So often, we devote the majority of our time to tending to our physical needs. We ensure that our bodies are nourished, cleansed, dressed, exercised, and rested. We prioritize intellectual stimulation and seek entertainment. Yet, amidst all this, we often overlook the most essential requirement of all – love.
While society certainly emphasizes the pursuit of love, it tends to focus on external factors, such as appearance or actions, that supposedly attract love. However, the desire to be loved is not as profound as our innate longing to love someone else.
Biologically, we are wired to love and care for others. This profound need enables parents to sacrifice sleep, sustenance, and sanity in the process of raising their children. It compels individuals to put themselves at risk to protect others from both natural calamities and human threats. Love is the driving force that fuels human society on both small and large scales.
Loving others means placing their needs and desires before our own. We willingly work harder and longer, even in jobs we detest, to provide for those we hold dear. We endure unbearable conditions to ensure the well-being of our loved ones, whether they are young or old.
Love is about cherishing, treasuring, and holding dear. It is never about causing pain or harm; instead, it seeks to alleviate suffering. Love is not possessive or controlling; it yearns to set others free.
In the words of John Oxenham, "Love ever gives. Forgives, outlives. And ever stands with open hands. And while it lives, it gives. For this are love's prerogatives – to give, and give, and give."
Love serves as the lubricant that keeps the wheel of life turning. When we love, we transcend ourselves, looking beyond our own needs and desires. Love propels us to sacrifice our time, energy, wishes, and sometimes even ourselves. It extends to immediate individuals or groups whom we intimately know and wholeheartedly love, as well as to larger groups of people we may not know or necessarily like. Love empowers law enforcement officers and emergency service personnel to face danger. It emboldens soldiers to risk everything. Love creates heroes every day, in every corner of the world. As Thomas à Kempis put it, "Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength... It is therefore able to undertake all things and completes many things, where he who does not love would faint and lie down."
The true essence of love lies not in feeling good but in doing good. Mother Teresa exemplifies love in action, dedicating herself tirelessly to the service of others. We can witness love in action if we open our eyes. Robert Louis Stevenson aptly stated, "The essence of love is kindness."
Love is of paramount importance because without it, life lacks meaning and purpose. In the words of Frank Tebbets, "A life without love in it is like a heap of ashes upon a deserted hearth, with the fire dead, the laughter stilled, and the light extinguished." Love empowers us to transcend our limitations, enabling us to achieve more and be more than we ever could without its profound influence.