We use the word “love” a lot. I sometimes feel we use it too freely for some things and not enough for others. Even though it’s a small word of only four letters, it has the ability to brighten days and bring smiles.
There is no doubt that we throw the word love around on a daily basis. From an expression of what our favorite food is to how we feel about a television show, we just can’t seem to miss. “Don’t you just love it?” we say and hear more times than we can count. But, do we really mean it?
Should we have to look so diligently to find love? Should it take a long and drawn out process to discover it? Ending hate starts with love.
I believe that overusing the word love lessens the value of its meaning. If we just randomly attach love to so many things, does its meaning feel as special when we really do mean it? Do we love too many things and not enough people?
One thing I do know is finding love, being in love and spreading love are magical experiences. Love lives in our hearts and spreads freely through our actions and words. In today’s world, it’s harder to find love. Hate seems to creep in a little more every day.
When I was a small child growing up in a Southern Baptist church, we were taught a little song that has stuck with me. “Red, brown, yellow, black and white; they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” That same message was taught at home by my parents. We were always urged to choose love over hate.
While we attach love to all kinds of things, we sometimes forget the importance of loving fellow humans. The things I love the most are really not things at all. They are the people with whom I surround myself — people who I truly love and who I know truly love me back. I gravitate toward anyone who is positive and who radiates love instead of hate. We may not always agree, but I do know that hate is never the right solution to any problem.
My heart and mind have been heavy with all of these thoughts lately. When I’m troubled or feel things surrounding me seem to be spinning out of control, I create. I pick up my pencils or paint brushes and lose myself in the creative process. I do this because, over the years, I’ve found that I always feel more at peace after I create something.
The other day I picked up a white sheet of paper and some colored pencils — including ones of various shades of reds and pinks. I had no preconceived notions except that I wanted the theme to be love. I began the drawing by sketching a series of heart shapes of various sizes and then went with the flow.
Some of the hearts became flower petals and others morphed into the wings of a butterfly. When that happened, I knew I couldn’t include a butterfly without adding my signature bumblebee. Minutes turned into hours as I continued to draw.
Before I knew it, I saw the letter “O” appear in one of the flowers. I wondered if I could possibly incorporate an L, V and E into the drawing. It took some time and a lot of thought, but I love a challenge. Carefully integrating the letter forms, I didn’t want them to be the first thing you saw. I wanted to be able to ask the people who viewed the drawing, “Can you see the love?”
I emailed and texted a photo of my finished drawing to some of my family and close friends. Attached to it was the question, “Can you see the love?” The comments started coming back. Some people immediately saw it, but others had to study it a little more closely. In the end, everyone saw the letters that spelled out “love” hidden within my drawing.
This made me begin to think: Should we have to look so diligently to find love? Should it take a long and drawn out process to discover it? Ending hate starts with love. Changing attitudes begins with acceptance. Before we can go in the right direction to change the hate that swirls around us, we first have to be able to look within ourselves to see all the love we have to share.
Can you see the love? Can others see the love in you?
Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call 478-757-6877; email firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him at instagram.com/markcreates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.