The power of words

With Valentines Day just around the corner, the word love takes center stage. Love is a strong word.  

I love my wife, my parents and even my dog Zeke.  As Americans, we also love coffee, fast food, and chocolate brownies (brownies are my favorite by the way).  

Sadly in today’s world the word love is not only overused and undervalued, but I believe it has lost its meaning in the process.  Love has rolled off our tongues so much we’ve become desensitized to it.  

On Monday, I heard someone talk about how much they love the beach, love watching a certain TV program, and even love their new shoes.  

Can you really love an inanimate object?  

Growing up, my parents would not allow me to use the word hate because it was such a strong word.  I remember being disciplined for telling I hated them. Yet, I was never punished for the misuse of the word love.  

Certainly nobody loves a person the same way they love their favorite food, song, TV show — you catch my drift.

Last year I photographed more than two-dozen weddings.  At almost every one of them, the minister talked about the attributes of love often quoting The Bible passage from Corinthians.  

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

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I was always taught love is caring for someone else deeply and unconditionally.  In other words, it’s more than just an emotion. I saw it play out a few years ago when a dear friend of mine cared for his wife.  She had Alzheimer’s disease and didn’t know he existed yet he loved and cared for her daily until her death.  That to me is true love.  

For me personally, there is great value in the phrase “I love you.”  These days, couples date a week and they’re ready to say “I love you,” then decide to part ways a month later. 

I often hear people end their phone conversations with “I love you.” I wonder does the person on the other end say, “I love you” back out of obligation, or are they really sincere?  

Of course love is not the only overused word.  Our daily speech is full of exaggeration.  For example, my buddy informed his neighbors he would “kill them” if they walked across his freshly manicured lawn.  He thinks highly of his lawn, but I doubt anyone would die as a result.  

Awesome is another word thrown about.  The meal was awesome, the game was awesome, even the vacation was awesome.  Were you really filled with awe over those things? 

Words are powerful.  By simply saying a word, a person can be sentenced to death or to live.  The tongue does indeed have the power to heal and destroy.   

Perhaps it’s the evolution of our daily conversation and subsequent social media interaction that has created this monster.  

We say things without really thinking about the meaning and power behind words.   I know I’m guilty of it.  I’m certainly not saying we give up on love.  The world needs more love than anything right now.  Let’s just vow to put some value and meaning behind it.  

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