Right now you are one choice away from a new beginning – one that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be. Oprah Winfrey

Will you take a journey with me? A journey to make “LOVE” a daily way of life? I first wrote about this journey in my February 27, 2009 post on this blog. My sister organization, iask, Inc. is reading the book “Love as a way of life” by Dr. Gary Chapman this year as a group. We choose the book, because the feedback that we are consistently receiving from members tells us that “love” is what is missing from the lives of a great many people, who otherwise look and live out seemingly productive lives.

Why people have asked, are you so taken with the notion of “LOVE” Sophia and how can “LOVE” possibly be lived as a way of life. Isn’t love after all for lovers? Isn’t love a simple emotion that can and does run hot and cold?

Aaah, therein lies the crux of the question before us. We take LOVE and we put it in a small box reserved for lovers and we tie it to the great passions of life. In so doing, we rob ourselves and those around us from the very essence of what “LOVE” truly is. Whether you are a Christian and believe in the ultimate form of love (GOD) or if you are someone searching for another divine definition of love, we can all agree on this one thing: Love is the greatest of joys ever known to man and it is at the very core of our foundations as human beings.

This may sound corny, but I am convinced that all that is wrong with the world and all that ails us as human beings is rooted in the lack of love. The Bible says, “The power of life and death are in our words”. Think about that for a moment. Think back to the times in your life when you were most hurt, wounded or forlorn? I guarantee you that someone that you loved, caused this pain. It’s ironic isn’t it that the very person or thing we love the most can hurt us the deepest. As the old song says there is a “thin line” between love and hate. The need to love and to be loved is among the most base needs of a human being. If we are denied this powerful emotion, this powerful need, we most assuredly will wither and become a shell of what we are truly capable of becoming.

As I have been reflecting on my own life, that of those around me, and the modern culture in which I live I continually see the emptiness and want of people who long for love in their lives. People who have been demolished by neglectful or abusive parents, favored siblings, sexual abuse as children, or bad interpersonal relationships that leave them scarred for life.

All of us want and need deep and meaningful love relationships that last a lifetime. We seek warmth and tenderness beyond sexual passions. We seek understanding and the nourishment of our soul. We all want romantic love that is not just based on hot passions that cool in the dawn of the day, but love that will care for us when we are ill or in trouble. We all want to believe in “for better and worse”.  We want friends who are loyal or who stick closer than a brother as the Proverb says. We all want people to treat us well, and to forgive us when we make mistakes or injure them. In short, we all want love displayed to us in our daily lives.

Yet we live in a culture that shuns commitment, and celebrates the power of SELF.

With all due respect, has anyone taken a long hard look at the stock-market lately? That is SELF in action (Madoff, AIG, etc.). I think my friend Michelle said it best at our retreat on Saturday (she is about to turn 40) and she was saying that she found herself being worried that she did not have a big 401K or a lot of money put away for retirement. Then she said thatg she realized that many people who had saved, invested, and spent much of their lives building wealth and neglecting their families, their children, their health, etc. now were in the same boat as her financially. Yet, she had love in her life. She had focused on the things that matter–she had focused on love.

Her insightful comments made us all pause and let out a collective “Deep”.

In the final analysis, we were made to love. And I for one, want to find my way back to that spirit I had as a child and as a younger woman (the one that shows up a lot more often as of late); the spirit of kindess, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity and honesty. Those virtues are what Dr. Chapman says we all require and need in our lives in order for us to LOVE daily. We need to practice these seven (7) virtues with everyone we meet, at our jobs, in our faith walk, in our interpersonal relationships, and mostly in our relationship with ourselves.

If I have not love, I am nothing