Love is patient, Love is kind, Love is the greatest gift you’ll ever own: By Robert Terpstra

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Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking, or selfish. Love is not easily angered. Love does not keep any records of wrongs. Love does not delight itself in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Love always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres. Love never fails. … In a word, there are three things that last forever: Faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.
The authors of the preceding Biblical verse had it pretty much right when they professed, for all to see, their belief in the importance of love. To take a step back sometimes during our busy work and school schedules and think about the people that got us to the place where we currently are is vastly underrated. The people that are near and dear to you are most likely the ones that will stick with you through both the good times and the most difficult of times.
Love can have several faces. Love can be in the form of “puppy love” between two giggling teenagers. It can be in the form of a passionate love between two star-crossed lovers bridging continents or in the form of an engrained love between mother and son, brothers, husband and wife, perhaps even with a frail older relative that understands what the sanctity of life is about and how love can make it so much stronger.
Love can also rip apart families, be misused in sadist and masochistic ways, transform into lust and warrant affairs or give rise to unhealthy fantasies. Love is such a powerful tool that has been given to man, that it can either thrive under the most extreme of circumstances for long periods of time, or it can disintegrate faster than a one-night stand.
Love for one’s country is especially important around election time, independence day and remembrance for war veterans. If not for the love and appreciation of the ‘terra firma’ on which many immigrants found themselves after the great wars of the 20th century, several generations would have been wiped out and simply not been born.
Like all aspects of love, an evil fascist or totalitarian regime can spread across the nation because of one man or one woman’s eternal ‘love’ towards the motherland.
Starting at the love between an infant baby and mother, many say, begins long before birth, when the two can hear each other’s heartbeat, or when the fetus falls asleep to the vibrations of the mother’s soothing and tender voice. With the understanding that the first two years of the infant’s life are the most vital to cognitive development, it is often the mother who is the prime influence during this time. Everything else in the world takes a backseat, because of the unconditional and vastly apparent love between two beings, but one life. Because of the nine months of gestation, childrearing translates into a love that takes the form of breast-feeding, bathing, playing, waking up at all hours of the night and tending to one they call their own.
Fast forward into the teenager years, when a free-spirited figure begins to rebel against both their parents and authority figures – Oedipus complex no more, the love is suppressed until perhaps money is needed to go out with friends, education costs begin to rise and exotic trips to the far corners of the Earth are planned. Now, the love is masqueraded in ‘thank yous’ and reciprocated by ‘your welcomes’. Perhaps until it is too late will one realize the tremendous sacrifice, commitment and devotion that enveloped and consumed the parents’ lives seven days a week, year after year.
Perhaps it will take a tragedy in another family or, heaven forbid in oneself’s family, to analyze and appreciate what love really is.
What love is not is what is portrayed in magazines, on television and in the movies. It does not fit into a neat, little two-hour big screen package and delivered in sensuous love scenes where bodies are god-like, music is playing and the lighting is just right.
Love is making lunches at 7:30 in the morning, love is watching one’s child’s football practice after a stressful day at work, love is cooking dinner when dinner should have been served an hour ago, love is saying, ‘I love you’, love is knowing it without saying it, love is about cherishing time together, love is about family, friends and lovers, love is about walks in the street, pushes on the swings, skating on the ice and sitting on a park bench, love is sitting at the foot of a hospital bed and waiting … and waiting, or crouching beside a headstone and remembering, love is a phone call, an e-mail, a text message away, love is a touch, a smell, a selfless gesture, love is eternal and the greatest gift you’ll ever own.

Treasure it. And love it to death.

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