“Love” is one of those interesting words. “Love” is expressed to you from a very young age, despite the inability to relate to the person sharing it, nor an understanding of what it means. As we grow up we become more aware of what it means and when and to whom to say it. We also learn that it is a word which, if used incorrectly, distastefully or inappropriately, can get you into trouble.
There’s a quality of inseparability required between you and what you love for you to actually be in love with it. This is the quality that I think I failed to understand or dignify when I was younger. When my parents used to tell me that they loved me I didn’t understand the weight of their expression. I didn’t know anything other than being with them, so I couldn’t imagine anything different. I would respond by saying I loved them too, but probably said it in more of a “hey thanks, I really like you too, and you make me happy.” The inseparableness was not yet understood. Truly, I can say that I do indeed love my parents and care about them very much. It’s been a learning process to understand and qualify my love for them, but I guess that’s natural for a child, and part of being a parent – understanding the value of the people around you, including those that brought you into the world.
I remember dating girls when I was younger (in my teens), and often stressing over whether or not I should say “I love you” to them, despite not necessarily loving them at all, never mind knowing what it meant or what I meant by saying it. I had not yet learned what love was nor the true feeling of being in love. Fortunately, I met my wife very early in my 20’s and our partnership has grown more in love ever since. Along the way, I have become more aware of how love feels, its dynamic nature and how deep it can get.
I find it interesting that our culture freely uses the word love for places, material objects, experiences and ideas, but is so much more careful when referring to people. To say, “I love champagne,” or “I loved university,” or “I love Kelowna,” does not incite the same reaction as “I love Jason,” or “I love Jessica,” and accordingly I don’t think similar expressions regarding these different subjects carry the same weight.
Well, today is Valentine’s Day and in celebration, in full breadth and magnitude, I proudly say “I love you,” to my mother and father and my wife. My dog Emily, well, she doesn’t really understand the word “love” like she does snack, walk or sit. But I love her just the same. Happy Long Weekend everyone.