What is Love?

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BY SHEENA BLAKE

What is love? Do you know what it is? What it looks like? What it feels like? I find most of us know what it is not, but few of us know the answers to these questions.

Today’s column is about discovering what love is, what it looks like and what it feels like. I am not referring to any particular kind of love, but to the entire gamut of the ways that love shows up.

Poppa, that’s my dad, is always talking about this topic. He says and has said since we were children, “love can fill your life, it has something to do with experiencing the indelible. Childhood love may be the most important love because it is where and when you are developing your concept of morals and principals.”

I can attest to the fact that he and my mom believed this as they were and still are the kind of parents that support everything that I do. I grew up feeling that I was cherished and wanted. I grew up feeling loved.

My childhood is this sweet memory that has instilled some genuine feelings regarding love. My young adult years, however, remind me of when I discovered what love is not, and my adult years allow me to remember how to display what I was taught about love to my partner, children, aging parents, students and strangers.

Ok. So, let me start by talking about what I have learned what love is not. This idea seems oxymoronic, but follow me.

In my late teens and early twenties, like many young females, I was certain that there was more to love, more to life, more to men…

Nothing crazy happened, really. I just learned a lot about what love is not. Love is not mean, is does not call names, it does not lay hands, it does not boast. I realized, through various types of relationships, that love is not many things until I began to remember what my parents had raised me to know.

Not knowing what something is, is an essential part of life. It is important to know anterior opposites. But, knowing what something is, is even more essential. I was raised knowing that love is kind, it listens, it accepts, it is unconditional.

It looks like solidarity, whether at the dinner table or in protest. It looks like kissed booboos and gentle back rubs. It feels like warmth in the cold and cold in the warmth. It feels like gentle snuggles and tender kisses.

Love really is sweet. Of course, it comes with its own bag of ‘stuff’, like making decisions for aging parents or new born babies. The ‘stuff’ comes when you have to discipline your five year-old who ran into the road.

But, even with the ‘stuff’, love is about the moments when the world stands still or moves really, really fast. It’s about learning about true exhaustion after having a baby. It’s about celebrating twenty years of a relationship or winking at a stranger. Love is the huge things and it is the small things.

I could go on for days about what love is, but I won’t, not today. But, I’d love to know…what does love look like for you?

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