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Being the jaded person I have become, I have taken note of that all too familiar statement, “I love you.”  I smile, nod my head and say it back, but actually wonder what that person means or what I mean.  I believe love is the hardest emotion to define.  The word itself is easy enough to say.  I love artichokes. I love the ocean. I love books. I love my children. I love everything that doesn’t give me pain and sadness.  I love everything that makes me feel whole.  I love the idea of love.  I love the idea of someone loving me and me loving someone in return.

I used the word love in some form, 12 times in that short paragraph.  Do you get my point?  The word is overused and the emotion is undefinable.  Often love is used as a weapon.  When a person has become weakened by the idea of love, they are open to abuse on many levels.  There are those that prey on others in the name of love.  I watch friends repeatedly fall victim to their own ability to love beyond the boundaries that do them harm. On a twisted note, I envy that love.  I have never known it to that level.

I’m not saying love is not a necessary human emotion and I’m not saying it can’t be a beautiful thing to have in one’s life, but I am saying that people do the most hurtful things in the name of love.  A fellow poet read from a book a young boy wrote as he was suffering from a disease that eventually killed him.  This fellow poet was recruiting friends to spread the message of love with poetry and sidewalk chalk art.  I found it difficult to bear this story as I wondered why it would take a dying child to make people understand what love really is.  Why does there have to be some sort of dark suffering or trauma to validate love and caring?

I’ve insulated myself from this strange word love.  My life without that depth of love has been unbearable at times, yet I have survived the pain and moved on.  It has been a necessary reaction for the difficulties life has placed in my lap.  The few times I have broken down the walls and allowed myself to love have left far more visible scars on the tapestry that has become my marred shell.  Sadly, those times have been when I’ve felt the most alive and aware of the human factor.  Ahh yes, love, the one emotion that most defines humanity is the one that is most elusive.  The next time you say “I love you,” follow it with an action that shows you really mean it.

That is all.