Do I understand what love is? I think I’m a thousand lightyears away from actually understanding what love is.
I’ve read about it, thought about it, and dreamed about it hundreds of times. I can think I understand it. But it might be a long time before I can say I understand from experience.
And yet. I understand it so much better than I did even ten years ago.
As a child, I acted repulsed by it, not yet ready for such big emotions to flood a small heart.
As a teenager, I wanted to be ready for it – oh how I longed for the knowledge of more. But at the same time, I was still so inexperienced, so scared of all that I didn’t know.
I put on a brave front, acting like I had it all together – pretending until I got it right.
Remember me? So eager for flirtations that told me I was something special in someone else’s eyes. So eager for hugs with that boy, so eager for his witty banter to be directed my way –
–and so eager to run away when I found out what he really wanted – to make out with me [and did I even know what that meant? Of course not].
As a young adult, I began to explore what the deeper meanings of love were – and began to ache for it like I never thought possible.
No longer was it just the nervous energy of infatuation and high emotions of my teenage self.
No. I began to discover that love is about friendship set on fire.
Love is about compromise in an argument and forgiveness when careless words are spoken.
Love is about finding the person who inspires you – the person who helps you dream.
Love isn’t just about the person who gives you the most attention – it’s about the person who never leaves your side, even through the hardest of times.
Love isn’t just about a few dates and beautiful faces in candlelight.
It’s about finding someone’s soul beautiful and making sure they never forget it for the rest of their lives.
I used to think that love
Was hearts and roses
Chocolate and butterflies
Flirty glances and giggles.
But now I know.
I know because
He’s taught me
What love is.
Love is comfort and security
Because they’re near
And they make you trust them
In the safest of ways.
Love is conversation
You never want to end.
Eager words tumbling
Delight in sharing your dreams.
It’s like coming home –
Or a warm bath –
Or tea on a cold day –
Or a pillow for a tired head.
It’s when they take all your lonely –
Your tired – your busy –
Your fear – your anxiety –
And hush it by being near.
Sometimes you discover all that about love without ever dating anyone – without any formal “experience” – without someone to call your boyfriend.
Sometimes you thought that love was about bells and whistles and a sign in the sky –
When really, it’s just the one with whom you talk like no one else is around – the one you want to make laugh more than anyone else – the one with whom anything is a splendid adventure.
It’s about the one you genuinely get excited about serving, because to see a smile on their face brings you the most joy.
It’s about the one who makes you want to pursue Christ more than anything else because their own godly passion sets the world slightly ablaze.
And I have no doubt that love is a thousand more things that I don’t even know – that those who are years ahead of me in experience would smile and nod and say, “But just wait till you’re here – and you’ll realize you were barely scratching the surface back then.” I could reiterate all their stories and quote all their lines.
I could think I know.
But understanding love just takes years – years of experience, each one of them a new golden addition to what you thought you knew.
And because I know what I do now, there is no going back to the silly flirtations of twelve years ago. There is no playing games and tossing out meaningless signs.
No. Because real love is mature and it doesn’t ask a person to use their heart as bait in an emotional game. Real love cares way too much about the other person to play with their souls – their fragile, beautiful souls worth more than anything else in the world.
So don’t think I’m inexperienced because I haven’t had a boyfriend. My experience might not look like yours. But it’s taught me that real love is worth every lonely moment of waiting. Because when I’ve found it, I will appreciate it one thousand times more than if I had squandered it on restless sprees and quick fills.
There is a lot more to learn about love. But from what I’ve seen, the real thing is beautiful. And it’s worth waiting for, acting upon, sacrificing for, enjoying, and believing in.
It is one of the most beautiful things God has created. And I won’t ever stop believing that, even if it never happens to me.