What Does ‘Love’ Really Mean?

Friday, we will, once again, be celebrating the Hallmark Holiday of Love, Valentine’s Day.

The Beatles once did a song titled, “All You Need is Love,” and it began with the repetitive lyric of “Love, Love, Love.” It’s a complex word, “love.” What does it really mean? How is it supposed to be used? Is it overused? Is it underused? It seems to be a very confusing word given to such a complex emotion.

Love is sometimes used as a noun.

No, it is not tangible in that we can grab it physically, or put it in a box, or throw it to someone, but love can be given. It can be expressed, it can be a gift. It can’t be touched physically, but it can be felt, both by the receiver and the giver, and because it can be a gift, comparable to something that can be given like items wrapped up in a box, and can be given to someone as a present, an argument can be made that love can be used as a noun.

Love is a verb.

To love is to feel something deep for someone. It is expressing respect, devotion, fondness for someone, or even something. It is showing someone, or something, how much they, or it, means to us. If feeling, expressing, devoting, showing, giving, are all verbs, then you have a strong argument in favor of love also being a verb.

Love is an emotion.

As stated, it is something we can’t touch, but is something we can feel. We can feel it inside of us, often deeply. It is something that makes us feel good. It is something that makes others feel good when we give it. It is that which can lift spirits that are low, and dry tears of sadness that flow. It can also create tears of joy as well. It is that which can combat hate the strongest, and it is the feeling that can come from so many different angles and places.

Love can be many things, and can do many things. It costs nothing, but its value is immeasurable. Its magic powers can make it possible to be given to, and to appear from, so many people, places, things, events, memories, be they big or small.

A song released in 1981, written by John Denver, produced by Milt Okun, promoted by Columbia Records, sung by Denver and Placido Domingo, and later appearing on Domingo’s album of the same name was, “Perhaps Love.” It offered a partly clear, yet very complex, definition of what love is, what it could be, what it might be for some, and shows that each and every one of the song’s comparisons to, and descriptions of love, are all spot on, pin point, and accurate.

In the song they mentioned that love could be a resting place, a shelter, a comfort, and something that keeps some warm. It compared love to a window, an open door, a cloud, and even steel. It said love could be a way of living, or a way to feel. It said that love could be either holding on, or letting go, each being definitions of love. It compared love to the ocean, beautiful yet bringing conflict and pain at times. It compared love to fire when it is cold, and thunder when it is raining. It sang that love was both uncertainty and also everything.

Nowhere in the song did it say that love was only given by, or to, people. Love can be given to, or felt for, an animal, nature, a book, an idea, a movie, song, an experience, a memory.

So, Friday, when we’re sitting with that someone special, if we’re lucky enough to have that someone special (I am), may we all expand our vision of love, appreciate it’s vastness, and to include in what we love, the person we’re with, the special persons, places, things, events, and memories in our lives, both past and present, and may we all feel, and use the word, love, more and more every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.