Love. One word, four letters – and yet somehow the weight of it far exceeds the bounds of its orthography.
Valentine’s Day is the one calendar day a year set aside to celebrate this small and mighty word, but I wonder sometimes if we forget what it means altogether, if somehow the world has clouded our vision of what it truly means to love. And not just our spouses and significant others, our siblings and parents, our friends – but each other.
It’s easy, you see. It’s easy to forget that everyone is living a story, to forget that we all hurt, that no two people’s hurt ever comes out the same. It’s easy to forget that everyone walks around with invisible weights on their hearts that are buried so deeply within their chests that our eyes and minds could never see them.
We are, all of us, just souls… tumbling around this wild and weathered life, hoping to find meaning. And more often than not, we fail. Spectacularly. In a blaze of fiery mishaps or shrewdly-fired words, we fail.
But love is never deserved, it’s not earned – it’s given. Freely and without precondition. To love is to see the worth of another when they themselves cannot, to challenge your heart to a ceasefire, to offer your hand to pull them out from those depths they cannot overcome, even when those depths are of their own making – especially when they are. To love is to give people the grace they could never deserve, simply because we relate to the humanity of their brokenness. Because it’s easy to love people who love you right back, but the mark of true, devastatingly awakening love is that it weighs far more than our pride.
photography: Amanda Lane, Rachel Owens, Hannah Forsberg, & Jenna Powers