Love a Little More


I’ve never been a big fan of Valentines Day. Today was no different. Had it not been for the fact that I work in schools, I would have completely forgotten today was a holiday. However, today is about love and not necessarily the “in love” kind of love. It’s about kindness and showing others you care.

Today, I watched a mother treat her child like they were the most inconvenient ‘thing.’ While in the grocery store, I listened to a woman who was talking on the phone with her grown child stating that she just can’t take it anymore.
I came home this evening and sat on my couch cringing as I could hear the upstairs neighbor scream so loudly at her child that I could hear every word over the sound of my television.

All of these things sound so depressing on a day that is supposed to be focused on love.
And they are. 

The english language has one word for love which means, “to have an intense feeling of deep affection.” The word love can be used in many different ways when talking about basically anything. We say that we just “love” someone’s outfit, “love” our parents/children, “love” our significant other, “love” that pizza we ate last week, and more. How often do we think about what we actually mean when we say we love something?

Growing up, I went to a small church on the mountain I grew up on. The pastor used to refer to the Greek words for love frequently enough that it stuck with me. The Greek language has four different words for love that each express a different kind of love and that can build onto each other. **Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) “This is an unconditional love that sees beyond the outer surface and accepts the recipient for whom he/she is, regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults.” Éros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.”Philia (φιλία philía) “affectionate, warm and tender platonic love; it is how you feel about someone.” Storge (στοργή storgē) “is unconditional, accepts flaws or faults and ultimately drives you to forgive.”**

What if we thought of love the way the Greek language spells it out? What if we separated the meaning and truly understood what it meant to love someone/something? What if instead of saying that we loved everything and anything, we stopped lessening the value of the word and used it for its true purpose?

What if we SHOWED love instead of only SPEAKING love?

It is wonderful hearing that special someone tell you that they love you. You feel those butterflies in your stomach and feel as if life just cannot get any better. It is comforting to hear your mother say “I love you” before bed. It feels good when someone says that they just “love” your outfit, doesn’t it?

But if the same word is used to describe how we feel about a piece of material, does it truly express how we feel about another individual?

No. Words alone cannot express that. You cannot tell someone that you love them and then turn around and scream at them until they are left feeling belittled and worthless. You cannot tell someone that you love them but then never take any interest in their well being. Love is not just a word. It is an action. Telling someone that you love them does not remove the obligation to show someone that you love them. The word love is not a replacement for the action of love.

It is witnessing things like I did today that encourage me to continue doing what I do. I love {Agápe} my kids. I love working with my kids (even though some days they drive me crazy). Sometimes I wonder if I am doing everything I can to show my kids love, because I know that some of these kids do not receive love at home. It hurts to watch my kids cry because they have not felt loved in a long time, if ever. It breaks my heart to know that some of my kids have never known the love of a nurturing parent, but have felt the abandonment of an uninterested parent. It is knowing these things about my kids that fuel the fire for me to push through and love them.

While my kids are my passion and where I focus so much of my love, they are not the only ones I love. I sometimes have to catch myself because I spend my work day loving on these kids that when I get off work, I forget to show love to my friends and family. I forget to smile at the homeless man on the street. I forget to thank the cashier that made every effort to smile at me during the entire transaction. I forget to listen to my roommate when she has had a hard day. I forget to show love in those little, yet so important ways.

So, here’s to love. Here’s to not just saying that four letter word, but showing it.
Here’s to taking that extra step, to actually meaning the words we say.

It’s Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week. We are already finishing day two, but this world could always use RAK, right? Take a moment to look at the RAK website and maybe consider participating.

1 Corinthians 3:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

**Definitions for Greek words of love.**


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