FROM Michael Bublé songs to the subject of this article, love is a recurring topic—today being Valentine’s Day.
As a high school sophomore, I have yet to learn the ropes and test the waters. I am nowhere near highly experienced in matters of the heart.
However, from the perspective of a ninth grader, I have notions of what love is, thanks to advertisements, books, Tumblr text-posts, Facebook statuses and other forms of media.
What is love? More important, what is true love? Is it being taken to Amsterdam and eating Dragon Carrot risotto? Is it being loved until you’re (only) 70? Does it come in shades of gray? Or is it more substantial than that?
Certainly it is something every human being wants to experience. Deep down in our hearts, we long for authentic love. This we must acknowledge, though we often tend to overlook it for most of our lives.
Feeling love in sacrifice
Truth is, I’ve been surrounded by true love for the past 15 years. I find it in the funny, weird and (sometimes irritatingly) overprotective personalities of my family of seven.
Like any other family, we’ve had our share of fights, teasing and difficulties. There are days I could strangle my younger siblings for toying around with my things or for being noisy when I’m studying for an exam. However, I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the love and care I get—and give—to my family.
I feel most loved not when things are easy and comfortable, but when there are sacrifices and hardships to endure for each other. Like when my kuya withstood scratches from corals just to pull me up from the strong waves when we went snorkeling. Or another time my other kuya answered all my irrelevant questions even if he had an accounting exam the following day.
Or when my dad helps me read “Noli Me Tangere” even if he’s tired from work, or when my mom helps me finish a project or a paper.
Or how my sister keeps me company (even in the bathroom) after I watch a scary movie, or when my little brother saves the last two pieces of his favorite bacon for me.
The family feels happy and truly loved when we are together. I witness love while exploring new places, enjoying a nice dinner, or having conversations for hours about the simplest things in life.
In light of the premiere of a very (in)famous movie, I dare say love comes in a solid shade of red—not in 50 shades of any other color. Red symbolizes sacrifice and blood, which parents, family, spouses, lovers, martyrs and even Jesus Christ shed for the sake of love.
To me, the ultimate test of true love is when someone looks after his/her beloved’s welfare above all else. This is why Pope Francis repeatedly told us, when he visited the country: “Protect the family!” Through the family, we learn how to love deeply.
I know that many families are separated for various reasons. In the Philippine setting, parents are forced to find employment abroad to support their children. Parents do not want to be away from their children, but because they love them, they make the ultimate sacrifice of working abroad to send their kids to school.
Thanks to technology provided by Skype, Viber and Facebook, the love and bond within the family can still be nurtured and strengthened despite physical distance.
To those whose families are not complete for other reasons, do not despair. Your “family” isn’t necessarily limited to your biological one, but includes people who have looked out for you and never failed to express their love to you.
So, obviously, I need not Google the meaning of true love. We find it where we first experienced it from the earliest years of our lives—in our respective families.
As Jamie Rivera sings in “Only Selfless Love”: “Home is where true love begins.”