Love is the most fundamental part of our existence. Love is complex and multifaceted, yet so simple and easy at the same time. It is the beginning, the end, and the center all at once. It is the reason why some have gone to war and the reason why others have ended them. It is the melody, the notes, and the words to a song. It is the silence and noise in a moment of bliss. The sunshine after the rain. The warm embrace on a cold winter morning. And I could go on and on, but I believe you get the picture.
If someone would ask for my definition of love, my answer would be "Love is." Because love is exactly that - it just is, without labels or tags. My husband is a great example. The reason why I love him? I could say because he's funny and sweet. But what about the moments he doesn't make me laugh or doesn't say sweet things? The moments he disappoints me, makes me angry or even sad? Do I love him less in those moments? It may seem as if that's the case, but in reality I don't love him less - I still love him equally. Why? Because love is. With all the highs and lows, happy and sad times, fights and reconciliations, our love for each other continually grows because we have understood that "love is". Not love that only exists when things are good but is ever present, even when they are not. Love that goes beyond traveling, eating out or having fun times together. Love that is more than a snapshot of two people smiling into a camera or holding hands when they walk down the street. Love that is not defined by the opinions of others and not deterred by the "Oh, they seem so in love" or the "Wow, I don't even understand how they fit together".
I never really understood the difference of labels like "I love you" vs. "I'm in love with you." Because love is. No time for labeling or categorization. Once you understand and experience real love, the times of mapping out the different stages would simply vanish. Love is with all its ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments, times of turmoil and peace. In fact, it is the most beautiful and challenging gift ever received.
If you want to learn about true and unconditional love, God is the best source. Why does God love us? Because we make him laugh or because we're always at our best behavior? Not really. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails..." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
Don't be afraid to love, regardless of the disappointments or pain you may have encountered. Keep loving others because love is the most precious possession you'll ever have.