Four letter words. Admit it. You like them just as much as the next person. I can’t think of one person I know who hasn’t dropped a four letter word in frustration, fright or anger. As socially unacceptable as it is nothing says it better than a big, fat, four letter word. Those raw, gritty F bombs, sh*ts and worse are honest expressions of how you are feeling at a given moment in time. Whilst I am trying to tone down my use of them, I accept these words far more readily than the offhanded usage of the word ‘love’. I challenge you sit and have a cup of tea in a café and listen to people chat. You will hear them saying things like ‘I love those shoes’ or ‘I love what she’s done with her hair’, ‘love the new car’. Please. You don’t love it. Do you know what love is? If you were to ask a father or mother they would tell you they know. Teenagers experiencing their first romance would understand the concept as would young children with their very favourite toy. The elderly reminiscing about days past as watery eyes glide over black and white images perhaps understand best of all. It’s indefinable, different, yet the same for every person. Still, we persist with loving the secular rather than that which humanises us. What is it about love that makes us so human then? It’s called falling in love for a reason. When you fall you risk getting hurt. Falling is quick. I should know, I do it often enough. You may skin a knee, break a bone and dent your pride. More often than not you’re left with a few scars that fade with time. It’s all just cosmetic. When you fall in love the risk of being hurt multiplies exponentially. Your heart can break and your self-worth is damaged, but scars; oh my, the scars. The red, raw scars on the heart that tear open and bleed at the most unexpected moments for the silliest of reasons. These are not cosmetic and they will never really heal or fade. Like the part of one’s soul not given to a lover, they will continue to weep. Many of us have souls that weep softly for those we have loved and lost. Occasionally there is a need to quieten it with chocolate, shopping or alcohol. There are times where the memories take up residence for extended periods of time and details become clear again. Try as you might you fall all over again and are left bereft on the ground once more. No one tells you this will happen and it is common to be accused of being obsessive. Be honest with yourself. Who of you doesn’t remember something of their first love with fondness? I once vowed never to speak of my first love again, but, as time progresses my memories of him become clearer rather than vaguer. Is it because he lives in my mind against my will despite all attempts to banish him? I know I had these experiences as a teenager, then again, we possibly all did. Looking back, the possibility that we would rather gouge our eyes out than look upon our teenage crushes is a distinct likelihood for many of us. (My first love did not fall into the gouging category. I just want to clear that up.) As heart breaking, soul-destroying and down-right mortifying as these crushes where at the time we moved past them. Of course some of the school romances married, but these are the minority or the beautiful people as I liked to call them. You may ask what made my first love so special to me that I can’t forget him. He knew me better than I knew myself. At 15 I didn’t know the woman I would grow into and upon meeting me nor did he. He was 19 and within three hours of meeting he knew the woman I would become. To this day I don’t know how he did it. I was attracted to him immediately. He wrote stanzas of poetry before I developed a love of the cadence of Tennyson’s words. His intelligence intrigued me as he retold his adventures at sea. The romance of his written word was subtle yet spoke volumes. He remains an enigma to me. The mystery that I still yearn to solve, yet, remains elusive. Do you understand love now? Such a complex emotion yet the word is bounced around like a ball on a daily basis. It’s not about shoes, cars, hairstyles or computer games. Love is indefinable. Honestly, I still don’t understand it myself as there are so many types of love. Why do we not revere this word ‘love’? Is it because we truly cannot understand it? Is it because it is something different to each person? If you were asked to describe what love was could you do it? Why do we fall in love only to fall out of love? Can we love two people passionately at the same time? Can we love at first sight or does it take years of getting to know each other? Until that time I will look at love in my own way. When I consider the loss of a living thing and the impact it will have on my heart and soul I will know how much I love it. I have never forgotten my first love at 15 and I still have days when I cry for him. That is love. I cry over the loss of my father, mother and brother. That is love. To lose my children, God forbid – the greatest tragedy and my greatest loves. My love is measured by the impact on my heart and soul; on the tears I weep and the warmth of the memories I hold close. Material possessions can be replaced, people cannot. Each is unique and once lost is gone, at least from this lifetime. Show your love today. Think about the ones your heart and soul would weep for if you were to lose them. If you have never said the words before it’s never too late to say them now. ‘I love you’ are the most powerful words you can offer and with it you can give a little of your soul to those you want to stay with you forever. God seems to offer part of the answer about love, for me anyway in this quote from St Augustine “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” With some love from me to you to brighten your day and lighten your heart.