Happy Valentine Day

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
I wanted to write a really dynamic Valentine Day column — something exciting, perhaps new, well defined, applicable for all, and I needed it now — today — to get it to the newspapers for which I write. Only problem was that the more I studied, prayed, searched, and read, the more confused I became about the very subject about which I wanted to write.

What is love? Love is many different things to many different people. A child might say, “I love chocolate ice cream,” followed by, “Can we please go get a cone?” A teen might shout in glee and say, “I love that new dress in the window. Can I have it?” A young man might say with great joy, “Man, I love that car parked on the street. I am going to save to buy it.” But do these remarks really depict “love” as we want to think of it in our lives. No, I think not. They are strong desires or likes, but surely not love.

Again, I ask what is love? Almost every person I know deep down in the most private parts of their hearts want love. They want to love and be loved. Many are searching for “real love.” For many years at our large church, I watched dozens and dozens of young women come into one or the other of the auditoriums or chapels and want help in planning a wedding. They were in love, or so they thought. Looking back now with some years on the table, I think that many were largely in love with being in love, planning the wedding, getting all the gifts, being the center of attention, moving into a new home, starting a family, but few knew what real love was and is. They had no idea what loving another human being would entail.

Defining love is like attempting to define a particular color to a person who has never been able to see color — you really do have to feel it to know what it is. One cannot experience love with the mind. It must be with the heart. I would go a step further than I would have in my earlier years of writing. I believe a human being must come to terms with himself and begin to love the creation God made in him before he or she can offer love to another person. Attempting to love another without first loving your own person is akin to serving a good meal in a dirty dish.

BCH-Happy Valentine Day

I found in my search several good definitions of love, including, “A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.” One honest young man wrote, “I know I am in love. I cannot bear to be without her in my life.”

Most folks labor about this matter until the bells ring and hearts beat fast, but what about the days when things go wrong? Perhaps the bills aren’t paid, the kids are sick, school has called, the job isn’t going well, a friend has misunderstood our actions, and our bodies are tired and not feeling well. Are we still “in love” with our special person? Can we exhibit the qualities of true love, kindness, comfort, and team playing?

The Bible has over 730 verses dealing with love, and I suppose the most noted love chapter in Scripture is the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, where we read in Chapter 13, Verses 4-8, (New International Version), “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, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

My wish for you today is that you’ve found a 1 Corinthians kind of love, and that you will treasure it each day that God gives you. For my friends still looking for this kind of love, I pray that you will find it and that you will know the peace and joy of loving and being loved. It is a great honor that only God can ordain in our lives.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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