(Article changed on October 3, 2013 at 09:30)
Love is not a feeling. Love is who we are when we are being who we really are.
We are love when we tell the truth, when we are honorable, when we have compassion for others. We are love when we have courage, particularly when we have the courage to forgive... forgiving not only others, but ourselves as well. We are all learning; we all make mistakes.
Love is speaking up against injustice. And love is being silent when there is nothing to be gained by finding fault or by pointing out how right we were when others had it wrong.
We can love in joy or sadness, in sickness or in health. We love when we keep our word, when we try our best, when we have respect for others. Love is not arrogant or egotistical. We don't know everything, but we can always be willing to learn something new, to question our preconceived ideas, to test our beliefs against our more mature experience and realizations.
We love when we hold steadfast to what we believe in, even against a fearsome tide; and we also love when we have the courage to change our mind after finally realizing there was a better choice than the one we made when we were once so sure of ourselves.
We love when we do not pretend to be something we are not. We love when we acknowledge our mistakes and take responsibility for any damage that we cause.
Love is when we don't use our education, our money, or our position to take advantage of others no matter who they are. Love does not gossip or ridicule, but at the same time, love seeks to defend those who are being mistreated by others.
Love does not pick and choose who is worthy of love, for love is not about who they are... it's about who we are. Love is cleaning up after ourselves even when we are alone and no one would ever know who made the mess.
Our family and friends are not more worthy of our love than those we have never met. But intimacy comes from shared experience with those we come to know and appreciate. This intimacy celebrates our shared experience of the love we see and recognize in each other.
But, what is that love we see in ourselves and recognize in others? It is who we are... our honor, our courage, our kindness, our integrity, our compassion and understanding.
Love does not give in. Love is not weak. Love does not sell out. Love does not deceive. Love honors and pursues justice and the truth.
Love is the courage to have faith even when we feel lost, face failure, confusion, fear, sadness, uncertainty, joy, vulnerability, weakness, and the truth. Love is patient; it trusts in the honor and decency of our own good intentions and those who have earned our trust. It is the courage to face life and to do the best we can under the circumstances... to fall down and get up again. To quit and then to change our mind and try again. Love is sometimes just letting go, just letting it be.
The truth is, we never fully love anyone until we love everyone. We are all family. To love we have to unlearn those things we came to believe and live by, that were never really true... and keep searching for what is really true. Who we are, how we're being, is what we teach.
Love is failure. We learn from our mistakes, our disappointments. When we try, we risk failure, but we also make success possible. We never really know how life will turn out. Love rests when it is tired, but sometimes it just pushes on even when we are tired.
Love loves freedom. Love seeks wisdom. Love loves in freedom.