Valentines’s Day: Lessons in love
Judith Victoria Hensley Plain Thoughts
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” These lines were written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning at the turn of the 18th Century.
When the word “love” comes to mind, the first response is almost always to think of a romantic type of love between sweethearts. However, this is only one form of love among many.
There is a love between husbands and wives that binds them together through thick and thin. It is a commitment that steadies their resolve to work together in the relationship even when the emotions are not heightened and the romantic desire is not ignited.
Parental love is the kind that causes a mother or father to nurture and care for the needs of a child as they grow, even though their ability to reciprocate that love is often immature and selfish.
Love between brothers and sisters within a family will keep them connected through decades even though they scatter far from the original nest. My mother’s family is the best example of this that I can think of. There were sixteen children in the family. Eight remain. They still make weekly check-ups on each other, pray for each other, rejoice in the good times and weep in the bad. The youngest of them is over 70 years old, but the bond that was there as children has kept them close through the years and miles that separate them.
Friendship is one of the most precious forms of love. We are born into families, but we choose our friends or they choose us. Friends are often present and important in our lives when no one else can be. I attended three visitations last week of women who had lost their husbands. Each funeral home was packed with family and friends who had turned out to be supportive and pay their respects.
The affection between a pet owner and their pet, whether it be a horse or a puppy is a genuine emotional connection. I have known some people who seemed to care more for their pets than they did for other human beings. When their pet died, they grieved the loss just as they would if they had lost a human friend.
Men love cars. Children love candy. Women love purses and shoes. One person loves pizza, and another fried chicken. The word love is used to identify a great preference for a particular thing that is incapable of returning any emotional response.
There is a love greater than all of these combined. It is the love of God for mankind. The Bible describes God as our Heavenly Father, and we as the children of God. Jesus is described as our brother and our friend. As a body of Christians, the church is described as the bride of Christ. We are the sheep of His pasture. In every way that love can exist, God loves us.
He loved us enough that he sent his own son to sacrifice Himself for our sins. Jesus loved us and willingly gave Himself for us, that whoever believes that He truly is the son of God and accepts the gift of that love might be saved.
On this Valentine’s Day, it is a good opportunity to consider all the different forms of love present in our lives and take time out to be thankful for each one.
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