What’s love? That question is probably a topic to be debated. We’ve got a million different definitions for this thing that we call “love.” It seems that we’re in love with the idea of “love,” but we’re not all that caught up in the sacrifices that love will demand of us. And so, we craft and we carve and we contort love to be something that we love, but something that we don’t love so much that it demands much of us. None of that is really love. And so, what is love?
It’s the stuff of endless novels, myths and legends. Entire movies and plays are driven from the first line to the last by this single theme. We live for it, fight for it, plead for it, cheat for it and die for it. We even go so far as to fabricate cheap and limp imitations of love to at least get a small piece of something that looks like love. But none of that is really love.
We step into the quandary of the greeting card aisle and we’re faced with an endless variety of cards that extol love. We’ve got a whole holiday dedicated to it. Our tombstones are cut with inscriptions that talk about how we loved or were loved. We’re quick to say that we love certain foods or certain people or certain hobbies or certain colors. Sometimes we speak the word “love” with a deep passion we don’t even understand. Other times we throw it around to describe something we tend to like or feel good about. But what is it?
Love is Powerful
One thing’s for sure, love is powerful. We all want it, or in reality we all need it. It’s inborn in us as some sort of fundamental human need that’s as important as water, food and oxygen. You can’t grab it. You can’t box it. It doesn’t ship well and refrigeration doesn’t preserve it. Love doesn’t allow you to control it or catch it or herd it. We didn’t invent it and all of our efforts to dissect it end up leaving us as mystified as ever. There are a million different stanzas and an equally large number of musical scores that bespeak of our love for “love,” but it still evades us. It’s abundantly clear that we’ve in love with “love.” But what in the world is it?
Feeling or Decision?
Is love a feeling or a decision? We can say with some certainty that love is a deep human emotion where the most fundamental of our passions are stirred. There’s something so powerful about love that people have risen to unbelievable heights and achieved phenomenal things because of love. On the other side of that, people have also plunged to frightening lows that some individuals never crawl out of. Love is a powerful emotion that makes us uniquely human and gives us the ability to do things we never imagined we could do. But, is love a feeling or a decision?
What if Love is Both?
Indeed, true love is a profound emotion. However, it must move beyond an emotion simply because love without a decision that throws love into action is love that is in the very process of dying. Love without a decision never moves love outside of itself. Love without a decision never touches anyone but us. Love without a decision will utterly rob us of the very miracles that only love can pull off. Love without a decision, or a decision without love will both fail miserably.
And so we choose. We choose when it hurts to choose. We choose when the choice may cost us dearly. We choose when not choosing seems the better choice. We choose when everyone around us deems such a choice as absolutely lunacy because they’ve forgotten what love is. We choose because love will never be unleashed unless we make a decision to unleash it.
Love as the Expression of True Living
There’s one final thing about real love that makes it unique. In fact, it might be the most important thing. Living and sacrificing in love gives life an authentic richness far superior to a life that’s invested in just taking, or trying to give based on some cost/benefit analysis. Love is first and foremost about how it helps someone else. But in sacrificing for someone else something powerful returns to us. Love kind of splashes back on us. It will eventually come full circle possessing more than what we’d sent it out with. That’s enriching in ways that are truly great. Make a decision to love and it will return. Make a choice and you will be loved. Choose to love and you’ll end up falling in love with loving.