We celebrate Valentine’s Day in our family each year with a special breakfast.
I’m going to come clean and admit that my wife does all the heavy lifting on this, but it’s become somewhat of a tradition. Everyone gets a card and a gift. Just something small – a notebook, some love hearts. But something to make everyone feel loved and appreciated.
I’ve never been big into Valentine’s Day, and I remember as an early teen feeling hugely awkward about it. It was a day that brought a sense of loneliness, or even shame. Finding out that the card through the door was just a joke. Or that everyone else got something but you.
I don’t want my kids to grow up with such a narrow view of what love is. Or that it is an area of shame or failure.
Because love comes in so many forms, shapes and sizes.
The ancient Greeks knew this – and have several different words for love. We have similar words that come close:
- Empathy (storge) – the love of a parent to a child or affection for people that we have formed a close bond with.
- Friendship (philia) – the love between close friends that can become like a family bond.
- Romantic love (eros) – not simply sexual desire, but the love and commitment to one person.
- Unconditional love (agape) – selfless love, that exists no matter what the circumstances.
Agape is sometimes translated at the word Charity. It is a love that gives. A love that costs.
I am reminded of these famous words:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Isn’t that what the true spirit of legacy giving is? That when your life comes to an end, you are thinking of others, of what you can pass on, protect or provide for someone else?
The greatest expression of what love truly means.