“If you love someone, set her free. If she comes back she is yours. If she did not, it is never meant to be.”   That’s an old adage my friend Sally wrote to my husband many years ago. He was finding it hard to court me so he befriended my friends probably to know me better and to find ways to my heart. Since Sally knew me so well, she had written something to my husband which is very fair.

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My concept of love is limited to that something erotic between a man and woman when I was young. Something I fantasized with what I saw on the movie and read on pocket books. I do not know hormones then much more physical attractions, commitment, and sacrifice.

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Talk about love at home, Mom never told me she loved me. That’s ewwww. Something corny. We are not used to saying I love you. She never heard it from me as well, not once. But I knew she loved me, and I love her too, that’s understood. Doing everything for me and for all her children is the way she best expressed her love, as far as I know. I don’t know my siblings’ point of view. I guess we’re the same.

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My Dad left me too early and the only memories of him were being my protector and that’s how I understand love from him. But he abandoned me. I do not blame him of course, it was not his choice. It’s just that my concept of a father’s love was far too limited as well.

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There was a time in my adult life I was struggling to find out if I knew how to love despite having my own family. This was something strange. I never knew that what I was struggling to find out is the expression of love in the language that I can understand and comprehend.  Because love is too wide and deep to define that keeps revealing itself every day. In the narrowness of my mind, I cannot grasp the totality of it.

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And I can only understand it in the language that allows me to live and let live. When it is making bait, it is not. When it is too demanding, it is not.  And when it is emotionally laden, the more it is not. For love is expressed when we allowed people to be who they are and accept them anyway, just like Jesus did. With all our fault and misgivings.

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It is best expressed when I do not impose what I want from the people I care about. But it is when I respect them for every decision they make believing on their own capabilities and strength to make the best choices for themselves. Sometimes they will fail, sometimes they will make it and that’s fine.  I can only share my experiences with them.

It is not manipulative appealing directly on their emotions to get what I want. Two years old master that craft too well. I’m grown up. I know how my feelings get in the way and I know how distorted people are when they act based on their emotions. Love is not just a feeling.

It does not bribe because love is inherently free. I used to think that when people give me my material needs, I was love. I  measure love in a number of things I can give and receive. And this is a crap because I can love and be loved without the involvement of any material things. Love begets love.

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