I think love can be misleading. Not in the "I thought he liked me" sort of way (although that happens too). But in the sneaky way it works. All my life I've rolled my eyes at others who scream "I love you" at practical strangers. I always thought those three words so precious and not worthy of throwing around. This isn't even the problem I am attempting to address. The problem I'm talking about came when that little habit of mine started to make me think that love required work. Crazy thing is, it does. Love does require work. It requires action and thoughts, but not labor. Because when it's love, it's not considered labor, it's not pried from your unwilling fingers, it's sacrificed and given freely. Love is so grand, but also simple. I forgot about the latter when I found myself rolling my eyes at love, refusing to see the point. This is where I found myself not too long ago, standing in the middle of a crowded room, a skeptic of love. The four letter word holds so much capacity that instead of being marveled by it, it scared all of the empathy right out of me. I ignored it, deemed it mushy and moved on. I'm not very emotional outwardly, that's why I write. This is my emotion. Verbally, it doesn't look so eloquent (trust me).

I think we turn love into such a big deal, it becomes untouchable. Something for the movies, with fireworks and sparkling stars. Raindrops falling and perfect lighting. No awkward moments or arguments. We make it such a big deal, we forget that it's in our daily lives. When the sun rises and the moon sets, it's in the little moments that seem not worthy of an Oscar or making a box office record. We make it so vast, we forget that it's small enough to fit into the little crevices of our lives.

In a world where things so often seem desolate, we forget how available love is. It's introduced to us daily. It walks in the door with your best friend. It waits in the kitchen with your parents. It looks at you through your pet's eyes. It is there, everywhere, when you look. It's under your feet with every step. You are so loved you were put right here, right now to walk where you are walking. The very fact you are here is love. You have teeth so you can smile, a voice so you can encourage, hands so you can help. You were given abilities to love just as you are loved. Some people just love you and sometimes in takes a second look and a minute more for you to see all the love that greets you each day.

All my life, I've been scared of love. It's so powerful, I found myself running from it time and time again. I forgot that the power isn't necessarily always in the enormous, glamorous moments, but in the tiny ones that accumulate over time.

So, I've learned to pay attention. To count the times my friends have given me the bigger half of our split cookie, the times the barista drew a smiley face on the side of my cup, the times my grandma surprised me with my favorite dessert, and the time the sun came out right as I got a chill. This is love to me. Not charm, not what looks best in an Instagram, not specifically planned, not expensive. It is simple, gracious, sweet. It holds value in simplicity, not value in glamour. I was a skeptic before I learned this, before I started paying attention.