February is the month of love for Americans. February 14th is the day that more roses, chocolate, and cards are sold compared to any other day. Everywhere you turn, you see pink and red hearts, and the infamous chubby cupid baby looking to shoot a person with a love arrow to cause them to fall helplessly in love with the next person they meet.
Countries around the world celebrate the idea of love. France, home to the town of Valentine, celebrates with the exchange of Valentine cards. South Korea celebrates the day of love on the 14th of every month! For the Maasai in Tanzania, young men dance and sing to attract a bride. In Wales, the day is celebrated on January 25, with the exchange of hand carved wooden spoons! For people in the southwest of China, love is celebrated through the giving of colored rice! Spanish men show affection in October by making a ‘macadora’ figurine out of sweet marzipan for their loved one.
Most cultures have a tradition, symbol, or celebratory day for love. We love to talk about love, and we love to be in love! Society tells us that love is an emotion we have for those who we have deep affection for. It can be much harder to feel love for those who are not like us, or don’t understand us. The Bible gives a us a different definition of love. Love is not just something we feel, but how we act.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
As you look through the list above of what love is, what do you see? Love is something we do intentionally, even when it is difficult. Many times, I don’t feel love when my kids put the dishes in the dishwasher the wrong way, or when a driver cuts me off in my lane, or when a family member says an unkind word to me. Instead, I feel angry and frustrated. But if I think of love as an action, rather than a feeling, I’m able to show more patience and endurance through difficult times. This month, is there someone in your life who you need to show love to, even when you don’t feel it?
Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI – International Education and Homestay