The Power of Love this Valentine's Season
When I was young, we had family-friends unlike any family I had met before. They understood sacrifice, but more than that, they understood love. Their family size varied while we knew them, but I remember one point when they had 17 children living under their roof – all adopted and a part of their forever family. These were children that other families had given up, children the state couldn’t place in any home, children with various health and mental diagnoses, and, essentially, children that had grown up and been labeled unlovable. Their house was small, but somehow they kept adding rooms, changing floor plans, and squeezing in more beds to bring children home. In this family each person had a place.
This Valentine’s Day, I want to spend some time reflecting on love in ways which you perhaps don’t think about every day, and I want to invite you to think about love in new ways with an advocate’s heart. We have all encountered unloving people and been put in unloving situations; we all know what love is not. Love is not harmful. Love is not selfish. Love is not using another human being.
But what is love?
I memorized William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 when I was young, and it was one of the many means by which my earliest concept of love was formed, and the opening lines come to mind often:
Love is steadfast.
I am intrigued by this definition of love because it provides such a powerful image of love not wavering even when it has every reason to waver. When we choose to structure our lives in a way which allows those around us to be loved, we have to commit to the journey – and this journey takes on many forms. For the family I mentioned, love was a way of life and being inconvenienced and crowded. But their greatest expression of love was to bring in a large number of children to their very small home. And it was powerful.
Love will often be an inconvenience. I am drawn to the stories of those who have chosen to give up their space, because it is a physical reminder to me that how we use our space can show those around us how we love. How am I using my home, my yard, my car, or the extra spot at my table in a crowded restaurant? Who am I supporting as I fill, decorate, and beautify my spaces, and how do my choices reflect the love I want to have for others? How am I being inconvenienced so another can feel safe, free, or wanted?
Love is thoughtful.
As an advocate with Dressember, our space transfers to our bodies in December. When we choose to wear dresses or ties for 31 days, we are choosing to change our habits out of love and move forward with intention. We connect in person and through social media to campaign, and I find that social media and the internet are powerful forces because they allow us to see so much of the world to which we would otherwise be ignorant. Through these mediums I get to witness my favorite form of love: the fact that love is not silent. The smallest stories to the largest breaking news give us powerful examples of humans choosing love over hurt. Although an act of selfless love may not take you to a court room or change the course of your existence, I would argue that love is never silent: love chooses to be a voice.
Love is engaging in “Petal it Forward Day, when countless flowers – a simple expression - are given away simply to show someone that they are seen and appreciated.
Love are the men who chose to step into a situation which shocked the nation, and refused silence as a response to seeing another human in danger.
Love is seeing a child and offering her a future, like the police officer in Vancouver who walked away from a call with a new family member.
These are just a few. Search the internet. Read the newspaper. Build relationships with those around you: your heart will be filled with the steadfast, thoughtful, vocal power of love in the world around you, and I would encourage you to find ways to be a part of that love this season. It will change your circles, and it will ultimately change you.
Small Run, Big Impact.
Join us on April 13th for our second annual 'You Can Do Anything in a Dress (or Tie)' 5k. Run in our Los Angeles 5k/Yoga event or run virtually in your own city! Set up your free campaign page and purchase tickets for the LA event today!
About the Author
Myra Grady is honored to be using her love of writing as she joins Dressember in their fight against human trafficking. She is pursuing an English degree through Thomas Edison State University and currently enjoys her days as a preschool teacher. Outside of work, Myra can often be found exploring St. Louis with her husband, watching The Office reruns, eating far too much ice cream, and learning how to knit.