The words “I” and “love” and “you” are the watermark of humanity. Strung together, they convey our deepest sense of humility, power and truth. It is our most common sentiment, even as the feeling of it is so infinitely uncommon: each to proclaim these three words with his or her very own heart and mindset of reason (or lack thereof); a proclamation completely and perfectly new each time it is offered.
Uttered daily and nightly by millions, the words are said in an unending array of circumstances: whispered to a newborn in a mother’s arms; shared between best friends on the playground; in the form of sympathy. It is said too loudly by parents to embarrass children in the company of their friends and by grown children to their fading parents in hospital beds. The words are thought in the company of old photographs and said in the company of gravestones. It is how we end our phone calls and our letters. The words at the bottom of the page that trump all those above; a way to gracefully finish a message, however important or trivial, with the most meaningful gift of all: the communication of love.
Yet the words themselves have been the victims of triviality, a ready replacement for lesser salutations among near strangers, burst forth casually as “love ya.” Truly? To what degree? Why, how much, and for how long? These are questions befitting of the stature of love, though not the everyday banter of vague acquaintance. The words have also been twisted by the dark nature of deceit. To say “I love you” with a dramatic measure of synthetic emotion, a snare set by those who prey upon fellow humanity, driven to whatever selfish end, to gain access to another’s body, or their money, or their opportunity. In this realm, the proclamation is disgraced by one seeking to gain rather than to give.
Our longing to hear them from the right place is maddeningly and simultaneously our finest strength and our most gentle weakness. In any case, and by whatever inspiration, these words are woven deeply in to the fibers of our existence. What should we do with these three teeny words? Let them escape from our lips at least once a day and have those words run from the cavities of our souls to the recipients’ ears and heart. May we all learn from one another that language of beauty, passion and emotion and pray that our true love for each other never fades away. I love you.