The word ‘love’ gets bandied about these days with wanton abandon. We ‘love’ cheesecake, I ‘love’ that dress, he ‘loves’ to watch sport. It’s proof enough that the English language cannot truly convey what the word ‘love’ really means.
We hear the word ‘love’ all the time
Love is all around us, love lifts us up were we belong, all we need is love, love is a many splendid thing, I’d do anything for love, it must have been love, I want to know what love is, love will keep us together, I can’t help falling in love with you, can you feel the love tonight
But does the frequency diminish the value?
“Sanskrit has 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80, Greek three, and English only one. This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling. Eskimos have 30 words for snow, because it is a life-and-death matter to them to have exact information about the element they live with so intimately. If we had a vocabulary of 30 words for love … we would immediately be richer and more intelligent in this human element so close to our heart. An Eskimo probably would die of clumsiness if he had only one word for snow; we are close to dying of loneliness because we have only one word for love. Of all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it comes to feeling.” – Robert Johnson, “The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden“
I am not going to extol the virtues of words and list all 80 of the ancient Persian words for love (although I do appreciate language), instead, I want to tell you a love story.
My son is just over a month away from turning 21 years old and towards the end of last year he got married. He met his now wife through work and they dated for a short time before deciding to get engaged. My husband and I were thrilled, she is a wonderful girl and the perfect match for our son.
Now you may think that this is a normal courtship, but you don’t know the whole story. What makes this different is that my son’s wife is sick. She was born with Cystic Fibrosis. CF is the most commonly occurring, genetically acquired, life shortening chronic illness affecting young Australians today. CF affects many of the body’s systems including lungs and digestion. There is no cure. To learn more about CF, click here.
My daughter-in-law is a brave and strong person. She has lived her life to the full, never allowing her illness to hold her back. Up until about 18 months ago she was managing her CF well and most people would never even know she had it, but not long after she met my son, her health started to decline.
As my son and daughter-in-law courted, she slowly got sicker and they were eventually faced with the prospect of a double lung transplant. The engagement party we were planning turned into a surprise wedding as they made the decision to get married before she would need the operation.
My beautiful, wonderful and sweet daughter-in-law, out of love for my son, gave him many opportunities to leave her and my son chose time and again to stay by her side. To see these two young people navigate their way through the minefield of love was both inspiring and heartbreaking.
They have now been married for six months and my daughter-in-law has had to spend a lot of that in hospital and she is a high priority on the transplant list…it is just a matter of time now.
As a mother I have stood back and watched as my son has grown into a man. To see this soft-hearted young man, who has never really had to face adversity growing up, walk this road has made my heart burst with pride. He not only wants to be a strong and supportive partner, but he also wants to help make a difference for others who suffer with CF.
Just this last weekend, we had the privilege of watching him compete in a fun run to raise money for CF Queensland. He knows that there is not much he can do to physically help his wife, but he can help to raise awareness and much needed funds to find a cure and he is more than willing to do what he can.
This is love. This is the kind of love that says, “I value you above myself”. These two young people have shown more love for one another than a lot of marriages ever show. ‘Love’ is more than a word for them, it is their world. I don’t think the simple word ‘love’ can fully encompass the depth and breadth of what I have seen displayed between them, it really needs ninety-six words.
If you would like to donate to help CF Queensland you can do it here