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Love is an act

February, as so many of the messages over the past five or six day that have arrived in my emailbox remind us, is for love. From Amazon’s best deals to the local zoo, everyone is pitching love as part of their sales message. I guarantee the marketing barrage will continue to rise exponentially as we come closer and closer to the 14th, Valentine’s Day.

And then it will be over.

Poof! And on to the next thing you *need* to buy for yourself or your loved one.

It can be hard to resist the marketing messages of the world we live in. It’s hard to shut out the noise, ignore the way it makes us feel, not judge ourselves.

Here’s the thing, though. Love is an act. It's not a holiday or a season. Love is a lived act. It’s not a rom-com feeling that always has a happy ending – but it could be. It’s not worshipping at your church, temple, mosque – although it can be. It isn’t volunteering at the soup kitchen or picking up trash in the community or caring for a sick family member or wounded animal or delivering meals to shut-ins – at least, not exclusively. It’s certainly not sex – except when it is.

Love is a word you speak and hear every day. I love that Netflix series. I love garlic-roasted potatoes. I love my cat. I love these socks. I love, I love, I love. . . . After all that loving, when you say or hear I love you, how do you know exactly what that means?

Love is an act. It is generous and kind. Love doesn’t ask for something in return. It is given with good will, honesty and true compassion. When love is met with love, ah! There you will find understanding, partnership, sympathy and growth. There you find support and satisfaction. And respect. And, there you find pain, sorrow and sadness because nothing lasts forever and when we lose that support, we grieve. But we only grieve because we have loved and been loved.

I’ve written before “wherever you go, leave love behind.” When you act with love, you become a loving person, not just for a date or a day or a weekend. When you practice love, it grows, in you and around you. It spirals outward and upward – not always perfectly, but always positively.

Love is an act. It's a practice. Act with love for your sake and mine.


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