• Hannah

Real Love


“What does stupid mean?” My dad asked once when I was in middle school.

“I don’t know. It means something is stupid,” I said. Insert undetectable eye-roll.

Let’s backtrack – my dad has a habit of teaching. All the time. I can’t remember him missing even one opportunity to explain something or expand someone’s understanding about a topic. Not in a condescending way, but just because that is who he is. He wants the people around him to always be learning and growing and thinking.

“First of all, you do know. And stop saying that you don’t. You are a smart girl with created with a brain that works, so even if you really don’t know, you can figure out the answer.”

Yes, Dad. I’ve heard this before.

“You can’t define a word by using the same word. It doesn’t work that way.”

Sigh. I was annoyed because I wanted to be stubborn and live by my own rules. So, I heard him explain what he meant, and I replied with all the right answers to prove I was listening. Then I moved on and forgot about it.

Until recently.

For the past few years, the following phrase has become almost a mantra. It’s been used to pretty much described a huge chunk of society and life, and I’m not sure if that’s a positive thing.

“Love is love.”

Who came up with that? Like, where does it even come from? Does it mean anything? It’s like saying “that’s that,” when ­that obviously isn’t that. I think it’s a phrase that leaves room for discussion. Am I right?

Because you can’t define a word by using the same word. (The stuff you say sticks with me, Dad!)

Some people believe love is a feeling. Others say it’s a decision. Love is also apparently twisted, and it can be something you fall in and out of. It’s also hard to deal with sometimes, but easy to know you have it for someone. These things describe the impact of love, but skirt around the “what” love is.

For the conclusive answer, I go back to the only document I use to define my world view.

It says that love is patient and kind. It’s not jealous or ratchet or narcissistic. Love doesn’t thrive off drama; it flourishes in clarity and truth. I see no references to common infatuations or fleeting emotions either. Seems to me like love is characterized by discipline and self-control.

A happy feeling isn’t love. Blind acceptance isn’t love. A lowered standard isn’t love.

Love isn’t just love.

1 Corinthians 13


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