Valentines Day post from 2007.
Yesterday, Martha asked me “When you say I love you, what does that mean to you?” A month-or-so ago, Gina asked me the same thing. Rosie told me she is uncomfortable hearing it. In fact, some people rebuke the term like some sort of venomous snake. The universe is a large and scary place, and to be frightened of love is a bit sad to me; it’s tantamount to admitting that friends are not worth the trouble.
I admit that I often use the term, but it means different things to different people. This is what I mean: when I say I love you: Within my abilities, I will do anything I can to make your life a better one.
Occasionally I allow my friends to experiment and to express themselves, even when I disagree with them. Sometimes I love by making my own life a better one for them. Or, I suppose, changing a little thing (sharing a secret with a friend). Or maybe it’s as difficult as giving up a habit you hold dear (like putting the toilet lid down, or up), or watching a program you hate for an hour, to be near someone.
Once, I even loved by pulling my son from the path of a speeding car, and forcing him, shoes flying from his feet, into the poison oak.
Can love be as simple as waving somebody onto the expressway on a busy day?
Maybe love is picking up a half-dozen cigarette butts on the sidewalk in front of someone’s house.
Perhaps to love is to offer an angry homeless person as slice of pizza, or to push your nephew on the swingset.
Or… saying smiling to the guy in the cubicle next to you.
Love the earth… Smile at a cedar tree, or hug the wind.
Today, this Valentines Day, I resolve to love people and to bring love actively into my life. I challenge you to love somebody. The opportunities are myriad, and the outcomes are always satisfactory.