Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's Love Got to Do With It?

I used to tell my children and also my CCD kids (I taught challenging, middle school religious education for many years) that you should use the word "love" very carefully as it was a powerful concept that should be saved for "people in our lives" who go far beyond the word "like."  Thus I would encourage them to say, "I really like chocolate chip mint ice cream" but "I love you."  I suspect that both my own kids and all the other ones who listened to me drone on about saving  "love" really didn'tcare any more about the power of "love" than they did about their use of personal pronouns in the subject or object position (Bob and I, rather than me and Bob). 
In the effort to keep my writing "real," I must admit that I really, really do like reading on the beach, nestled under an umbrella with the sun on my legs a whole lot more than the word "like" might initially portray.  I can get weak in the knees just thinking about how that renews my spirit and energy.  I really do like walking on the beach or even walking to my pond and watching the sunrise.  At those moments, I suspect I am pretty close to the Almighty.  I really, really do like getting an incredible bargain at TJ Maxx or Marshalls and savoring the discounted shopping stub. 
However, now that I am more mature and have a whole lot of life experiences in liking and loving, I am even more confident that saving the word love is an important thing to do.  As much as I like the beach (and that is a whole lot), I love my husband far more.  As much as I really, really like a good book (think Water for Elephants), I love my children far more.  As much as I really, really, really like a good bargain at the Maxx, I love spending time with my family far more.  
Now maybe the ultimate need is for a way to differentiate the way we feel about things and experiences from the deeper connection we have to people; however, until someone comes up with a new word to do so, consider saving the word love for those people you really love!

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