Websters gives 28 definitions for the word Love. I find that not one of them is to my liking.  For me the word is evolving the older I get.

When I tell my kids I love them, it means I love you as you are, in spite of your horrific table manners and that you don’t pick up after yourself.  I love regardless of how badly you mess up.  I love you because you are an extension of me. I love because you are the best thing I ever did in my life.  I tell my children this about 100 times a day, because I believe when children know they are loved, they have the confidence to conquer the world.

When I tell my friends I love them, it means something different.  It means I love your spirit, because  knowing your spirit has enriched my life and made me a better person.  It means that I love your laughter, and look forward to it everyday. It means that I will always be here for you, and I will always help you anyway I can. I may not be able to move mountains for you, but I’ll help you lace up your boots and push your ass up the mountain. I don’t think I tell my friends enough how much I love them.  I don’t think I tell them enough how lucky I am that they are a part of my life.

When I was young, I thought that when you told a partner (fill in your definition of partner) that you loved them it meant one specific thing.  It meant that I love you for me. It also meant I love you for what I expect you to be. I love you for what I expect that we are going to have together. I love for what I’m going to get out of this relationship, i.e., a home, a family, etc.

That definition no longer works for me.  I cannot love somebody for myself, because that is not love, that is being selfish. If I can say the words I love you, it must be that I love you as you are. Not as I wish you to be,  not because I want to mold you into something that I want you to be, and not because I need you to fulfill some expectation.  I do not love you because you fit a checklist or have more pluses than minuses.

For me it has come to mean that I love you because of your divine spirit. It means that I am open to receive you as  you are, and that I do not want to change you. I accept you as I accept my children, unconditionally.  I love you because in your presence  I am soothed.  It means that I am unashamed to stand before you emotionally naked.  It means that I am willing to be caretaker to your spirit, as you have become the caretaker of mine.  It means that I allow you just to be, while entrusting you with my being.  It means you bring me peace. It means that because of all of these things the union between us is holy.

It also means that words like today, forever, right, wrong, want, and pain have very little meaning, because no matter what happens we are connected by something greater than ourselves. No matter how far we travel from each other, I believe our internal compasses point magnetically north toward each other.

We all say I love you. We all mean it, but I often wonder if you can define it.