What Is Love? – by Rick McCain

Valentine’s Day is here, and the love of Cupid’s arrows will rack up billions of dollars for the commercial industry. In 2019, $20.7 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation.

People across the world will purchase flowers, candy, go out to dinner and fork out a large amount of cash for overpriced hotel rooms for one night of romance. However, some will spend just as much trying to forget love. 

The song What Is Love was sung by Nestor Haddaway, and Dee Dee Halligan and Junior Torello wrote the lyrics. The song that makes people’s head gyrate back and forth and took the writers less than 48 hours to produce in 1993, is still a fan favorite around the world.

But what is love? Parts of the lyrics ask the question, “I don’t know why you’re not fair, I give you my love, but you don’t care, so what is right and what is wrong? Gimme a sign.” Although the song now seems to be more about head gyration, Haddaway appears to be deeply troubled that his love was not being appreciated nor reciprocated.

Yes, love can hurt. That Stacey Lattisaw song, I Found Love on a Two-Way Street, that many Generation Xers and millennials remember, was a soul ballad written by Sylvia Robinson and Bert Keyes in 1968. Lezli Valentine was the first person to sing this song about a love that can be lost on a lonely highway, which was then recorded by The Moments, the version most baby boomers remember.

With so many hearts broken, Valentine’s Day is also known as the day of the broken-hearted. There is a day called Broken Hearts Day, which is the day after Valentines’. Broken Hearts Day is for the person who doesn’t have a girl/boyfriend for Valentine’s Day.

People have gone through mental breakdowns or go on drinking or eating binges as a pity party for themselves. This day is often celebrated by people agonizing over their singleness, feeling abandoned as they listen to songs like Rose Royce’s Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. Many have unfortunately attempted or committed suicide, simply over a thing called love.

So, I ask the question again. What Is Love?

Love is wanting to be with someone for the rest of your life, and not feel like a moment of life was wasted loving them. Love is when absence makes your heart grow fonder, and out of sight, out of mind isn’t something you need to love.

Love is having a tingling sensation, knowing that you are about to see that person and the tingling within increases the closer the time gets to be with them. It’s a love that you want the entire world to envy, a love so strong that if they were able to touch the hem of your garment, the spiritual love within you would make them whole.

Love is never being afraid to cry or be vulnerable with the one you love. It’s sharing your joys and pain, never to be questioned about how you feel, and never feeling you have to question someone you love.

Love is to breathe in the same air, and as it exhales from your body, it brings life into their soul and becomes the wind beneath their wings. It’s abundant life when the thieves of this world seek to kill, steal, and destroy your mind, body, and soul. It’s holding hands and feeling the warmth of their love slowly caressing your skin, which touches your heart, making you feel reunited, and it feels so good.

It’s when your hearts come together simulating one heartbeat, that makes you stronger, feeling the power within that love, which makes two hearts beat as one and reminds you that no weapon formed against you shall prosper.

It’s a love that makes 25 years of marriage seem like a grain of sand compared to the oasis of eternal rivers that flows within you just thinking of them. It’s falling in love again and again, just by looking at their picture on your phone. It’s a love that says, I’d rather have bad times with you than good times with someone else.

It’s a love that allows you to be weak, and it strengthens you when you’re sad, and it comforts you. Be angry at love, and it recognizes why, and be happy, and it’s comfortable living within the shadows of that love.

It’s a love that stands beside you and never makes you feel like a side piece. It’s a love that never makes you walk behind them because they are always behind you. It’s a love that unashamedly declares its devotion, a love so secure it can say you love me, say I’m the one your eyes see.

It’s a submissive love to someone that doesn’t force you to submit. It’s a love that controls you when love isn’t controlling. It’s a love that finds unspeakable joy being with you, a fire that never dies, a love that continuously burns within, never needing time away to recapture its passion.

It’s a love that appreciates who you are and accept the difference within your love. It’s a love that acknowledges and sees you. It’s a love that loves you even on those days when you stopped loving yourself.

To some, this kind of love seems suffocating, but this is the love that Jesus provided when he gave his life so that we might live. It’s called “agape love”.

It’s an unconditional, selfless love that never seeks to find fault to gain an advantage over someone. It seeks out flaws to remove them from destroying the presence of love, so that love can conquer all. It never blames; it only removes the blemishes that place a judgment against its love.

What is love, should never be about the love you want, if you don’t want to understand the love that is needed. Love should be given selflessly without demanding love in return. If you’re going to be two as one, both should always seek to provide 100% of their love daily, without seeking it in return. That may sound crazy, but if you both agree to love this way, you will witness a love that will last forever and a love that others will admire. 

What is Love? Paraphrasing the Bible, love is like a vision, something we have faith in. We are to “Write the vision and make it plain so that they may run who reads it.”

I encourage you to write your love story so those that read it will have a reason to run to love.

Rick McCain
Editor’s Note: Rick McCain has been in the ministry for 30 years, with over 20 years of counseling experience in marriage and singles ministries. He has been married for 25 years to his wife, Brenda McCain, and they share words of wisdom on their internet radio show called Let’s Stay Together Talk.

Educated in Speech Communication and Religious Studies and certified as a religious counselor, Rick has a strong desire to help others reach their potential by providing encouragement, sound advice, and the knowledge he has gleaned from his counseling experiences.

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