Love. This word, these four simple letters, have been thrown at us since before we were born. We get used to hearing, “I love you,” from parents, family members, and friends and replying in kind. As we get older, we dream of a passionate love, the kind Nicolas Sparks would write about in one of his oh so addicting novels. We want to be swept off our feet and you can bet Hallmark plays this up to make a buck. This word is literally everywhere, whether it’s talking about the kind of love mentioned above or love of yourself, it’s hard to walk into a store without seeing the word placed decoratively somewhere. And why not? As one of my childhood favorites Aquamarine would inform you, “Love is the closest thing we have to magic.” Maybe that’s why people so desperately cling to the idea of love, because if someone doesn’t love you, what importance do you really have?
Okay I know that took a depressing turn, but bear with me for just a little bit longer. I was recently scanning the aisles of Half-Price Books, one of my favorite ways to pass time as long as I have my Starbucks, leggings, oversized sweater, and all other Basic White Girl attire intact. As I sipped my Vanilla Macchiato, I wondered aimlessly over to the religion section. My normal area being fiction, I was surprised to find a small section devoted specifically to Catholicism. I quickly scanned the books and picked out a few that visually caught my eye. Well for anyone who knows me, I have a hard time picking out food to order off a menu so picking out a book takes me all day. An hour later, while I’m placing the discarded books away I came across a battered copy of No Greater Love which is a compiled set of Mother Teresa teachings. She’s my role model so all other books went back to the shelf and I practically skipped up to the front as I bought the book. I made myself read only a section a day, allowing myself to truly take in what she was saying, and I’d like to share with you what I learned.
This is the love we see in children. Jesus told Nicodemus to, “Become as a little child.” That doesn’t mean to grab your blanket and throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way. This means to give love freely and to pray honestly with “an earnest desire to love much and to make loved the one that is not loved.” YOU GUYS WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE SOMEONE FEEL LOVED. This is like the worlds coolest superpower that God gave to each and every one of us. Even cooler is the fact that it doesn’t take a grand gesture to show somebody that they are loved, it is the intensity of the love we put into our gesture. That means that if you honestly mean the smile that you give to the stranger in the street, it means more than the Christmas gift you spent $49.95 on due to a feeling of obligation. To Mother Teresa that smile was more than just a way to spread the love, it was a way to change the world.
One of Mother Teresa’s main themes was that love begins at home. Since we are all either on break or have recently returned back to campus dwelling spaces, I’m sure we have a good picture of what life at home is like. For me, home is a combination of loud voices, high emotions, hectic schedules, but more than anything love. My beautiful sister reminded us of that tonight at dinner when we were all light heartedly teasing my brother and she said, “Okay listen guys, I just want you to know that I love you always.” The teasing instantly stopped as all seven of us recited that we love her too. Naturally, we tried to beat each other out with the amount of love, but our cup overflows with love for each other regardless. After we have taken the time to love each other at home, our love then easily pours out to our neighbors. Thereafter the lovebug takes like a virus and spreads.
To end the blog, I feel obliged to inform you that true love is not an easy love. A famous quote from Mother Teresa is, “I have found a great paradox that if you love until it hurts there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Love is sacrifice, it is putting someone else’s needs before your own. Love is humbling yourself to know that in order for someone to open up to you, you have to first be willing to open up to them and you have to be willing to see the world from their point of view. God made each and every one of us in His hand and with unconditional love. God unconditionally loves you. He wants the same from you, and the best way to show God that love, is by showing each individual the same love. So you probably want an answer to my original question, if someone doesn’t love you, what importance do you really have? Well the question itself is illogical because God loves you. He says, “I have called you by name and you are mine.” You are important and you have the power to make someone else feel that way as well.
Sara Bushland is a Sophomore at Stephen F. Austin State University. She is studying Rehabilitation Services with a Specialization in Orientation and Mobility, largely inspired by her youngest sister. Sara is fearless when it comes to grabbing people's attention on campus, enjoys making people laugh with her, and is pretty fond of #authenticrelationships. Feel free to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org!