Today is St. Valentine’s Day; an occasion which, for many, has become about showing our love for those we hold closest to us. On this Sunday, though, I wanted to take a moment to consider what that word ‘love’ actually means and why, I think, it’s just as important now – perhaps more important – than it has ever been.
Often if we’re asked, “Do you love so-and-so?” That question can be intended to mean, are you attracted to that person? Or, is that person someone who you would like to have an intimate relationship with. That, though, is merely one sort of love. And, to me, a very superficial, not very ‘true’ love.
So let us consider what else we may mean by ‘love’. There is the love that one feels for one’s family. Like many of us, I may not have always seen eye-to-eye with my parents, and certainly not with my younger brother, but do I love them? Of course I do, from the bottom of my heart. Yet this is a very different variety of love. Much deeper, much truer. An unbreakable love, that will always remain, no matter what trials and tribulations might be sent to test it.
For me, though, there is one more type of love that I rank as even more important than that which I hold for those close to me. Although I am an atheist, it is what I would call ‘Christian’ love, or a love for the world and everyone in it. I really want to take a moment to emphasise that, a love for everyone, unconditionally and openly.
Love, to me, is about something fundamental to the way a choose to live my life. It’s about treating others fairly. It’s about making sure that everyone has a fair chance in life. It’s about me, doing my bit – however big or small – to help those less fortunate than myself. It’s about behaving towards others as I would want them to behave towards me.
That final point is the big one. It’s about behaving towards others as I would want them to behave towards me. It doesn’t matter to me where someone is from, who they are, what their background is; we all live on this one delicate little globe. If we all treated each other with kindness, with respect… with love; just imagine. Just imagine, how that would be.
All the way back in 2009, and writing that really does make me feel old by the way, Starbucks and the (red) initiative, got together to make this video using The Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love”. It’s not rocket science, and it’s incredibly cheesy, but I do like to end with a song. And after all, if a company that makes coffee for a living can get people from 156 countries together to achieve this, then what could real people achieve if they really, really tried?