When I was in college, there was a classmate down the hall in my dorm who was known for being a pothead. She and her boyfriend and her circle of friends were known for sneaking off into the woods and partaking.
I remember talking to her one night about why she chose to smoke as much as she seemed to smoke. Her response was that she was hooked on the love.
She explained that she'd had this experience where she'd gotten stoned and was then talking to her mom and she could just see and feel so much love flowing from her mom and felt so much love flowing towards her mom that she knew she had to keep having that experience.
"I love love." Those were her words.
What was sad to me was that the only way she could feel and experience that kind of love in herself and in her life was under the influence of a drug- that she couldn't see that by having that experience while stoned meant the experience was false.
But her words- "I love love" - still stay with me now.
It sounds corny, it sounds like some stoned hippy tenet, it sounds juvenile.
But it's absolutely true.
I love love. I am passionate about love. I am crazy about love.
This has been a really hard week. I've written about the very unexpected death of a very young boy. There's been a lot more going on- I've had many friends reaching out, needing prayers, needing support. Friends who have children making dangerous choices, friends who are reeling from old wounds being reopened, friends who are the victims of others' hurtful words and choices, friends who are facing a difficult anniversary, friends who are facing the moving away of a best friend... there's just a lot of hurt happening for people that I care about right now.
My wish is that all of the people somehow connected to me who are experiencing pain, who are hurting, who are lacking hope, who are angry, who are acting out... would realize that they are loved, would feel and experience the love flowing into them.
I love love. I love loving my kids, my husband, my family. I love loving my friends, my close friends, my distant friends. I had something of an "ah ha" moment about a year ago when I suddenly felt called to love someone that I would normally be angry with or dismiss due to differing viewpoints or might pity. Since that moment, I have found myself more willing to hear the other side of someone's story. I've been more aware of what is going on in someone's life that might be driving some of their anger.
I had a conversation with someone recently that showed me just how much there are still people who cling to their blinders- who don't want to see the world beyond the black and white definitions they have given it. But I believe that love is the thing that will crack open the black and white and start to bleed in some color. I believe that when someone is loved and experiences love in a deep and unexpected way, that is when their eyes become open to how much more life has to offer.
So to all my friends who have hurts and wounds and scars... whether I know about them or not... if you want to share with me or not... Please know that you are loved. As much as I can, I am sending my love to you. When I hug you, when I hold your hand, when I send you a message- those are acts of love.
I have felt for a long time that my purpose in this life is to love others. I believe that God's greatest gift to us is this thing called love. I believe that there are many people who have very limited definitions or experiences of what love really means.
Which is why it is so important for me to continue to proclaim that I love love. Love defies definition, as much as we may try. Love is available for anyone and all people deserve it. Love has so many levels and intricacies and specialties and meanings. When I say "I love you" to my husband, it's the same but different from saying it to my kids, my mom, my brothers, my friends. This kind of love is different than romantic love. This love that I feel comes from a special place and I am fortunate to find myself overflowing with it.
I love love.