The 4 Letter Word

What is Love?

Foreword: I wrote this a while back, buried amongst a cornucopia of posts. I rewrote the post for VenusBuzz, which has now resurfaced. Thought I’d share it with you, should you be going through a similar struggle with Love – in all its glory and madness. – Picture extracted from Keturah Weathers – “Helping women stuck in sex trafficking, teaching English, hanging out with orphans and widows, helping the poor, supporting local ministries, encouraging and speaking truth.”

That thorny old question is as outdated as an 80’s cassette, on repeat at the lobby of Heartbreak Hotel. I shan’t make a mockery of answering t hat self-posed question. Trying to define it in my own terms when already, philosophers, Mills & Boons and the likes of Dr. Phil have treaded down that age-old topic. So why touch on this topic at all? Well, simply because it continues to mystify when some forms of love can only love in abstract. A Nation. A System. A God.

Questionable acts of violence have been acted out in the name of Love.’ Acts of vengeance fueled from Love, have declared wars, innocent people punished, killed and societies destroyed. And sometimes, that violence hits too close to home and more often than not, we hear of others who has to put up with it on a daily basis. Be it based on gender in a male dominant country’s court of order, or based on submission from an abusive spouse. We’ve heard it, we’ve witnessed it and at times we’ve been subjected to it.

As a child growing up, we either accept that misbehavior is the inevitable end of the stick, hanger, cane or whatever the weapon of discipline might be. Sometimes it’s the closest object at hand, sometimes its from the wrath of a mother’s palm. Whatever the case might be, violence at home has become the one most accepted form of violence we have come to adopt, in the name of Love. One might debate that a slap across the face is injurious compared to vulgar and hurtful verbal abuse.

From my standpoint, having been subjected to both, there is no right or wrong when it comes to abuse, irrespective of the form it takes. Physically or mentally, it is an act of betrayal. The rights of a human being cannot be robbed by the firm-hand of righteous Love.’ So what constitutes Love? Hitting your child like a defenseless clay mould, to shape him or her into a better person? Allowing your spouse to take out his frustrations on you, only to convince yourself that you deserve it? That he’s right and you shouldn’t have, should have, could have and didn’t?

Yes. Love is a potent force. It is the make or break. It can be blinding, dangerous, manipulative, paralyzing, destructive and rotten. Love can also be sacrificial, it can rebuild countries, save lives and in its more positive form, it can bring down tyrants and bring hope to the world. But the most essential Love is Love for your Self. It is more forceful than a punch in the face, a kick in the belly, a violent shove or a burning slap. Love can kill you. But love for your SELF, is what keeps you alive. And that form of Love, is the most powerful love in existence. Love can come in many forms but it must first come from you.

Before you lift your hands at your child or your loved one, think twice. Break the cycle of destruction. If you know someone who is being battered, don’t stand by and make excuses. Worry not if it will cause your friendship, break a relationship or ruin a marriage. The acceptant is as countable as the assailant. If its happening to you, don’t hesitate to make a report or to seek help. Most importantly, don’t ever hesitate to Love your Self!

*Endnote: “Brighter Than Sunshine” by Aqualung sums up what Love is to me.

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