Google "why do we love" and you'll come up with a lot of different options to explore. There are psychological and philosophical articles, TED Talks, songs, Pinterest ideas, memes...the list goes on and on. Love has been categorized into different types: romantic, brotherly, unconditional, playful, and more. There's talk of dopamine, neurotransmitters and brain chemistry. There are cultural explanations and religious ones, too.
This topic can go in so many different directions that it could take a lifetime to study just one, let alone multiple facets of love. But after witnessing a beautiful wedding this weekend, and taking in all the love that was clearly evident in the room, I think the answer is that we love because we are human. Love makes us human and being human makes us love.
Romantic bride-and-groom love; or deep abiding for a sibling love; parent to child love; remembering those who have died love; feeling blessed, grateful and lucky to be alive love; respectful open-hearted accepting love; recognizing grace love; these and many more ways we discover to love each other are what make us human. Do we all feel love all the time? Probably not. Is it available to us -- any kind of love at any time? Probably so.
Many years ago I stitched a classic cross-stitch sampler with a classic saying for my late mother-in-law: Love wasn't put in your heart to stay. Love isn't love until you give it away. A little sentimental, perhaps; some would go so far as to say schmaltzy. Nevertheless, true. Why? Because it is in the exchange, the giving and receiving that makes us human in whatever way we are able to express. It is love that makes us human, and so we press on -- ever hopeful to be blessed with that connection that avows my own humanity -- my very being alive -- so that I may avow yours.
May you recognize love in your life this week.