What does “love” really mean?
After all, we are inundated with the Valentine word every day in every way. The lyrics of songs shout the word “love” repeatedly. The movie stars flaunt the idea of “love” as we pass the tabloids in the market. And of course, ABC’s popular reality show, The Bachelor, has young women “falling in love” after a first date.
Love is an underrated, overused word that is overlooked by many.
However, love is also a four-letter word that can be unequaled. It can mean the feeling that you have when one you care so deeply about is crying; it is the touch that brings the soul to life; an unstated feeling when one is alone tenderly holding a newborn’s tiny hand; the feeling one has when saying a final goodbye, whether it is to a pet or to a friend or family member.
Love can be witnessed in a smile, a tear and a connection to our world. Love can be so deep it stirs our consciousness; it awakens our senses, and breathes life into our being.
Newark tweens and teens gave heartfelt answers when asked, “What is love?"
- Kari M., age 9: “Love is when you really like someone.”
- Hunter, age 12: “Love is when you want to spend the rest of your life with them.”
- Ryan, age 8: “It is when I love my mom and dad.”
- Zac, age 12: “Love is deep affection.”
- Devin, age 13: “It’s not what I say, it’s what I show.”
- DJ, age 12: “Love is so deep you can’t stay away from the person. You don’t love them for how they look but for who they are.”
- Brandon, age 13: "It is when a guy and a girl like each other and want to be with each other."
- Alyssa, age 14: “Love can be many things but there is no ideal love.”
- Kalina, age 14: “Love is the way you feel in your family and with the closest friends you have.”
- Kyle, age 12: "Love is a very powerful emotion."
Love is a simple word that has been contemplated by many for centuries.
"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love," said the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles.
"Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., a 19th century physician and essayist.
"Loves makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place,” said novelist Zora Neale Hurston.
"Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired," said Huckleberry Finn author Mark Twain.
And Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India's independence, said, “Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.”
Whatever your definition of “love” may be this Valentine’s day, may you act with the deepest understanding and commitment you know, without retribution. Now is the moment, but may your paper hearts reflect the depth needed for a lifetime.