one point of time. It meant all the fun and camaraderie amongst friends at one point of time.
The moment my heart skipped a beat or three when I first laid my eyes on my husband at one point of time.
That moment when I found out that I was pregnant for the very first time.
The moment when I held my daughter in my arms for the very first time and all the subsequent hugs and kisses after that.
A kaleidoscope of random things ranging from people, activities, and places that blew my mind and took my heart away. Be it those glorious romantic hues of yesterday’s sunset that my husband and I saw on our drive back home yesterday or that taste of buttery Orange Chicken that melted in my mouth.
And each of those times, I have experienced and felt Love in its various manifestations. That’s why Love is defined and quoted in so many ways. And its interpretations and expressions far multi-fold.
I thought it would be interesting if I were to embark on this risky and adventurous mission to decode this four letter word. So, here goes my humble crumble(read take portion) of this gigantic sweet pot of pie called LOVE.
Let’s start at the very beginning. A perfect place to start.
Parental love is unconditional and timeless. Their expectations for themselves, something back in return, is more often than not nil. The only expectation they honestly hold is the genuine well-being and happiness of their children. Because of the selfless nature of parent’s love, they are akin to being ‘God on earth’ for us. And they ought to be given the highest honor and respect there ever is.
My Dad told me once, “Love is protective, not possessive.” The former trait he added was positive and good for the flourishing of Love; the latter could choke Love. That was his way of looking at Love. And in the larger scheme of life, his words ring true. We have parents, siblings, spouse, kids; but we are never indeed in possession of anyone.
Knowing your parents is knowing Love enough. And if you are tad luckier, you get hugged and kissed by Love in the form of siblings, extended family, and friends. As you grow, so you love.
As you grow, so you love. Strangers turned acquaintances turned friends turned to that special someone. It’s the dawn of a brand new love affair. And the game of Love gets a tad more challenging. While the odds are odder and the risks higher in this whole new level, the stakes are nobler. This relationship holds more ground, more water, and more meaning than the earlier familial ones because it calls and asks for so much more out of oneself. It’s taking Love to a higher level.
Blood is thicker than water they say. And to make two water bodies merge to form one Blood requires a solid foundation of love, trust, faith, loyalty, respect, patience, hope, kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. Much like the most fragile but most beautiful piece of artwork, or a tender budding plant which holds the promise of off-springing into a gigantic tree, this love relationship needs constant attention, care, and maintenance.
When played and danced well in tune with one another’s heartbeats, this relationship would be that rock-solid fortress you both build together tirelessly and persistently. All while fighting back life’s challenges thrown your way alongside sipping in all of life’s sweetness together.
The ‘You’ and ‘I’ merges into that beauteous zone of ‘Us.’ You realize that Love is beautiful when you can share and confide everything to each other,
When your joys become his or his tears, yours.
When you melt in one another’s arms or kiss each other’s troubles away a big ‘Goodbye’.
When you love doing everything together and for each other.
When he holds those missing puzzle pieces of you while you hold his.
When he mirrors you and you him.
And when you have children together, he sees ‘You,’ and you see ‘Him’ in them. Truly I tell you, what goes around does comes around. And so here we are as one united force till death does us apart!
Finally, Love makes a complete circle when we forge and work towards the most important relationship which we will ever have. That with our Creator.
The paradox is that the most intimate relationship of our lives is with the Unseen. Unseen but most indefinitely felt and perceived.
As Christ says in Matthew 13:16, “For those who have eyes to see, let them see, and for those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”
Yes, Faith is a choice. A choice to hold child-like trust.
For those who believe in a higher power, He is right here, next to us, if only we want to experience Him.
He is the greatest Mother the world will ever know, the greater Father the world has ever seen, the greatest brother or sister anyone can ever have, the greatest lover that History has ever witnessed, the greatest Spouse anyone can espouse.
Don’t trust me? Ask the countless orphans, widows, the weariest and the poorest of souls who will vouch for Him. He may be Unseen, but His Love gets unmistakably manifested in various forms all around us. They who have listened carefully to His subtlest callings and His softest of murmurs in His unique ways have come to realize and firmly proclaim that there is no greater Love or force in this world and the other (nether and higher) than that of our Maker. In Him, they and all of humanity find hope, strength, and courage.
From Him, we come, and to him, we go back. We BELONG to Him. Unlike what my Dad quoted about Love earlier, our relationship with our Creator stands in stark contrast imbibing both the traits of protectiveness and possessiveness.
By Christian faith, our God is extraordinarily jealous and super possessive of his creations. And he makes no bones or two ways about his jealousy and possessiveness when it comes to us. It’s writ all over the Holy Scriptures about his love and possessiveness for Mankind. Such was His Love that He gave his Only-begotten Son to the World, to die for our sins, so that we may have eternal Life in His kingdom.
God’s love is like no other. It is the highest of the highest levels in this game of Love.
It’s the toughest demanding you to love your enemies as much as you love yourself.
It’s the most benevolent requiring you to forgive the brother who stabbed you in the back not once but seventy times seven.
It’s the most exclusive requiring that nothing or no one comes first between you and Him.
It’s the most hurtful demanding you to take the cross and follow Him.
It’s the meekest requiring you to turn your other cheek when people slap you in His name.
It’s the most fearless demanding you to willingly give up your life when people persecute and kill you in His name.
It’s also the most committed, promising, hopeful and loving of all the relationships there ever was/is.
And so, till death brings us finally back home together for eternity.
From loving and living harmoniously with your parents and siblings to ‘living that love’ with your ‘truly everything in this world’ soul-mate, Love makes its complete circle when you decide to discover love in its truest and purest form, in the Holy Spirit with the Unseen but All-known Creator.
“As it is, these remain Faith, Hope, and Love, the three of them. And the greatest of them is Love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Okay, so that was my crumb on Love, what’s yours? Twist and takes, I’d love to hear.