Love is a word that has been used and abused, twisted and beaten, broken, and shattered by millions and yet it lives on. Its an old fashioned word, an old concept and still fiercely sought after. Chased after.

Old man Webster defines love: As an intense feeling of deep affection, a great interest, and pleasure in something, a deep tenderness, and concern for a person with whom one has a relationship.

The world is powered by love and money. Money being the lesser important of the two. If you have money, you can afford to buy anything and everything you want. As long as your money holds out you will have all your hearts desire. Except you cannot buy your health, your happiness or one more day of your life back when you are nearing the end. Without money, you would not be able to obtain the essentials for survival. Food, shelter, etc.

Alas, love is something we all look at differently. Some would claim it makes the world keep turning, some would claim, it is fake, and only used for personal or professional gain. My view is neither of these.

Love is something we all search for, from the cradle to the grave. We start believing in it, from the time we are small children whether we are listening to the same old typical fairy tales, or we are being held, nutured, or loved . It will be one of the first emotions we pick up on as children. Some will receive comfort and warmth from a very early age, and some children will never know those feelings.

Love gives us strength, and peace, and hope for tomorrow. It can help us overcome fear, and it boosts our self esteem, and for just a few moments in time we may believe that someone is truly going to love us. Finally.

Love us, as we are, with our shortcomings and all. We dare to hope that there will be someone that will stand the test of time and love with such an open hand that we are free to be ourselves, free to come and go when we need to and they will still be there at the end of the day. They will be our biggest fan, and always have our backs at the end of the day. Their love is not conditional or the choking, controlling kind. Its just real and gentle.

Life doesn’t work that way. Love doesn’t work that way. Love is hard work! It is not transactional. You don’t give it to get something back. You cannot measure how much a person puts into love, and you cannot measure how much love a person gets back from it. Sadly, that’s exactly what we humans do. We don’t want to admit it, but most everyone is looking for a return on their invested time. They watch to see if all their words and actions paid off. This turns people into projects, and breaks hearts. The only return on love is LOVE itself. We shouldn’t have to know how our love made a difference. We should just give it away freely, scattering it like flower petals in the wind.

Love never really dies. It stays with us, deep in our hearts, it plays over and over in our minds and leaves a beautiful fragrance behind. Even if it didn’t work out, you have to be grateful for the time you shared, the opportunity to grow and learn to do perhaps get it right next time.

I have never learned the subtle art of loving anyone or anything from afar. I have a tendency to jump in with both feet, and only when I am neck-deep in cold murky water do I finally stop for a moment and wonder if I should have just waded in gently from the shoreline or perhaps, dangled my toes from the dock. I don’t do that.

Has there been pain in my life because of my hastiness? Absolutely!

Did I learn that lesson the first time around? Of course not!

I tend to have to learn things the hard, the difficult way. However, I do learn the lesson eventually. I may look a little rougher on the outside, because of my choices, and scares, my voice may have a tougher edge to it, my skin may be a bit thicker, and I may doubt people, and their actions, a bit longer than necessary before I finally soften and allow them into my closely guarded world.

Once you have broken my heart, a bridge has been burnt, that will take years to rebuild. I will show up, with a hammer, nails and smile on my face, and work day and night on that NEW BRIDGE. On the inside, however, I am still wading through the ashes of the pain. That will take years to blow away. Long after I have helped rebuild the bridge I am walking on.

I will not ever say that I am sorry I loved someone. Because if I loved them, it was with my whole heart. The endings may not have turned out the way my heart had written it, or imagined it, but it was part of the journey. Part of my journey. Everything, happens for a reason. Everything serves a purpose. It is up to us to CHOOSE if we want to take in the learning this time around or wait for the next bone crushing event. We will have to endure the process regardless.

I have loved folks, that loved me back. One man, in particular loved me like they say JESUS loves us. It would be a travesty for me to have the gall to ask the Lord above for one more favor, as He brought into my life, the sweetest, kindest, most humble human I have ever met. I have loved people, who were like fair weather friends, and when the storms of life broke through my horizon, they disappeared. I’ve held the hands of more senior saints that I loved clear down to the very depths of my soul as they left this earth, and I am thankful for them. I am a better person today because of their wise words and stories of their lives that they shared with me.

I have loved some people, jumped through every golden hoop they held up, only to never measure up to what they wanted or were looking for. Some have “temporary holdings”, they love you for the moment they need you but never really accept you or take you into their hearts. Sort of a “When i need you I like you, and otherwise stay away”. That can be a brutal kind of love .

I believe that people who gather love throughout their lives become kinder, more gracious and understanding, more hospitable, and full of life and laughter and whimsy. The more love we gather, the more the heavy loads of our journeys are lightened. And, One perfectly timed touch to your shoulder, when you least expect it, will give you strength to keep going, to continue wading through that muddy puddle of pain.

The people we become are cultivated by the small, every day choices we make, and the happening that befalls us. CHOOSE…to Plant love, plant grace, plant forgiveness and mirth. Smile your way through your next broken heart.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, over and over and over until you stop counting the loss. Life was meant to be LIVED, to ENJOY, not to walk around broken and crying, lonley or sad. Dont waste another minute of your life that you cannot get back moaning a hurt you haven’t been able to swallow yet.

CHOOSE Love every time! Let someone love you, let them see you, all sides of you….and if they walk away, bid them grace and calmness, and release them. For they did not look past themselves to see you the way real love see you. Trust that the GREAT FARMER in the sky, is watching this “plowing up time,” in your life, and soon, there will be a leveling, a planting of seeds, that will provide you with a bountiful, BEAUTIFUL harvest, like you have never imagined.

CHOOSE LIFE. CHOOSE TO ENJOY THE SUNSHINE, not the shadows. ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF THIS DAY, BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY DAY YOU HAVE BEEN PROMISED. SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU WOKE UP THIS MORNING. There is more beauty and life and love just beyond the horizon. Prepare yourself, SCHOOL yourself to make the most of every day.