Photo: My grandparents as newlyweds in 1938, nesting at the Brazos River, Texas. They were married 69 years until his death.
“Ohh, whatever happened to old fashioned love, the kind that would see you through? The kind of love my Momma and Daddy knew. Yeah, whatever happened to old fashioned love, the kind that would last through the years, through the trials, through the smiles, through the tears. (Bridge) For now the tenderness has been replaced with something less, and it’s hard to find what we left behind…..”
(1983) “Whatever Happened To Old-Fashioned Love?” Recorded By: B.J. Thomas Composer: Lewis J. Anderson
I love the truthful lyrics in the bridge section. “…the tenderness has been replaced with something less…”
There I go again, using the highly overused word, “L-O-V-E” when I didn’t mean it. Oh, sure, I like the lyric, but I can’t say I “love” the lyric…or can I? Come on, you know what I mean. My brain, my emotions, my gut, truly holds the lyric close to my heart. Is that love, or infatuation?
Valentine’s Day can be so cute in so many ways. The little Valentine cards we used to swap out in out elementary school days cause me to chuckle now. Just like the little heart candies, “Be Mine”, “I think you’re cool”, “Here’s a heart for you”, etc. It was all so very innocent, wasn’t it? Then, we grow into our hormone-owned teen years. Yikes! Us guys can truly be a grand example of what love is NOT. You girls seemed to have a better handle on it. Maybe I’m wrong about that. You tell me. It reminds me a bit when I think of the old TV show, “The Love Boat” from 1977-1986. You remember the first couple of lines to the theme song, “Love Boat”. Singer, Jack Jones piped it out:
“Love, exciting and new. Come aboard. We’re expecting you….” (1977) Composers: Charles Fox & Paul Williams.
I think that has been one of the distractions about the definition of love in our culture. Love can be ‘exciting and new’, but usually not. In fact, ask any couple who just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary about “excitement” or “newness”. They will laugh at you. But wait a minute. Isn’t passion, sexual desire, and infatuation exciting and new? My twist would be, yes. Passion, sexual desire, and infatuation can be exciting, especially if it has just redirected your focus in life, a new focus, even if only for a brief amount of time. But….is passion, sexual desire, and infatuation, L-O-V-E? Let’s ask the British rock band, 10cc from 1975…
“I’m not in love, so don’t forget it. It’s just a silly phase I’m goin’ through. And just because I call you up, don’t get me wrong, don’t think you’ve go it made. I’m not in love, no-no…..”
Actually, some of the lyrics in this hit can be downright hurtful, like:
“I keep your picture upon the wall. It hides a nasty stain that’s lying there. So don’t you ask me to give it back. I know you know it doesn’t mean that much to me. I’m not in love, no-no. It’s because…” Composers: Eric Stewart & Graham Gouldman
OUCH! I wonder if he was that honest to her face, or if the song was just therapy written on the road in a cheap hotel?
Valentine’s Day can be a danger for some unsuspecting romantics out there. (I know of what I speak. I can write about this with real-world experience.) Let’s face it, we want to be loved…right? That desire is in the human heart even before birth. Like an empty blender just waiting for the colorful mix of goods to be poured into us. Am I right? Come on, be honest with me.
So, sure. We love dogs. We love cats. We love horses. We love romantic movies. I love that color on you. I love a brilliant, blazing sunset. I love Tex-Mex and Chinese food. Boy, do I love that ’68 Ford Mustang. What kind of L-O-V-E is that?
How ’bout this? You see him/her from the other side of the restaurant, munching on a burger. The view is of a nice looking specimen of humanity. You toss away your slightly tomato-stained napkin and walk briskly straight for him/her. You only have two words in your vocabulary at the moment as you lock eyes on this beautiful person. As you arrive at the table, your mouth opens and out comes the channeling of David Cassidy…“Hi, I think I love you.” He/she chokes on a slice of onion. After the Heimlich Maneuver, he/she is bold enough to ask…“How do you know?” Good question. I guess you could say, “It’s your crystal blue eyes, your matching blue suit, the tattoo of the hammer and sickle over the entire left side of your face. I love everything about you!” Okay, got it. A wise person, with a head on their shoulders, might say you idolize the look of this person. What you don’t know is, he/she is a closet Neo-Nazi, an axe murderer, and someone who leaves their filthy Mini Mouse socks on the floor. So, after he/she reveals these details of “WHO” he/she is, you lower your head with embarrassment, turn and walk slowly back toward your table to rejoin your spouse and five children.
It took me decades to reevaluate using the word, “love”. If you THINK you’re in love because of what the other person can do for you and your life, you should reevaluate. Too often this is the case. Or, you love the “idea” of falling for someone with an Irish accent, or someone from your hometown, or someone with red hair. So, you go on a hunt to find an Irish redhead who just happens to live where you grew up. Careful. That smell is from a dead relationship. Take inventory of your motives and fantasy life.
I’m grateful for the letter “L”. It launches both “Love” and “Like”. If you start to say “love”, and don’t truly mean it, you can easily self-edit as you evolve your pronunciation into “like”. Try it. “I need you to know I really, really LLLLike you.”
Are you confused yet?
Scripture defines love as a verb, not a feeling. Some reveal they didn’t understand love until they had a child added to their lives. Getting into the weeds of original root word languages, you could discover there are different brands of “love”. Yes, we should love our neighbors as ourselves. We should love our families with all that we are. And yes, we should love our enemies. “That’s hard”, says Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump. There’s a picture burned into my mind, from the Desert Storm War in Iraq. It captured the image of U.S. Marines feeding and hydrating Iraqi POW’s in the sands of southern Iraq. What high bar to hurdle.
Jesus labelled the highest, premium degree of authentic love.
““There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.” – Jesus – (John 15:13 (Amarmaic Translation)
Literally, if you cannot agree to die, or be tortured, or to take-on someone’s cancer (if possible) for another person’s well-being, their life, their health, than most likely the highest shelf of the zenith of love is not an active agent in the relationship. Would you give a kidney to an old friend with stage 5 kidney failure? Would you run into a burning complex to rescue a co-worker? I think all various levels of love can be measured starting with the definition given by Jesus, Who loved you enough to do just what He said.
No, I am not willing to be sacrificed for a plate of tacos & egg rolls.
Be careful little mouth what you say. Be careful little hand what you write. If Valentine’s Day causes someone to misread your true heart for them, it isn’t kind. In fact, it would be cruel. Honesty is always best. It might be best to find a stain on the wall as you decide which 8×10 should go there.
One thing is certain, love is the very theme of fuel for the race.
Love ya! Mean it!
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. – Apostle Paul – 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a (Berean Study Bible)