Love is beautifully terrifying. Saying “I love you” does not merely convey a way you feel but a way you are. You love through a gaze or a smile, through listening and talking, through holding hands and driving down the road with the windows down. Love is not sitting on the sidelines watching the game. Love is stealing the ball and running the field until your legs are moving faster than your body can keep up with and you are tumbling into the end zone and your lungs are gasping for air, but it doesn’t matter because you made it.
Love is watching your best friend give birth to the most beautiful baby boy you’ve ever seen one day and burying your wonderful younger-than-her-age and larger-than-life grandma a few weeks later. It is feeling—whether it be happiness, sadness, or madness. Love kicks your ass but picks you back up, because it knows you needed to experience the bad to appreciate the good. Loving others is taking every piece of your being and sharing bit by bit in the hopes you may catch a glimpse of who they are in return.
I will not wait to say “I love you.”
It can be said a million ways—hugging and kissing, cooking and cleaning, sitting in silence and screaming out loud. My favorite way to show affection is to tell someone all of the things that make them wonderful. We often call someone a friend, a lover, a mother, a brother, but rarely do we say why that title is significant. What makes that person special? What makes them loved? Point out their traits and quirks and actions that ignite passion in your heart and fire in your soul.
I have been to many funerals and listened to the eulogies, observed the Facebook posts, and viewed the portraits that go along with them. When someone dies, people shower them with compliments and expressions of love. Their lives are summarized into an obituary, which is an impossible task because a person’s life is bigger than what can be said in a few minutes, a couple paragraphs, or an album of photos. The sentiments are reserved for the end of one’s life, when they are not around to hear it.
We panic to share these messages because we want desperately to say everything we had been holding in. Every thought we had saved for our own heads comes rushing to our tongues, begging our lips to form the words we had been too afraid to say. It’s not our feelings themselves we are afraid of, but our lack of control over them once they are expressed. To say ‘I love you’ is to give that sentiment to the recipient; they can love you in return, crush your passion, mock your compassion. It is easier to guard your heart until you are certain of receiving the response you desire.
To save “I love you” is to risk its survival. Love needs to be fed and acted upon and expressed for it to stay true. Holding back ‘I love you’ means second-guessing and ‘what ifs’ and regrets.
Do not wait to say “I love you.” You may miss your chance.