What is love?

April 14, 2011
Art by Katie Daisy

The love of a person implies not the possession of that person
but the affirmation of that person.
It means granting him gladly
the full right to his unique humanhood.

-Harry Overstreet, The Mature Mind

I spoke to someone recently about a member of their family
who held very different beliefs and attitudes.
“So,” I asked, “is she just from another planet?”
“No,” was the response. “She’s just her own person.”

Sometimes, in being who they are, people disappoint us.
Especially family.
When they’re not like us,
we don’t understand and make them wrong for it.

The idea of having a full right to his or her unique humanhood
can mean “only if they’re like us.”

Granting someone (gladly) a right to be who they are is one
of those things that sounds good,
but when differences are vast, it can be hard to practice.

California seems to attract people who are different
from those they grew up with. It’s a haven for free thinkers,
for broad attitudes, for acceptance. Usually.

But just as our loved ones back home may look at us with
jaundiced and judgmental eye, we look at them
the same way: like they dropped in from another planet.

Affirming those whose values are so different from
ours is not easy.
Acceptance is difficult to practice.

Yet, both are critical ingredients in loving.

*If you like these images, Katie Daisy has an Etsy shop you may want to visit.

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