Sometimes, when you go through hell, you come out on the other side a little bit wiser. Tired as hell, but wiser, that's for sure.
I'm not the smartest person in the world, but there are a few things that I know for sure. Maybe some of the wisdom I've gained on my journey through hell can serve as a guide so you, gentle reader, don't repeat my mistakes.
Love isn't a feeling. Or, to be more accurate, it's not JUST a feeling. Love is a verb.
It's not just what you feel. It's not enough to tell someone you love them. Actions really do speak louder than words. It's not the grand, sweeping gestures that matter, it's the little things, the day-to-day things.
Love is more about never forgetting to kiss goodnight than it is about roses on Valentine's Day. Love is about daisies because it's Tuesday. Love is dancing together in the kitchen and letting the meatloaf burn, because your connection is way more important than a pound of ground beef will ever be. Love is a midnight drive to White Castle. Love is knowing when her favorite band is coming to town, what he likes on his burger, whether she likes silver or gold. Love is a kitten even though you're allergic, trying to like her family even though they drive you bananas, treating his nephews like they are yours.
Love is the ultimate partnership. Love diminishes your sadness and magnifies your joy. Love makes you more vulnerable than anything else you will ever do, but the risks are generally worth the payoff.
And, as I began to re-read this post, I was feeling sad because I meant to write about romantic love. The love that left me in January, 2006.
But what I've written here, what I've learned about love, applies to love across the board. And, if you're reading this, know that I love you, and I hope I've done a good job of showing you that.
Because the words don't matter. The feeling doesn't matter. What you do with them is everything.