An Ode To Love

I’ve been thinking about love a lot.

A professor once said that the most universal stories are the most specific stories, and I believe that’s true for love too. Love is universal, yet love is specifically different for each person, both in the experiences of receiving and giving love.

Love isn’t just about romance. I hear love, or the absence of it, in every song. I see love when a baby daughter reaches up for her father, and he stops everything he does just to swoop her into his arms and kiss her on the cheek. I experience love when I assist my mother as she patiently bathes her elderly mother, reminding me of how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.

So in the spirit of celebrating the infinity that is love, here’s an ode I’ll never be able finish – an ode to the moments of love I had the absolute honour of being in. 

“When I was in love I hardly thought of myself; I thought of her and how beautiful she looked and whether or not she was cold and how I could make her laugh. It was wonderful because I forgot my problems.”

Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller

Love keeps telling me to eat more, and eat less, and wear more sunscreen. Love is freshly cut fruits in the morning, before meals and whenever we least expect it. Love is the one time I broke down in high school, called you in tears, and you brought me home immediately, no questions asked until I offered the answer in my own time.

Love is when I got sunburnt, yet you still held me face in your hands like I was a child again, and called me cute and healthy-looking. Love is all the redeye flights so you could spend weekends and dinners with your family. Love is the long walks we shared when I was a kid that I no longer remember but understand its lingering presence in my adulthood.

Love is having the deepest conversations over Snapchat. Love believes in my wisdom, even though love is always smarter that I am. Love answered an altar call boldly in front of my eyes, just like Samuel did when he heard the Lord’s voice at the age of 8.

Love shared a room with me growing up, and giggled with me throughout the nights. Love is in the card you wrote for me when I graduated that I keep in my journal wherever I travel. Love is that moment on my last day in the same city as you, when you were clearing the kitchen and I was folding clothes, and you randomly asked me out of nowhere why I liked him.

Love overcame distance and built a family. Love knew that love was worth pursuing because it felt right, because it was love.

“You know what it is about someone that makes them a friend? A friend doesn’t just say things; a friend does.”

Love Does, Bob Goff

Love happens after an intense rivalry when we were 3 years old. Love is in the longest email updates and coffee dates that last even longer. Love tells me you trust me, even when I don’t.

Love started when we were randomly assigned to sit next to each other when we were 8. Love persevered through watching the same TV shows in real-time in different countries. And even after the TV shows ended, and life continued to hurl its curveballs of heartache and loss, Love is when you walked out of class, no questions asked (not even to your professor for permission), and called me as soon as I asked.

Love remembers what my ‘dream career’ was at the age of 13. Love is texting for hours over WhatsApp, when we could’ve called each other and saved our thumbs from arthritis. Love is in the game plans we dream, in the dreams we make happen.

Love is in the mishaps of freshman year roommates, bookmark notes found months later after they were written, and screenshots of conversations and ugly selfies. Love overcomes ugliest fights that we openly laugh and talk about. Love bonds the most unlikely of sisters.

Love opened me up to opening up about my imperfections. Love embraced me not as the labels I identify with, but as who I am.

“The goal is not to love people and build relationships so that they can produce more. That’s called networking, and most networkers are universally loathed.”

Own The Moment, Carl Lentz

Love arranges all our parents to meet each other, to secure our love beyond ourselves. Love is in the sleepover conversations when the lights are out. Love sustained us throughout time zones, life seasons and different boys.

Love messages me randomly to ask how I’m doing. Love calls me hoping I’m free enough for talk for hours. Love calls me back when I’m not.

Love is girls night with wine, or without, because doesn’t really matter as long as it’s just us girls. Love is also boardgame night with the guys and deep conversations after. Love is fried chicken with anyone.

Love is telling me how you got really angry at me when I opened up about my mistakes, but forgave me as you learnt to let me make my own mistakes, and only sharing with me all of the above after you processed all of your emotions because you didn’t want to hurt me.

Love is in the heartfelt see-you-later cards. 

Love is happy for me because I didn’t want to deal with the sadness of the moment, so you shelved your feelings aside for me.

Love is in the prayers I never hear but I know were said for me.

Love was shared across the grasslands of Inner Mongolia as we stared into the endless constellation of stars.

Love is in the small sentence you said after we spent a whole weekend together on set, where you told me you once were terrified of my Christianity, but was honoured to experience a glimpse of Jesus’ love.

Love pursues recklessly and without fear. Love gives, and gives, without expectation.

“I turned to God thinking he was a fool for wanting me. Which, of course, is the nature of love, isn’t it?”

Soul Cravings, Erwin McManus

Love perhaps was in the moonlit nights on that park bench. Love maybe was there because you said maybe it was. For a moment, love probably was.

Love followed me to church, with your hand holding mine and my head on your shoulder before the service begun. Love knows how to make me laugh, when even my sister can’t. Love listens to me, and is comfortable with my silence. Love stayed with me to keep me awake for hours before conference calls at ungodly hours, and stays on despite the hurt and distance. Love is a sunset over Santa Monica, or Six Flags. 

Love, above all love, is the moment in San Francisco after a new year had just begun where You told me that You could make beauty out of chaos, including the chaos that is me and in me. Love makes me beautiful, audacious and kind because I was fearfully and wonderfully made by Love to be.

Love created creation, even when You knew we would betray You. Love lived, and died, and lives for me and you. Love is found in relationships – especially in the relationship with Jesus, Love itself.

Love is the most reasonable explanation. Love is irrational.

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