Monday, May 23, 2011

A Colossal Failure—Love is meant to Be Shared

I put myself through a week-long experiment and I failed miserably. I’m 100% okay with proclaiming that failure. I tried to go one week without saying or writing the word love. Not writing it was easier than not saying it. I’m pretty sure I uttered it more than usual to my family members or I became more cognizant of how often I said it.

I found ways to creatively express how I felt as well, but I stumbled to find a more suitable word in some scenarios. Sometimes love suits the occasion best. Sometimes love is the best word. Even in and with the small things.

Last Monday, several of you commented about how other cultures have different words for love. I thought of the Greek words phileo and agape and how they represent two unique kinds of love.

I also appreciated the thoughts Amy Sonnichsen’s comment stirred:

“I do think it's unfortunate that our English language only has one word for so many different kinds of love. When we lived in China, people would laugh at me if I said in Chinese, "I love living in China!" because they didn't use the word "love" for that emotion. I liked having lots of different words for it -- it made expressing the love we have for people feel much more protected. :)”

Protected…that was the word that stuck with me.

Author, Susan Meissner asked a phenomenal question for the online writing community, TWV2 recently. She asked us to consider what we’d share with graduates if we were giving a commencement speech.

Here's what I would share:

1. Take creative risks.

2. Acquire a thirst for learning.

3. How you treat people in any career you pursue will either add to or subtract from your character.
And after this week of attempting to abstain from the “L” word I’d add a fourth message.
4. Love and love well.

Conclusion: I think it’s far better to overuse the word than to use it too sparingly, to be generous with how often we express love than stubbornly being a miser with it.

Some quotes about love that I love:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." C.S. Lewis

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." Mother Teresa

"Where there is love there is life." Mahatma Gandhi

Continue the conversation…what say you about love this week (ah, it feels so good to write that word!)?

*photos by flickr


  1. Hi Wendy -

    Your post reminded me of the scripture in I Corinth. 13 that without love we are nothing. We can understand all manner of mysteries, but without this element it adds up to zero.

    God places a high value on love. He even describes it as His character.

    Thanks for bringing this subject up.

    Susan :)

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Love and love well indeed. ^_^ And the quotes were fantastic.

    (Ha! Oddly enough, the word verification I'm having to type right now is "Bible." *feels a strange sense of irony*)

  3. I agree, I don't think it can ever be said or overused enough. :-)
    It's so funny that first CS Lewis quote is what I wrote at the top of my outline for the book I'm writing now. I have a heroine is afraid to love and be vulnerable. Kind of sad, really.

  4. Wendy, somehow I knew you'd have trouble with the challenge you'd presented yourself because you exude love, which is one of many things I love about you. Feel the love, my friend, because I'm sending you a heartfelt bouquet of it today. =)

  5. I'm glad you came to your senses. ;) I heart you.

  6. I was really curious what would come out of your experiment, and I'm glad this was your conclusion. :) LOVE that quote by Mother Teresa. Amazing...

  7. I love this post. And I LOVE you. Your message last night brought a huge smile to my face (they always do). I can't wait to see you again woman!

  8. I guess in today's culture at times it even gets overused because we do not have more than one word for it. Does a 13 year old really love her "boyfriend" at that point in their lives? Do we "love" all things equal? Good thoughts to ponder. :O)

  9. I LOVE this. The whole experiment is totally thought-provoking and I think your conclusion is uplifting and dead on!

    :) Your blog makes me happy.

  10. Wendy,
    I can't believe you quoted me. *blush* This must be my fifteen minutes up fame -- up there with Mother Teresa and C.S. Lewis. :)

    No, but seriously, I think you came to a marvelous conclusion. Your new challenge is to tell ten people how much you love them today. ;)

    Have a great one!

  11. Wendy, I'm glad you couldn't NOT say love. Your points are so very true. Great post!

  12. Beautiful post, Wendy! Love is my favorite word--although I do wish we had more words to express it in english. :) I definitely agree that it's better to overuse the word love, in words and actions, than to hoard it. :D *hugs*

  13. Oh, you used some of my favorite quotes. I LOVE them. I agree that it's better to overuse the word than to hold it back.

    Love your posts. There, I said it. :)

  14. Susan, You know, it annoys me that I feel almost tired of that verse b/c I hear it at weddings often and yet it is so rich. And I crave that most about God...His love nature.

    Laura, I think it's a learned thing to love well. Years ago I might have thought I loved certain people well. I hope I've grown and matured with how I show my love.

    Jennifer, Sounds like a relatable character trait...I've known many people like that. Sadly.

    Keli, Every time I log on to your blog I sense the aroma of God's love. Every. Single. Time. Your cards and uplifting notes have the same effect.

    Tana, Heart you back and I think I was attempting to be creative and it bit me in the back side.

    Sarah, I was thinking about Mother T. yesterday, actually about how many people are out there living in such abandon and surrender...such sacrifice and their words won't be quoted and their picture won't be taken. She was quite a woman!

    Katie, We are going to have a blast! I'm grateful for you. Don't you ever forget it.

    Diane, I was probably that intense 13 yo loving before my time.

    Courtney, I feel the exact same way about your blog. Whenever I'm done reading your words I know I'm going away with something to ponder or smile about. This is good, good stuff.

    Amy, That's a rockin' challenge and I've always found your comments to be insightful. You seem like someone I'd love to talk with for hours.

    Karen, I'm such a stinker. I blew my own experiment w/in the first 24 hours. Sheesh. ;0

    Danyelle, Your post was cool today! I overuse it, of that I'm sure. Might not work to change that one. *hugs* to you.

    Mel, I hope you're going to ACFW. I think a little birdie told me you were. I'd love to spend more time talking with you there this time.

    Thanks for offering your thoughts on love. My thoughts are on the midwest and the aftershock of lessons I'm learning from our Becoming a Good Samaritan Bible study.

    Really my thoughts are all over the map, but that's nothing new. ;)

    ~ Wendy

  15. What very grand success in your failure, Wendy.

    Have I told you recently that I love you? ♥


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